Moving your body is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Physical activity is good for your body and mind. The benefits start every time you move your body. And the benefits build the more regularly you exercise. Here are some of the reasons physical activity is so important for your health and well-being.
- Lowers your blood pressure
- Lessens anxious feelings
- Improves your sleep
- Improves your insulin sensitivity
Over a few weeks or months...
- You’ll become more physically fit (your heart and lungs will be stronger)
- Your muscles and bones will get stronger
- Symptoms of depression lessen
- Your baseline blood pressure gets lower
- Lowers your risk of chronic disease, such as high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes
- Slows the progression of chronic diseases you already have
- Lowers your risk of dementia
- Improves overall brain function, including memory
- Boosts your mood
- Generally improves well-being
- Keeps you mobile and able to take care of yourself as you age
What counts as physical activity?
Pretty much anything that gets your heart beating faster or makes your muscles work harder. Here are some examples of:
Moderate-intensity physical activity:
- Brisk walking
- Household chores, such as vacuuming and mopping
- Household repairs, such as cleaning gutters or painting walls
- Yard work
- Biking on level ground
- Water aerobics
Vigorous physical activity:
- Jumping rope
- Playing singles tennis
- Playing basketball or soccer
- Swimming laps
- Body-weight exercises, such as push-ups
- Shoveling snow
- Rock climbing
How much physical activity do you need?
Any amount of physical activity is better than nothing. You can start by moving more throughout your day and spending less time sitting. Then, aim to reach the recommended physical activity targets. Current recommendations are to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity or 75 minutes of vigorous physical activity each week, and to do muscle-strengthening activities at least twice a week.