You’ve heard it before: physical activity is a key factor in our overall health and well-being. But just how important is it? Is it still possible to be ‘healthy’ without it? We explore the relationship between physical activity and health below.

There has been extensive research done on the benefits of physical activity. Time and time again, we see that physical activity is directly linked to lower occurrence of illness. In fact, individuals who partake in the recommended levels of physical activity reduce their risk of premature death by 25%.

Benefits of physical activity

Feel good about yourself. Exercise not only releases endorphins which help you feel happier, it also changes your body composition. The natural mood-booster improves self-esteem and self-confidence.

Reduces the risk of serious illnesses like heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, cancer, type 2 diabetes, and osteoporosis. Physical activity has shown to be directly linked to these serious illnesses. Even adding a small amount of exercise to your routine greatly reduces your risk of disease.

Prevent and reduce weight gain. Exercise helps you lose weight and prevents weigh gain. This is great news because obesity is directly correlated to a plethora of serious diseases. Stay active – stay healthy.

Control stress levels. Getting physical is a great way to control stress and anxiety. Focus on overall health not just for your physical body but your mind as well.

How much physical activity should you aim for?

Doctors recommend 30 minutes of physical activity, 5 days a week, at minimum. There should be a combination of heart-healthy cardio as well as muscle-strengthening sessions.

If you’re getting active with weight loss goals in mind, you may want to double the gym time. Experts suggest 1 hour per day, 5 days a week to aid in weight loss.

What exactly constitutes as physical activity?

Physical activity is any activity that involves you moving your body. Some people consider ‘breaking a sweat’ or an increased heart rate as the minimum requirement for activity to be considered purposeful physical activity.

Walking, cycling, housework, gardening, dancing, and playing are all considered physical activity. And of course, any cardio or strength-training activities in or outside of the gym.