We all see the advertisements for gym memberships, workout programs, and articles in magazines claiming they can give you "the beach body you've always wanted" or "how to get a flat stomach" and have images of incredibly fit people implying a "this could be you" mentality. All those things are great goals and, in my opinion, being physically fit is definitely something to strive for. But, I'm here to tell you, there is so much more to physical activity than the aesthetic side of it. So maybe you're at a healthy weight, don't wish to build large muscle mass, and/or you're just overall completely content, so why exercise regularly? Physical activity on a regular basis is capable of doing so much more than reducing weight and increasing muscle; exercise can save your life. As I go further in to my college education and closer to my degree I am learning so much about the benefits of physical activity and I just want everyone to know how much good exercise does. I could give you a novel of all the conditions that exercise helps to prevent and even the conditions it helps to improve but that would just be obnoxious. So, here are a few things that regular, moderate exercise can help with:
- Cholesterol Levels
- Blood Pressure
- Heart Disease
- Energy Levels
The above are some common things that exercise does to help individuals. Did you notice some of the bigger issues listed, like diabetes, heart disease, cancer and stroke? Yeah those are some of the leading causes of death in the United States...and they can be prevented or improved with exercise! Physical activity doesn't have to be a 5-mile run, or a CrossFit WOD ("Workout of the Day" for those unfamiliar with CrossFit), or even a group fitness class. It can be as easy as taking your dog for a walk, playing a sport with friends for leisure, or really any activity you enjoy that gets you moving.
Check out how much we spend on health care and what unhealthy habits can cause these chronic diseases that we spend so much money on...exercise and healthy diet are two of the four! (Click the image below to enlarge and explore)
This map provided by Center for Disease Control and Prevention shows the percent of individuals over the age of 18 who have not been physically active, outside of their work, for at least one month. (Click the image to enlarge)
If you can't read the fine print below, it states that this data was collected via survey, which means we are trusting every person that responded to have told the whole truth. I don't know about you, but if I was asked if I participated in any physical activity outside of my job within the last month I'm sure I could come up with something. That being said, even though this map gives us a good idea of what our inactivity levels in the United States look like, some may like to predict that these percentages are actually higher than reported.
That's just a taste of some of the benefits of exercise and the statistics that go along with it. I look at all of these figures and know that the career field I am going into, and even sharing on my blog, I have the ability to educate others and I want to be a part of the solution and change those statistics, preventing disease and improving quality of life. If you have ANY questions regarding exercise, its benefits or the statistics feel free to comment below or e-mail me (firstname.lastname@example.org) and I would be happy to help.