Human beings are designed for regular physical activity – in other words, we’re designed to move. Thankfully, we have many of our ancestors to thank for this virtue. After discovering some 13,000-year-old skeletons in Europe, researchers concluded that these people were “nimble and strong with well-developed muscles.” As you may know, today, most humans live a sedentary lifestyle, which means we’re spending more time sitting at a desk or on the couch than exercising.
Regular physical activity is a tool to improve our health, but we cannot be healthy if we do not move.
The current data are evident in this regard. According to WHO, the fourth risk factor for death is sedentary lifestyles, with the lack of physical activity responsible for the deaths of 3.2 million people. In turn, from adulthood, a sedentary lifestyle increases the risk of chronic pathology exponentially.
Nature doesn’t promote laziness; we are doing it wrong
In Western society, much is made of the need to exercise regularly. We have an entire industry built around getting us to do just that. While it is essential to stay active, and while the fitness industry has many valuable things to offer, we approach fitness in the West as often problematic. To start, the phrase “working out” is a misnomer. It implies that we are doing something negative, something to get rid of. While this is true of certain kinds of exercise, fitness is an integral part of our lives, not something that we “work out” in the sense that we work out a bad habit, such as smoking.
There are a lot of misconceptions regarding fitness and how to get fit. Many people will say that you need to work out for at least 4 to 5 hours a day to get in shape. Others will say you have to eat a certain way and cut out all the foods you love because you don’t want to get fat. The truth is that getting in shape requires a lot of dedication and hard work, but it doesn’t have to be a life-ruining experience. As long as you are willing to push yourself, you can get yourself in the best shape of your life to live a long life and enjoy the foods you like.
Our health depends on physical activity
There’s a good chance you heard about people who come back from a vacation or even a business trip weighing more than when they left. Many people do not realize how much exercise they do and how much food they consume. For example, the people who drive to work every day may think they are getting some exercise, but the truth is that they do not realize they are sitting in their vehicle for about an hour and a half. This is not an exercise. One way to start losing weight is to start exercising. However, if you have a busy, stressful life, you might find it challenging to prioritize exercise habits.
Some forms of physical activity like aerobic exercise are better at improving certain aspects of health than others. Running is an excellent way to improve cardiovascular health. For example, strength training is a great way to improve muscle tone. That being said, the U.S. Surgeon General has stated that adults should engage in at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity on most days of the week.
Being physically active provides health benefits that improve quality of life
Being physically active can enhance your health and help you manage a healthy weight. It can also help you sleep better, reduce stress, and improve your outlook (known as the “fitness effect”).
- Less than 25 is normal.
- From 25 to 29.9, you are overweight.
- 30 or higher means you are obese.
Being active and maintaining a healthy weight can also improve your other health markers, such as high blood pressure and cholesterol. Research has also found that physically active people tend to have stronger bones and joints. Being physically active can also help you sleep better.
When you hear someone say, “I don’t have time to work out,” remember that being physically active doesn’t mean you need to spend hours at the gym. The latest research shows that exercise’s health benefits come from being physically active throughout your typical day, no matter how little time you have. Getting at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, for instance, can reduce the risk of developing heart disease by up to 50%. Research has also shown that physical activity can improve a person’s quality of life, even if it results in weight loss.
Exercise is the base of physical well-being
Physical fitness is essential to being healthy. Exercise has numerous benefits, from strengthening your heart and lungs to giving you more energy. It also seems to positively affect your mood and reduce your risk of developing several diseases. But achieving good fitness is easier said than done, especially for those not used to regular exercise.
When you have learned to love your body, you can enjoy treating your body well. When you have a positive relationship with your body, you will be more inclined to exercise, healthy eating, and have a healthier lifestyle overall. Being physically active can give you a boost of energy and help you feel better emotionally. You are more likely to be motivated to keep up your exercise routine if you enjoy how it makes you feel and keeps your body and mind healthy. It is never too late to start exercising if you have gained weight due to a recent illness or injury.
Exercise improves your brain function and keeps you mentally sharp
For years, many people have thought that exercising was only good for their bodies, not their brains. After all, the idea that one part of the body could affect another part seemed far-fetched. But over the past decade, neuroscientists have been exploring how exercise can dramatically affect the brain. And they have discovered that exercise can improve your memory, reasoning skills, attention span, and more.
Physical activity is excellent for your physical health, so it’s no surprise that it also helps with your mental health. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain and may increase your hippocampus volume, resulting in memory and learning. It also leads to better focus, attention, and reaction time. What’s more, research shows that the amount of physical activity levels you engage in is linked to your risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. For the best brain benefits, aim for a total of thirty minutes of physical activity each day, three days a week.
Physical activity is the most natural thing in the world
We take for granted that physical activity is a critical part of our lives. We’re taught that being active and getting exercise is the best way to lead a healthy lifestyle from a young age. But, this isn’t the case everywhere.
When was the last time you saw a babysit on the couch or a dog nap in the sun? Human beings are designed to move, and that’s never more true than when we are young. Whether it’s exploring the backyard, playing with a sibling, or taking a walk in the park, being active is what kids are all about. The problem is that outdoor activity takes time, which many of us no longer have a luxury. You can be active in little ways throughout your day. For example, you can take the stairs instead of the elevator or walking to a co-worker’s office instead of sending an email.
Exercise is essential to having energy
Do you want more energy? More pep in your step? Is your energy flagging? That’s because you’re not exercising. Exercise has a remarkable effect on energy levels, and it’s easy to see why: when you do an aerobic activity like running, biking, or swimming, your body requires more oxygen to do it, and your heart pumps faster to deliver it. This means your blood moves faster as well, and all that blood brings more of the oxygen you need to the rest of your body, including your brain. (end)
Regular exercise is a great way to keep your energy levels high and stave off fatigue. The benefits are endless: you’ll sleep better, have more energy at work, and even fight illness better. But exercise is only a small part of the equation. What you eat has just as much impact on your energy levels as to how often you hit the gym.
How a green exercise environment can benefit your health
If you’ve ever been to a state park or natural-looking park, you’ve probably noticed how good it makes you feel. But did you know that being in a green exercise environment like that can actually change your body’s biochemistry? Studies have shown that exercising in a green natural environment can help reduce your cortisol levels, which is the stress hormone that causes you to store fat. The next time you’re feeling stressed out, get outside — nature will help you keep your cool.
We are all born to move. Start moving now
The high majority of humans spend too much time sitting and not enough time moving. It’s not necessarily our fault, either: the modern world doesn’t make it easy. All those sedentary jobs to get to, coupled with a plethora of distractions like TV and video games, and it’s easy to see why we often find ourselves stuck in a chair for most of the day. However, this is a problem that can be solved. When we think of the word ‘exercise,’ most of us think of an hour at the gym. While it’s true that exercise can include more strenuous workouts (and it should, for optimal health benefits), it doesn’t have to be so structured.
You built your body to move. It was designed to run, jump, lift, throw, and do all of the other amazing things we take for granted. However, when you spend too much time sitting in a chair, your muscles start to weaken, and your bones begin to lose density. Your joints start to hurt, your back starts to ache, and if you want to live a pain-free, active life, all it takes is a few simple changes to your daily routine. It’s tempting to spend most of your day sitting in a chair – whether you’re at work or home. But taking a stand against this sedentary lifestyle is easier than you think.
Humans are designed for physical activity
As we have done on multiple occasions, we must resort to evolutionary discourse to understand the importance of physical activity in our health. From an evolutionary perspective, the movement has always lived with us and ensured our survival. Humans suffered intense selective pressure related to their ability to move compared to other primates. The climate changes that occurred during the development of homo sapiens, together with our brains’ very high energy demand, meant we had to increase the territory to be traveled to get our livelihood.
Physical activity is therefore not a way to gain health but something indispensable not to get sick.
I hope that I have been able to convey some of the aspects that make physical activity so indispensable and that at this point, they will stop reading, throw it, and search for a mammoth. See you in the woods.