It improves blood circulation, weight, fights stress, depression and mood changes, as well as other vital metrics such as blood pressure and blood glucose. More intense exercise like running also release endorphins, which makes us feel generally better.
In short, exercise improves life quality.
Beyond daily life well-being, exercise also correlates with life expectancy. Research shows that 90mn weekly activity has a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality. Every additional 15 min of daily exercise beyond the minimum amount of 15 min a day further reduce all-cause mortality by 4% and all-cancer mortality by 1%, up to 6.9 years of additional life expectancy. These benefits are applicable to all age groups and both sexes, and to those with cardiovascular disease risks.
Furthermore, continuous 30 minutes or more of aerobic activity increases insulin sensitivity. Improved insulin sensitivity is seen up to 24 hours after exercise in those suffering from Type 2 diabetes. This can be running at 70% of your maximum speed, biking at a moderate pace, or swimming.
It is possible to get an activity tracker to estimate your daily activity and assess if you need additional activity.
On the other end, it is also possible to overtrain. Symptoms include heavy fatigue, chronic tiredness, low motivation, insomnia, poor performance, low libido. Look into active recovery.
- As mentioned, activity trackers can help kickstart daily exercise.
- Walking is a good start. Walk to the grocery store or when shopping instead of using the car. Hiking is even better. It can be done with family and friends. It is a good way to appreciate nature and we seldom hit a wall, unlike other demanding activities. Have you looked at trails or hiking meetup groups around your area?
- Have you thought about walking or cycling to work?
- Indoor swimming, yoga, pilates, dancing, stationary cycling are good ideas in bad weather. There are free or affordable yoga applications that will let you do 30mn sessions in the comfort of your home.
- Depending on your health condition, you can also look into more strenuous activities: running, strength training, team sports, martial arts etc. Caution: Those with injuries, sickness will need to consult before their doctor. Engage gradually. Weight lifting as well as sports such as golf can cause spinal misalignment and other chiropractic problems.
- Dr Chi Pang Wen, Jackson Pui Man Wai, Min Kuang Tsai, Yi Chen Yang, Ting Yuan David Cheng, Meng-Chih Lee, Hui Ting Chan, Chwen Keng Tsao, Shan Pou Tsai, Xifeng Wu. Oct 2011. Minimum amount of physical activity for reduced mortality and extended life expectancy: a prospective cohort study. The Lancet
- C. D. Reimers, G. Knapp, A. K. Reimers. 2012. Does Physical Activity Increase Life Expectancy? A Review of the Literature. Journal of Aging Research
- Erik J. Henriksen. Aug 2002. Effects of acute exercise and exercise training on insulin resistance. Journal of Applied Physiology