Why exercise is good for you

More than a third of adults worldwide are overweight or obese.
Still wondering why you should get on your bike or take that late evening stroll?

In general, exercise does improve health by helping to control weight, maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints, reducing the risk of developing high blood pressure and diabetes, promoting psychological wellbeing, reducing the risk of death from heart disease, and reducing the risk of premature death.

In addition to losing weight and feeling more confident, exercise has many other benefits:

1. It reduces risk of breast, endometrial and colon cancer (by 10 to 40 percent). In a recent study of 1.44 million adults, leisure time physical activity was associated with lower risks of 13 other cancers, including liver, lung and kidney cancers, regardless of body size or history of smoking.

The precise mechanisms through which exercise prevents certain cancers remain topics for further research. However, some commentators believe that reducing body weight and BMI may play important roles. As reported by Dr Marilie Gammon of the Gillings School of Public Health in North Caroline says exercise may help reduce inflammation, alter hormone levels as well as repair DNA when it is damaged by cancer promoting substances. According to the Editor in Chief, Harvard Health Letter, Dr. Anthony Komaroff, MD, “While studies like these cannot prove that greater physical activity reduces rates of cancer, I find this study to be quite impressive. It was extremely large and carefully conducted. And it makes sense: regular exercise leads to changes in the body (like less inflammation, better immune function, and higher levels of natural antioxidants) that reduce the risk of cancer”.
How much exercise is sufficient?

There is really no hard – and – fast rule.
You should take the stairs rather than use the lift. Walking to the neighbourhood church beats driving there in an air-conditioned luxury car (if you’re not a wanted person). Before engaging in any major exercise program, make sure you seek the advice of your GP.

The United States Centres for Disease Control recommend that adults “engage in moderate physical activity for at least 30 minutes on five or more days of the week,” or “engage in vigorous – intensity physical activity for at least 20 minutes on three or more days of the week”. However, an overweight adult who is diabetic or hypertensive should limit themselves to moderate physical activity like walking, until their doctor says otherwise.

So what are you waiting for, my friend?

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