What Are the Health Benefits of Being Physically Fit?

Children, adults and seniors can all enjoy the benefits of being physically fit. You'll experience improved cardio and bone health, along with stronger muscles. Better sleep and an enhanced sense of wellbeing are also common benefits.

Being physically fit helps you control your weight. Credit: ArtistGNDphotography/E+/GettyImages

Tips

By adopting a physically active lifestyle, you'll find it easier to burn calories, which helps you control your weight. You'll also boost your muscle mass, which enhances your ability to take on more demanding physical activities.

10 Benefits of Physical Fitness

Engaging in a regular exercise program provides a bounty of benefits that enrich many areas of your life, notes the American Council on Exercise. Consistent cardio exercise improves your cardiovascular health. Regular workouts help your heart muscle to become stronger, enabling you to stay active without feeling tired.

Sticking to an exercise program contributes to lower blood pressure levels. Consistent physical activity helps to keep your arteries clear, improve your circulatory system function and maintain good heart strength. Taken together, these benefits help to ward off high blood pressure.

Another of the benefits of being physically fit is that you'll more easily burn calories and manage your weight. You'll also increase your muscle mass, lower body fat and boost your body's resting metabolic rate. This emphasizes the importance of an active lifestyle.

Regular weight-bearing exercise, such as jogging, biking or strength training, exerts stress on your body's skeletal system. In turn, your bones focus on bone growth and repair. These actions help to fend off osteoporosis, which is often a concern for older exercisers.

Regular cardiovascular workouts raise the amount of desirable high-density lipoprotein (or HDL) that circulates throughout your body. In turn, your blood's lipid profiles improve, helping to decrease undesirable low-density cholesterol (or LDL). This process results in a more favorable cholesterol profile.

Integrating regular exercise into your life provides varied anti-aging benefits. Specifically, high-intensity workouts help to facilitate muscle protein growth and build lean muscle, resulting in lessened aging effects. Exercise also increases brain cell health, setting the stage for better cognitive functionality.

Exercise releases dopamine and serotonin, the neurotransmitters that give your body that "feel good" sensation. As a result, you'll likely notice that you're considerably more relaxed and maintain a general feeling of happiness during your daily activities. This illustrates one of the reasons why exercise is important.

Enhanced school- or job-related learning potential is another of the benefits of being physically fit. Exercise helps to strengthen brain cells, which results in higher learning capacity and alertness. So, you may feel better able to focus on that detailed case study or intensive report after an energetic workout.

Exercising regularly, and seeing the results of your commitment, can really boost your self-confidence, states Walden University. Maybe you've lost weight, banished annoying belly fat, or fine-tuned your training regimen. Regardless of your achievement, it has given your self-esteem a healthy boost.

Consistent physical activity sets the stage for better sleep. Energetic exercise helps to calm your mind and get your body's circadian rhythm back on track. As a result, you'll be more likely to nod off shortly after turning back the covers at night.

Read more: 9 Crazy Fitness Trends to Make Your Workout More Fun

Importance of an Active Lifestyle

Keeping yourself physically active brings numerous health benefits for exercisers of all ages, stresses the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You'll reduce your risk of developing challenging health problems. If you have a chronic disease, you'll be better able to handle the ebbs and flows of that condition.

Children who exercise regularly maintain better aerobic fitness, and they develop stronger muscles and healthier bones. The youngsters' attention spans also improve, setting the stage for improved classroom performance. This is another of the reasons why exercise is important.

Physically active adults enjoy enhanced aerobic fitness, and they're less likely to gain weight. Regular exercisers have a reduced chance of elevated blood pressure and stroke, and their arthritis symptoms also decrease. Better cognitive functionality and mental wellbeing are also linked to regular exercise.

Seniors who exercise regularly enjoy better balance and joint mobility, and they're less likely to experience potentially harmful falls. Body-friendly workouts help to prevent muscle deterioration, and weight-bearing exercise improves bone strength. In addition, active older adults are able to maintain good cognitive health for a longer period of time. This attribute shows the importance of an active lifestyle.

Tips

If you've taken a break from exercise, ease back into it gradually to minimize your injury risks. Consult with your physician if you have health issues that could impact your ability to exercise safely.

Read more: 10 Types of Low-Impact Exercise That Keep You Fit and Injury-Free

Why Staying Healthy Is Important

Following a healthy lifestyle has now been linked to longer life expectancy. According to Harvard Health Publishing, in 2014, the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health completed a large-scale study, designed to show the effect of health habits on subjects' life expectancies.

Researchers studied over 78,000 women from 1980 to 2014. Over 40,000 male subjects were followed from 1986 to 2014. All subjects completed accurately compiled questionnaires throughout the course of the study.

The study tracked factors such as healthy diet, healthy body weight, healthy physical activity, moderate alcohol consumption and non-smoking. Researchers selected these areas because they strongly influence the degree of premature death risk.

After researchers compiled the study data, they found that women who possessed all five healthy habits, and who had the habits at 50 years old, tended to live 14 years longer than women who had no healthy habits.

Read more: The Advantages of Going to the Gym Every Day

Healthy-living men tended to live 12 years longer than fellow subjects without any healthy habits. Subjects who didn't practice any healthy habits were much more likely to suffer a premature death from cardiovascular disease or cancer.

Next, researchers estimated subjects' life expectancies based on their number of healthy habits. Men and women with only one healthy habit were projected to extend their life spans by two years. Subjects who had multiple healthy habits were given correspondingly longer lifespans.

Benefits of Physical Education Classes

Your K-12 physical education courses helped to provide a framework for a healthy lifestyle, notes the New Medical Association Sport Injuries and Physical Education. First, your body got acquainted with calorie-burning games and sports. Today, you know regular exercise can increase your resting metabolic rate, giving you the ability to more easily burn calories and drop unwanted pounds.

During years of physical education classes, you learned to build your body's muscles and work hard to achieve measurable goals. Those often-challenging workouts helped to demonstrate your physical skills and showcase your body's abilities.

Your physical education class participation set the stage for a consistent adult exercise program. By internalizing this healthy lifestyle paradigm as a child, you're increasingly likely to make those positive choices as an adult. This demonstrates another of the reasons why exercise is important.

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