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The benefits of physical activity

Physical activity can be a lifesaver – literally.

Everyone needs activity

It’s always a good idea to add physical activity to your life, regardless of your age. Physical activity can:

  • dramatically lower your risk of heart disease and stroke
  • help prevent and control risk factors such as:
    high blood pressure
    high cholesterol
    type 2 diabetes
    osteoporosis
    certain types of cancer
    obesity
  • reduce stress levels
  • increase energy
  • improve sleep
  • improve digestion

You may see benefits within the first week of regular activity. For example, your blood pressure may improve and you could start to feel more energetic and relaxed. After three months, you may experience better health, improved posture and balance, stronger muscles and bones, more confidence and a more positive outlook on life.

Because physical activity makes you feel better about yourself, you're more likely to make healthy lifestyle choices and avoid unhealthy ones such as smoking, overeating or drinking too much alcohol.

Inactivity, on the other hand, is linked to a higher risk of heart disease, stroke and the many disabilities they can cause. In addition, lack of activity may increase your risk for:

  • high blood pressure
  • high cholesterol
  • type 2 diabetes
  • osteoporosis
  • certain types of cancer
  • obesity
  • falls and injuries
  • depression

Almost everyone can benefit from active living. If you have arthritis or osteoporosis, physical activity is extremely important to keep you mobile. If you've already had a heart attack, becoming active may help to prevent another one. And people over 65 with poor mobility who engage in muscle and bone strengthening activities can enhance their balance and prevent falls

NOTE: Before starting a physical activity program, speak to your healthcare provider first to discuss what is right for you.

23 and 1/2 hours: What is the single best thing we can do for our health?