Friday, June 7, 2013

Benefits of Physical Activity

This is the 3rd of three blog entries on physical activity—importance, amount, and benefits.  In the first of the series I recommended that while weight-loss or maintenance is a wonderful by-product of an active lifestyle, I do not recommend weight-loss be your primary reason for exercising because people who exercise in order to lose weight often struggle with maintaining the motivation to exercise once they achieve their goal weight.  Furthermore, weight-loss exercisers who base their motivation on the myth that their worth is based on their body image are basing their motivation on shifting sand.  Since it is not true that you are worthy because of your body image, and since life doesn’t always get better once you lose the weight, if you have built your motivation on that shaky foundation, when the sand shifts the motivation will crumble.  Even if you can stay motivated, exercising for weight-loss can keep you in bondage to body image rather than experiencing the pure energizing joy of physical activity and the many other benefits it offers. 

I realize that many people who exercise for weight-loss are doing so because they have been told that weight-loss results in better health.  Unfortunately, weight-loss in and of itself does not necessarily result in better health (this complicated, sometimes controversial, often surprising topic will be discussed in a future blog)  and an increasing amount of research is bringing that to light.  Of course the physical activity does result in improved health, and in a multitude of ways.  So instead of exercising for weight-loss which often comes with motivation struggles, bondage to body image, and a misplaced value on weight in health, I highly recommend that you focus on the many other benefits of physical activity:

  • Develops and maintains cardiorespiratory fitness

  • Increases HDL’s (“good cholesterol”)

  • Decreases LDL’s (“bad cholesterol”)

  • Decreases triglycerides

  • Decreases blood pressure

  • Reduces stress 

  • Anti-inflammatory properties

  • Reduces body fat and maintains healthy body weight

  • Helps to prevent heart disease, stroke, colon & breast cancer, diabetes, osteoporosis,   diverticular disease, and gallstones

  • Helps manage arthritis

  • Stabilizes blood sugars

  •  Increases energy

  •  Improves muscle tone, strength and flexibility 

  • Increases metabolic rate for at least 12-14 hours after exercise.  In addition, lean tissue is more metabolically active 24 hours a day, even while sedentary

  • Modifies or eliminates anxiety, depression

  • Decreases symptoms of PMS

  • Increases self-esteem and sense of well-being and improves mental outlook

  • Improves blood flow to skin, hair and other organs contributing to a healthier skin, hair and body

  • Immediate appetite suppressant

  • Improves sleep

  • Improves bodily processes from digestion to elimination

It feels good and it’s FUN!!!

It is important to make physical activity a consistent and enjoyable part of your life.  It does not have to involve long, sweaty workouts—

Just get moving!

Diane Preves, M.S., R.D.

Thank you for sharing this post with others who might benefit from the information shared herein.


  1. Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss.

  2. Hello and thank you for sharing those useful points. to read more factors and tips diet and exercise plan for weight loss
    best of luck....


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