Physical activity refers to the performance of all those tasks in which the body uses energy such as walking, gardening, doing the super, climbing stairs, playing sports or dancing all night.
For health to benefit, it should be carried out with moderate to vigorous intensity. By doing vigorous exercises, we will be able to obtain better results in half the time it would take us to do so with moderate performance. Just moving around and doing simple things like shopping or walking casually is not enough for healthy effects because it does not increase heart rate.Many times this concept is confused with that of physical exercise, but we must make the difference in that this last term is based on a physical activity that follows a repetition, a planning or an approach towards improving a part of our body and strengthening our physical conditions.
The benefits of a regular physical activity are based on the following advantages that we list, among others:
- Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
- Increases calorie intake even up to 30 minutes after activity
- Contrary to popular belief, it reduces appetite
- A physical activity accompanied by a diet with fewer calories helps to lose Body Fat up to 98%.
However, these benefits can be counterproductive by an excess of physical activity in a short time and suddenly, causing cellular and physical wear, in addition to a greater possibility of contracting diseases by affecting the immune system.
Combat sedentary life
According to the World Health Organization, physical inactivity is the fourth risk factor for death worldwide and is the main reason for diseases such as breast and colon cancer, diabetes and ischemic heart disease.
In contrast to the development of a moderate and frequent physical activity, we have the Sedentarism, being precisely a low or null exercise of movements in the daily activities, causing for it a great number of affections and diseases. An individual with a sedentary lifestyle is likely going to:
- Get type 2 diabetes
- Have cardiovascular disease
- Increased cholesterol levels
- Having a heart attack
- Have high blood pressure
That is why people who lead a sedentary life also have a greater tendency towards discouragement, have a frequent feeling of discomfort and tend to have a low resistance to fatigue, feeling tired frequently and with low resistance to different activities.
Related: Physical Activity
Maintaining regular physical activity can generate very positive changes in our lives. People of all ages, sizes, complexions and abilities can benefit as we observed before, and we mention now other aspects to consider:
- Increases life expectancy
- It strengthens self-esteem
- Decreases the chances of falling into some kind of depression
- Helps to sleep better
- Facilitates mobility
- Strengthens bones and muscles
- Helps to reach and maintain an adequate weight
- It is a way to socialize healthily
Physical activity and nutrition work together to improve health and with it the quality of life. It is also important because as we age our metabolism slows down, so to maintain an energy balance we need to move more and feed ourselves intelligently.
The activities that benefit us the most
As we mentioned before, it’s not just about being on the move. Frequency and above all certain types of activities help us more than others to maintain our health.
Aerobic exercises demand more breathing and make our heart beat harder. Those that are vigorous intensity require more effort than moderate ones.
Activities that involve muscle work, such as push-ups and weight lifting, make us stronger. It is important to work all parts of the body such as the legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders and arms, to obtain a better result. On the other hand, it is also important to do exercises that strengthen the bones and promote growth, especially in children and adolescents.
Finally, stretching activities improve physical stability and flexibility, reducing the risk of injury. Examples include dance, yoga.
Myths around physical activity
Sometimes we believe that being physically active is very expensive because we need special clothing and equipment or certain types of sports facilities. The truth is that it can be done anywhere and without the need for equipment. Simple things like walking or running are feasible practically anywhere.
Another common pretext may be the lack of time, but specialists say that spending a minimum of 30 minutes a day 5 days a week is more than enough.
Finally, age is not an obstacle either. Physical activity is necessary for people of all ages, from the youngest to the oldest adults.