What is Physical Exercise or Activity? - Greene County Rural Health Network
Greene County Rural Health Network

Healthy Lifestyle

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What is Physical Exercise or Activity?

Physical exercise is any activity or form of movement of the body that uses energy. Exercise can be done by working out at the gym, walking the dog, doing chores, and going to local classes such as Zumba or Kickboxing.

Why is Physical Activity Important?

Physical Activity or Exercise can improve both your physical and mental health and improve your quality of life. It can also have positive long-term health benefits that can put you on track to a healthier lifestyle.

Group Physical Activity

Physical Benefits

  • reduces your risk of a heart attack
  • helps manage your weight
  • increases muscular strength and joint flexibility
  • decreases blood cholesterol levels
  • lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes and some cancers
  • lowers blood pressure
  • increases bone strength to reduce the risk of osteoporosis

Mental Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

  • reduces stress, anxiety, and depression levels
  • increases mood and self-esteem
  • improves sleep
  • increases motivation, focus and learning
  • may also change levels of chemicals in your brain such as serotonin & endorphins which help regulate mood, increase energy levels and help you sleep

Types of Exercise

Aerobic Exercise is any physical activity that makes you sweat, causes you to breathe harder, and gets your heart beating faster than at rest. It strengthens your heart and lungs and trains your cardiovascular system to manage and deliver oxygen more quickly and efficiently throughout your body. Aerobic Exercise uses your large muscle groups, is rhythmic in nature, and can be maintained continuously for at least 10 minutes.

Some examples of Aerobic Exercise are:

  • Walking
  • Jogging
  • Bicycling
  • Swimming
  • Dancing
Benefits of Regular Physical Activity

Muscle Strengthening or Resistance Training works your muscles by using resistance, like a dumbbell or your body weight. This type of exercise increases lean muscle mass, which is particularly important for weight loss because lean muscle burns more calories than other types of tissue. Strengthening exercises can also increase flexibility and balance as people age, reducing falls and injuries.

How Much Physical Exercise Do Adults Need?

It’s recommended for adults to exercise at least 30 minutes each day but for substantial health benefits, adults should do the following.

Aerobic Exercise

Aerobic Exercise

  • 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate intensity
  • 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity
  • Equivalent combination of moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity

Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week. For more physical recommendations and other tips, visit the CDC.

Muscle Strengthening

For muscle strengthening benefits, training should be done 2 or more days a week and should include one exercise for all major muscle groups.

Each exercise should be performed 8–12 times per set for 1-2 sets.

Workouts can be performed using:

  • dumbbells
  • weight machines
  • body weight
  • resistance bands

Each time your workouts feel easier, increase the weight to continue building muscle.

Visit our website to find a healthcare provider in your area to discuss what exercise program is best for you.