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Long-term benefits of exercise on physical health

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

What is exercise?

Exercise involves engaging in physical activity and increasing the heart rate and your breathing rate beyond resting levels. This does not necessarily mean that you need to spend long periods of time in the gym but rather, it can be included in everyday life. For example walking to and from school, cycling, taking the stairs instead of a lift.

What is the recommended amount of exercise a person should do?

The UK government recommends that adults should aim to do 30 minutes of exercise five or more days per week and children and young people should do around 60 minutes every day.

Why is exercise important?

Exercise is an important part of preserving physical, emotional and social health. Keeping physically active can prevent major illnesses and is the basis for a healthier lifestyle.

What are the long term benefits of exercise to a person's physical health?

When exercise is done regularly, as part of routine, over a long period of time, it can:

  • improve a person's body shape, muscle tone and posture.

  • strengthen a person's bones and muscles.

  • increase a person's stamina, endurance and balance.

  • strengthen a person's immune system which fights infections.

  • reduce a person's risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease and some cancers.

  • reduce a person's blood pressure.

  • prevent health problems by increasing a person's good cholesterol and decreasing the bad cholesterol in a person's body.

  • help control and maintain a healthy weight.

  • prevent premature ageing.

  • promote a healthy growth and development in children.

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