Benefits of Health, Fitness, Exercise and Physical Activity

Avatar for Hadyn Luke Hadyn Luke posted this on Tuesday 14th of November 2023 Hadyn Luke 14/11/2023


Benefits of Health, Fitness, Exercise and Physical Activity

Health Benefits Of Exercise

Health, fitness, exercise and physical activity are all related concepts that refer to the state of well-being of a person and the actions they take to maintain or improve it.

There are many benefits of engaging in regular physical activity, both for the body and the mind.

Some of the benefits are:

  • Physical activity can reduce the risk of developing several diseases, such as cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, cancer, and osteoarthritis.
  • Physical activity can improve mood, self-esteem, and mental health, and reduce stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Physical activity can enhance cognitive function, learning, memory, and judgment skills.
  • Physical activity can help maintain a healthy weight, muscle strength, bone density, and joint mobility.
  • Physical activity can increase energy levels, sleep quality, and overall well-being.

To enjoy these benefits, it is recommended that adults do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity per week, or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity per week, or a combination of both. Children and adolescents should do at least 60 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity physical activity per day. Physical activity can be done in various ways, such as walking, cycling, sports, recreation, or exercise.

It is now widely recognised that an inactive lifestyle is harmful to health and well-being.

Several large-scale population studies have shown that inactivity is one of the largest contributory factors to the incidence of hypokinetic diseases (disease associated with being sedentary/inactive).

The Allied Dunbar Fitness Survey 1990-1 which researched a typical cross section of the nation showed that physical activity levels in England are low and that many people do not do regular physical activity or exercise at sufficient levels to benefit their health.

The following findings of several studies show how physical activity consistently decreases from early adulthood.

  • 15% of men and 25% of women aged 16-24
  • 32% of people aged between 45-64
  • 55% of those aged 65 or older

Research shows that physical inactivity is one important cause of Coronary Heart Disease (CHD).

Mortality statistics from the Office of Population Censuses and Surveys (1992) showed that CHD was the leading cause of death for men and women in England, accounting for 29% of male and 23% of female deaths.

These figures are amongst the highest in the world and are six times higher than rates in Japan.

Health Benefits For Various Types of Training

Cardiovascular Training

i.e. Walking, Cycling, Jogging, CV machines or any activity which is a large muscle group movement, rhythmic and continuous.

  • Reduced risk of Coronary Heart Disease
  • Reduced risk of Stroke
  • Increased levels of High Density Lipoproteins (good blood fats)
  • Reduced risk of blood clots
  • Weight management
  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Improve posture
  • Can normalise blood pressure
  • Reduction of stress
  • Raised levels of self-esteem, confidence and well-being
  • Helps build and maintain healthy bones, joints and muscles

Flexibility Training

i.e. Static, passive, maintenance and developmental stretching. Stretch classes such as Pilates or Yoga.

  • Maintenance and ease of range of movement
  • Improved posture
  • Fewer general aches and pains
  • Reduced risk of back problems

Muscular Strength and Endurance Training

i.e. Resistance machines, free weights, body conditioning classes and circuit training etc.

  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis
  • Helps to maintain healthy joints
  • Maintenance of muscle mass
  • Increased ability of muscles to work for longer without tiring
  • Improved posture
  • Reduced risk of back problems

Coronary Heart Disease

The word “coronary” refers to the coronary arteries that keep the heart muscle supplied with vital nutrients and oxygen. Changes in these arteries build-up over many years and can lead to angina, heart attacks and death. It is sometimes referred to as the “silent killer”; as it progresses can go unnoticed for many years. It is only when the obstruction significantly blocks the blood vessels that the disease is detectable.

It is the most common single cause of death in the UK.

Managing Coronary Heart Disease (CHD)

The following can help to control coronary heart disease:

  • Stopping Smoking
  • Reducing Fat Intake
  • Reducing Stress
  • Medication
  • Regular, gentle exercise

Exercise & Coronary Heart Disease

Any exercise programme should firstly have the approval of the individual’s GP (General Practitioner).

These clients are very vulnerable and need expert care. Secondly you should not attempt to deal with anyone with a heart condition unless you have further knowledge of this subject through further training and fully understand the individual’s complaint.

The case for regular activity is overwhelming, and any age group can reap the benefits of becoming and staying sufficiently active throughout life. In the UK there are approximately 470 deaths per day from CHD, the cos to the National Health Service (NHS) runs into billions of pounds each year, some of which could be avoided if changes were made to the way that people understood and perceived physical activity and exercise.

It is a well-known fact, in the fitness industry, that 50% of people who join a gym quit within 3 months.


Diabetes mellitus is a condition that causes a person’s blood sugar level to become too high.

This is because the body either does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced does not work properly. Insulin is a hormone that helps glucose (sugar) move from the blood into the cells, where it is used for energy.

There are two main types of diabetes mellitus:

  • Type 1 diabetes mellitus: This is a lifelong condition where the body’s immune system attacks and destroys the cells that produce insulin. People with type 1 diabetes need to take insulin injections or use an insulin pump to control their blood sugar levels. Type 1 diabetes usually develops in childhood or adolescence, but can occur at any age.
  • Type 2 diabetes mellitus: This is where the body does not produce enough insulin, or the insulin produced does not work properly. Type 2 diabetes is more common in adults, especially those who are living with overweight or obesity, have a family history of diabetes, or have certain ethnic backgrounds. Type 2 diabetes can often be managed with lifestyle changes, such as healthy eating and regular exercise, and sometimes medication.

Some of the common symptoms of diabetes mellitus are:

  • Feeling very thirsty.
  • Peeing more frequently than usual, especially at night.
  • Feeling very tired.
  • Losing weight without trying.
  • Having blurred vision.
  • Having frequent infections or wounds that heal slowly.

If you have any of these symptoms, you should see your GP as soon as possible.

Diabetes mellitus can cause serious complications if left untreated, such as heart disease, stroke, kidney failure, nerve damage, and eye problems.

Diabetes mellitus can be diagnosed with a blood test that measures your blood sugar level. You may also need to do a urine test to check for glucose or ketones (a sign of high blood sugar). Depending on your type of diabetes, you may need to monitor your blood sugar regularly at home with a finger-prick test or a continuous glucose monitor.

The treatment for diabetes mellitus depends on your type of diabetes, your blood sugar level, and your overall health. The main goals of treatment are to keep your blood sugar within a healthy range, prevent or delay complications, and improve your quality of life.

Some of the possible treatments are:

  • Insulin therapy: This involves injecting insulin under your skin or using an insulin pump that delivers insulin through a small tube inserted under your skin. Insulin therapy is essential for people with type 1 diabetes and some people with type 2 diabetes who cannot control their blood sugar with other medications.
  • Oral medications: These are pills that help lower your blood sugar by stimulating your pancreas to produce more insulin, reducing the amount of glucose released by your liver, or increasing the sensitivity of your cells to insulin. There are different types of oral medications for diabetes, such as metformin, sulfonylureas, DPP-4 inhibitors, SGLT2 inhibitors, and GLP-1 receptor agonists.
  • Non-insulin injectable medications: These are injections that help lower your blood sugar by mimicking the effects of hormones that regulate glucose metabolism, such as glucagon-like peptide-1 (GLP-1) and amylin. Some examples are exenatide, liraglutide, dulaglutide, semaglutide, and pramlintide.
  • Diet and exercise: These are important aspects of managing diabetes mellitus, as they can help lower your blood sugar, improve your insulin sensitivity, reduce your risk of complications, and enhance your well-being. A healthy diet for diabetes mellitus should include plenty of vegetables, fruits, whole grains, lean proteins, healthy fats, and low-fat dairy products. It should also limit added sugars, refined carbohydrates, saturated fats, trans fats, salt, and alcohol. Regular exercise can help lower your blood sugar by increasing your muscle mass and improving your blood circulation. It can also help you maintain a healthy weight, lower your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, and reduce stress.

Living with diabetes mellitus can be challenging but manageable with proper care and support. You may need to see different health professionals who can help you manage your condition effectively. These may include a GP, an endocrinologist (a specialist in hormone disorders), a diabetes educator (a nurse or dietitian who teaches you about diabetes), a dietitian (a specialist in nutrition), an ophthalmologist (a specialist in eye diseases), a podiatrist (a specialist in foot care), and a psychologist (a specialist in mental health). You may also benefit from joining a support group or an online community where you can share your experiences and learn from others who have diabetes mellitus.

Exercise & Diabetes Mellitus: Type 2

Type 2 Diabetes occurs when the sensitivity of insulin receptors is reduced, resulting in uncontrolled release of insulin.

There is a strong correlation with type 2 diabetes and obesity.

Regular exercise reduces the need for additional insulin intake and prevents or delays the serious complications of diabetes.

Exercise helps control type 2 diabetes by:

  • Improving your body’s use of insulin.
  • Burning excess body fat, helping to decrease and control weight (decreased body fat results in improved insulin receptor sensitivity).
  • Improving blood circulation.
  • Increasing energy levels and enhancing work capacity.
  • Reducing stress, promoting relaxation, and releasing tension and anxiety.


Obesity is the term used to describe someone who is grossly overweight with a high percentage of body fat. Excess body fat levels of 25% for a man and 32% for a woman or above can have implications on our health, often leading to other conditions such as CHD, hypertension, type 2 diabetes, osteoarthritis and mental health problems.

Regular moderate exercise reduces the risk of developing CPD by reducing blood pressure and improving the efficiency of the cardiorespiratory system. The main focus of exercise should be on maximum calorific expenditure to help deplete fat stores and excess body weight.

A combination of cardiovascular exercise and resistance training is recommended for maximum effect, resistance training is often overlooked when exercising for weight loss. However it is important due to the metabolic rate of lean muscle. Lean tissue is considerably more metabolically active than fat tissue, therefore the more of it you have, the more efficient your body is at burning calories, even when resting!

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