“The evidence is clear—physical activity can make you feel better, function better, and sleep better. Even one session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Physical Activity Health Benefits Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Active Living
  • Exercise
  • Fitness
  • Health
  • Health Benefits
  • Physical Activity

Definition

What is physical activity?

DotS the definition of physical activity may vary. In Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? the World Health Organization’s (WHO) definition is:

“WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure. Physical activity refers to all movement including during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work. Both moderate- and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health”.2

Health Benefits

Is there an association between health benefits and physical activity?

In Physical Activity the WHO elaborate on:

“Regular physical activity is proven to help prevent and manage noncommunicable diseases (NCDs) such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes and several cancers. It also helps prevent hypertension, maintain healthy body weight and can improve mental health, quality of life and well-being”.3

In Physical Activity: Physical Activity Basics – How Much Physical Activity Do You Need? the (United States) Centers for Disease Control and Prevention elaborate on:

“The evidence is clear—physical activity can make you feel better, function better, and sleep better. Even one session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity reduces anxiety, and even short bouts of physical activity are beneficial. Being physically active also fosters normal growth and development, improves overall health, can reduce the risk of various chronic diseases”.4

In Exercise: Benefits of Exercise: Health Benefits the (United Kingdom) NHS elaborate on:

Physical Activity Health Benefits“It’s medically proven that people who do regular physical activity have lower risk of:

  • Coronary heart disease and stroke
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Bowel cancer
  • Breast cancer in women
  • Early death
  • Osteoarthritis
  • Hip fracture
  • Falls (among older adults)
  • Depression
  • Dementia”.5

Breast Cancer

Is there an association between breast cancer and physical activity?

In Physical Activity and Cancer: What Is Known About the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Cancer Risk? the (United States) National Cancer Institute elaborate on:

  • “Breast cancer: Many studies have shown that physically active women have a lower risk of breast cancer than inactive women. In a 2016 meta-analysis that included 38 cohort studies, the most physically active women had a 12–21% lower risk of breast cancer than those who were least physically active. Physical activity has been associated with similar reductions in risk of breast cancer among both premenopausal and postmenopausal women. Women who increase their physical activity after menopause may also have a lower risk of breast cancer than women who do not”.6

Mood

Is there an association between mood and physical activity?

In 5 Things You Should Know About Stress: 4. There Are Ways To Manage Stress the (United States) National Institute of Mental Health note:

  • “Get Regular Exercise. Just 30 minutes per day of walking can help boost your mood and improve your health”.7

On page 56 in Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition: Chapter 4. Active Adults – Key Guidelines for Adults the (United States) Department of Health and Human Services explain:

“Regular moderate-to-vigorous physical activity also reduces feelings of anxiety and depression and improves sleep and quality of life. Even a single episode of physical activity provides temporary improvements in cognitive function and state anxiety”.8

Never Too Late To Start

Is it never too late to start physical activity?

In Physical Activity & Exercise the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“It’s never too late to become more physically active. Beginning or resuming exercise at any age will benefit your health.

Activity for 30 minutes on most days of the week will provide you with sustainable health benefits”.9

Health Care Provider

What if I am going to start doing physical activity?

If you are going to start doing physical activity, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this.

In Physical Activity: Information – Getting Started the (United States) MedlinePlus note:

“IMPORTANT NOTE: Talk with your health care provider before starting an exercise program if:

  • You have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or another long-term illness
  • You are obese
  • You have not been very active lately
  • You get chest pains or shortness of breath when you are active”.10

In Fitness: In-Depth – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity – The Bottom Line on Exercise the (United States) Mayo Clinic caution:

“Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis, or you have any concerns”.11

In Physical Activity & Exercise: Starting An Exercise Program – Exercise Physiologists the JH caution:

“If you have a medical condition, are overweight, are pregnant, over 40 years of age or have not exercised regularly for a long time, see a health professional for medical advice before increasing your activity. They can refer you to an accredited exercise physiologist who can help you design an activity plan that is safe and helpful to your individual needs”.12

Health Topics A-Z

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Links

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Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Physical Activity: Physical Activity Basics – How Much Physical Activity Do You Need? Page Last Reviewed: 08 May 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm Accessed: 22 September 2021
  2. Physical Activity. What Is Physical Activity? 26 November 2020. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 22 September 2021
  3. Physical Activity. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/health-topics/physical-activity#tab=tab_1 Accessed: 22 September 2021
  4. Physical Activity: Physical Activity Basics – How Much Physical Activity Do You Need? Page Last Reviewed: 08 May 2021. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/index.htm Accessed: 22 September 2021
  5. Exercise: Benefits of Exercise: Health Benefits. Page Last Reviewed: 04 August 2021. NHS https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/exercise/exercise-health-benefits/#health-benefits Accessed: 22 September 2021
  6. Physical Activity and Cancer: What Is Known About the Relationship Between Physical Activity and Cancer Risk? Reviewed: 10 February 2020. National Cancer Institute https://www.cancer.gov/about-cancer/causes-prevention/risk/obesity/physical-activity-fact-sheet#q2 Accessed: 22 September 2021
  7. 5 Things You Should Know About Stress: 4. There Are Ways To Manage Stress: Get Regular Exercise. National Institute of Mental Health https://www.nimh.nih.gov/health/publications/stress/index.shtml Accessed: 22 September 2021
  8. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition: Chapter 4. Active Adults – Key Guidelines for Adults. 2018:56. Department of Health and Human Services https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55 Accessed: 22 September 2021
  9. Physical Activity & Exercise. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Revised: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 22 September 2021
  10. Physical Activity: Information – Getting Started. Review Date: 13 May 2019. Page Last Updated: 01 September 2021 May 2021. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 22 September 2021
  11. Fitness: In-Depth – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity – The Bottom Line on Exercise. 11 May 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389 Accessed: 22 September 2021
  12. Physical Activity & Exercise: Starting An Exercise Program – Exercise Physiologists. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Revised: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 22 September 2021

Topic Last Updated: 22 September 2021 – Topic Last Reviewed: 22 September 2021
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