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- Exercise and Fitness FAQs
- The importance of physical activity and fitness
- Why should I be active?
- Can everyone benefit from physical activity?
- What are the recommendations for increasing fitness for youth, adults, and seniors?
- How do I get started with a fitness plan?
- When is a medical evaluation necessary?
- How can I make physical activity a part of my life?
- What are the components of physical fitness?
- Fitness terms
Quick GuideExercise and Fitness Pictures Slideshow: Top 10 Fitness Facts
Energize Your Life! Who said physical activity is all work and no play? In fact, it can be just the opposite! There is no need to think of strenuous workouts that are painful and boring. Instead, imagine doing fun physical activities you enjoy and look forward to. Do physical activity for enjoyment and watch the health benefits follow!
The importance of physical activity
The evidence is growing and is more convincing than ever! People of all ages who are generally inactive can improve their health and well-being by becoming active at a moderate-intensity on a regular basis.
Regular physical activity substantially reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, the nation's leading cause of death, and decreases the risk for stroke, colon cancer, diabetes, and high blood pressure. It also helps to control weight; contributes to healthy bones, muscles, and joints; reduces falls among older adults; helps to relieve the pain of arthritis; reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression; and is associated with fewer hospitalizations, physician visits, and medications. Moreover, physical activity need not be strenuous to be beneficial; people of all ages benefit from participating in regular, moderate-intensity physical activity, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking five or more times a week.
Despite the proven benefits of physical activity, more than 50% of American adults do not get enough physical activity to provide health benefits. 25% of adults are not active at all in their leisure time. Activity decreases with age and is less common among women than men and among those with lower income and less education.
Insufficient physical activity is not limited to adults. More than a third of young people in grades 9-12 do not regularly engage in vigorous-intensity physical activity.
This section explains why you should be active, how inactivity may hurt your health, and how physical activity can benefit everyone.