Physical activity can improve your health and reduce the risk of developing several diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer and cardiovascular disease. Physical activity and exercise can have immediate and long-term health benefits. Regular activity can improve your quality of life. A minimum of 30 minutes a day can allow you to enjoy these benefits.
If you are regularly physically active, you may:
- reduce your risk of a heart attack
- manage your weight better
- have a lower blood cholesterol level
- lower the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
- have lower blood pressure
- have stronger bones, muscles and joints and lower risk of developing osteoporosis
- lower your risk of falls
- recover better from periods of hospitalization or bed rest
- feel better, with more energy, a better mood, feel more relaxed and sleep better.
Several studies have found that exercise helps depression. There are many views how exercise helps people with depression:
- Exercise may block negative thoughts or distract you from daily worries.
- Exercising with others provides an opportunity for increased social contact.
- Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns.
- Exercise may also change levels of chemicals in your brain, such as serotonin, endorphins and stress hormones.
- To maintain health and reduce your risk of health problems, health professionals and researchers recommend a minimum of 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most, preferably all, days.
- Regular walking produces many health benefits, including reducing our risk of heart disease, type 2 diabetes and depression.
Physical activity and sedentary behavior guidelines state that:
- Doing any physical activity is better than doing none. If you currently do no physical activity, start by doing some, and gradually build up to the recommended amount.
- Be active on most, preferably all, days every week.
- Accumulate 150 to 300 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or 75 to 150 minutes of vigorous intensity physical activity, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous activities, each week.
- Do muscle strengthening activities on at least two days each week.
Increases in daily activity can come from small changes made throughout your day, such as walking or cycling instead of using the car, getting off a tram, train or bus a stop earlier and walking the rest of the way, or walking the children to school.
See your doctor before starting your physical activity program if:
- you are aged over 45 years
- physical activity causes pain in your chest
- you often faint or have spells of severe dizziness
- moderate physical activity makes you very breathless
- you are at a higher risk of heart disease
- you think you might have heart disease or you have heart problems
- you are pregnant.
Pre-exercise screening is used to identify people with medical conditions that may put them at a higher risk of experiencing a health problem during physical activity. It is a filter or safety net to help decide if the potential benefits of exercise outweigh the risks for you.