There is No Good health Without Physical Activity
Dr. Dorette Lewis-Senior ND. MSAc. BS-RN
All persons need to be regularly physically active to maintain or improve their overall health. All health professionals will agree by now that fitness prevents many adverse health conditions. As a holistic medicine practitioner, my focus is on using “a natural remedy” where ever possible. The benefits of physical activity are proven factsin generally healthy people, in people at risk of developing chronic diseases, and in people with current chronic conditions and in persons with disabilities.
Physical activity positively affects many health conditions, and the specific amounts and types of activity that benefit each condition vary.
The challenge amongst researchers, public health advisors and natural medicine practitionersis to integrate scientific information across all health seeking groups of persons looking to improve their health by adding exercise. It is at times difficult to identify a critical range of physical activity that have an effect across all groups and producing the same health benefits. One consistent finding from research studies is that once the health benefits from physical activity begin to accrue, additional amounts of activity provide additional benefits.
Although some health benefits seem to begin with as little as 60 minutes (1 hour) a week, research shows that a total amount of 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, such as brisk walking, consistently reduces the risk of many chronic diseases and other adverse health outcomes; thus emphasizing the importance of at least brisk walking.
The Relationship Between Physical Activity and Health Is Well Documented
In many studies covering a wide range of issues, researchers have focused on exercise, as well as on the more broadly defined concept of physical activity. Exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and performed with the goal of improving health or fitness. So, although all exercise is physical activity, not all physical activity is exercise.
Studies have examined the role of physical activity in many groups—men and women, children, teens, adults, older adults, people with disabilities, and women during pregnancy and the postpartum period. These studies have focused on the role that physical activity plays in many health outcomes, including:
- Premature (early) death;
- Diseases such as coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and depression;
- Risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol;
- Physical fitness, such as aerobic capacity, and muscle strengthand endurance
- Functional capacity (the ability to engage in activities needed for daily living);
- Mental health, such as depression and cognitive function; and
- Injuries or sudden heart attacks.
See more about physical activity and health in my next blog.