What Are the Health Benefits of Physical Activity?

What Are the Health Benefits of Physical Activity?

In addition to helping to control your weight, research shows that
regular physical activity can reduce your risk for several diseases and
conditions and improve your overall quality of life. Regular physical
activity can help protect you from the following health problems.

  • Heart Disease and Stroke. Daily physical activity can help prevent
    heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering
    your blood pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels
    (good cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels
    (bad cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart’s
    working capacity.

  • High Blood Pressure. Regular physical activity can reduce blood
    pressure in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity
    also reduces body fatness, which is associated with high blood pressure.

  • Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes. By reducing body fatness, physical
    activity can help to prevent and control this type of diabetes.

  • Obesity. Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or
    preserving muscle mass and improving the body’s ability to use calories.
    When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help
    control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many

  • Back Pain. By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving
    flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.

  • Osteoporosis. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation
    and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Studies on the psychological effects of exercise have found that regular
physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about
yourself. Researchers also have found that exercise is likely to reduce
depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.

Keep these health benefits in mind when deciding whether or not to
exercise. And remember, any amount of physical activity you do is better
than none at all.

The Weight-control Information Network (WIN) is a service of the
National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases
(NIDDK), part of the National Institutes of Health. WIN provides
information on weight control, obesity, and nutritional disorders. WIN
responds to requests for information; develops, reviews, and distributes
publications; and develops communications strategies to encourage
individuals to achieve and maintain a healthy weight.

last updated: 10 February 2022

last update: February 2009

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