The Importance of Exercise

Importance of exercise, health related fitness



There is so much information available on the importance of exercise – how does one address, let alone cover such a broad and sometimes controversial topic on a Website?

To those who are indifferent or opposed to exercise, the phrase written as “the importance of exercise” will probably resonate as too matter-of-fact, or overly presumptuous. However, I am prepared to defend my position on the wording of this heading should I be taken to task.

Frankly, I do not even think the topic is debatable.



1. DO WE NEED TO CORROBORATE SOMETHING THAT IS ALREADY PROVEN BEYOND A REASONABLE DOUBT?

In fact, the importance of exercise in its contribution to good health requires no further analysis – neither any detailed explanations. Today, the importance of exercise is well-enough supported by endless medical tests, experiments and perceptible cause-effect relationships. A perfect reciprocation to the importance of physical health.

The benefits of exercise are experienced by any individuals who participate in regular physical exercise activities and is demonstrated by their superior quality of life.

There is factual and substantiated evidence abound on the importance of exercise, and why one should participate. The basic principles of exercise and the benefits to one’s health are plain and simple. They do not need to be drummed up more than being a means to an end - an important end.

2. HAS THE MESSAGE BEEN INTERNALIZED? - LET'S DO A QUICK STOCK-TAKE OF THE GENERAL PUBLIC'S HEALTH-SITUATION

Many studies are showing alarming statistics which indicate that significant quotas of modern society are living sedentary lives and not maintaining good eating habits. One does not have to look very far to see that there is much work to be done to get the public at large moving and into better shape.

Since the 1996 US Surgeon General’s report on Physical Activity and Health was published, there have been numerous campaigns afoot to mobilize action for change. But people are not responding – at least not seriously enough.

Publically available global statistics will tell you that people do not adequately address their own physical conditions, neither do they appear particularly motivated by the potential benefits of exercise they squander in the process.

3. SO, WHY DO WE NEED EXERCISE?

The answer to this is rather easy and I love saying it:

Because it is essential for ALL individuals, regardless of age, gender or physical condition.

To elaborate a little, the world has become fast-paced and more demanding. All the more, it goes for convenience commodities but also asks people to do more with less.

It means less walking and more driving; it also means more fast-food and less wholesome unprocessed varieties. Furthermore, physical activity, relaxation and conversation have literally taken a back seat as people become more sedentary, mostly thanks to the information age and the modern home entertainment era.

One should not have to forego the occasional fast-food splurge, surfing the Web or watching TV, it simply means making time to work out, relax and so integrate physical, emotional and mental wellness into daily living. Like it or not, this is the hard reality.

If we continue to live unbalanced lives, focusing more and more time and energy on our jobs, we may see steady and lucrative rewards in the workplace. But at what cost? Sooner or later there will be a need to reckon with what has been neglected, be it time with the family, caring for our health or simply relaxing with friends or loved ones.

Don't let it come to this!

When you think carefully about it, as a modern society, we really need to work not only to improve our all-round health, but also to restore the more wholesome family values and work ethics we once lived by.

Yes the world has become more competitive and people have less time all-round; we work longer hours and are usually tired, disillusioned and frustrated, often lazing about and turning to food for comfort a little too frequently. And looking at it that way, it’s easy to see why people subliminally go wayward.

While participating in the rat-race, before you know it you’re in poor health or overweight, you’ve lost perspective, your sense of security, and you don’t really recall how it happened... and here’s the BUT...

We have to rise up above this.

Naturally, physical exercise means work. And it is not always enjoyable to do, but knowing the massive potential payouts makes it easier to get and stay motivated, and to enjoy it "most" of the time. Note I said "easier" because I know first-hand. I have been through this – knuckling down and getting into shape requires hard work and dedication. It’s not a case of flicking a switch.

To sustain your input and efforts, you need to have your life in order and under your control. In other words, you have to be in healthy mental shape and emotionally stable too. And I do not mean you should sit around and wait until you are on an even keel before becoming active.

If there are issues which are burdening you and holding you back, you need to proactively address them, or you will not have a clear road ahead. Neither will you possess the very necessary peace-of-mind to tackle your health condition.

4. STAY ON TRACK

Once you have faced your demons and underway with your physical exercise plan, you need to sustain your efforts to see your goal through to fruition. Part of helping one stay the course is to plan and keep track of your fitness program. As I said on the Home Page, exercise activities needn’t be boring. You can have a very rewarding and long-term health related fitness experience, if you approach it sensibly. Read more here.

5. LET’S CONSIDER WHAT THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE MEANS TO THE INDIVIDUAL IN REAL TERMS

In an overall sense, physical exercise causes a number of significant changes in the human body as a result of the stress placed on it – hence the term “Training Effect”. Simply put, you work your body and cause fatigue and micro-trauma to the anatomy, which in turn influence changes in biochemical properties and physiological processes.

The body then responds by recovering (when you sleep), growing stronger and more resistant. The benefits derived, most importantly, include muscular, cardiovascular and metabolic change, which greatly reinforce one’s health and fitness condition.

According to the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA), the result of the “Training Effect” on one’s body affords the ability to undertake physical more easily with less apparent reaction, thus providing an increase in quality-of-life.

To further detail the importance of exercise, consider the following points, each of which relates to tangible benefits:

  • The beneficial “Training Effect” resulting from regular exercise promotes good health and helps prevent major health-related complications connected with costly treatment and serious (and often preventable medical) consequences;

  • Regular exercise can contribute to improving a whole host of health conditions, some of which include:

    • Anxiety
    • Cancer
    • Cholesterol
    • Depression
    • Diabetes
    • Fatigue
    • Heart disease
    • High blood pressure

  • If included as part of a schooling syllabus (especially junior schools), the perceived benefits of participating in exercise could help ground the concept of health and fitness from a young age, which would hopefully endure with the individual on a long-term basis, and contribute towards society’s benefit on the whole;

  • With the public’s higher-than-ever levels of obesity, people are much more reliant on medical care than should be the case. This places a tremendous financial load on consumers for health insurance, as well as on the national budget for those who rely on state healthcare.

  • As mentioned above, the mental state of an individual actively engaged in physical activity is a significant consideration. The importance of exercise here, is that it can positively enhance the relationships between physical fitness, mental wellbeing and emotional stability.

  • The importance of exercise also extends to the psyche. Physical fitness greatly contributes to enhancing self-esteem and boosting confidence. People actively engaged in exercise are generally more successful at what they set out to do.

6. GETTING PEOPLE TO REALIZE THE IMPORTANCE OF EXERCISE AND CHANGE THEIR HABITS

I believe that any individual, young or old, thin or overweight, has the mental capacity to understand and accept the fact that exercise is not only beneficial to his/her health, but also vital.

So why are so few listening? Let’s read on.

Yes, one would think that potentially enjoying all of the many advantages and benefits of exercise would be enough of a stimulus to get people interested and involved. Not a chance.

Okay so one could assume then that inactive people, especially those with potential health issues, would be responsible enough to address their situations by themselves, right? Again, no way.

What about individuals who have left it so late that they are aging and in an advanced state of ill-health, perhaps even facing dire prospects? Surely this group would do something? Well, still precious little.

You would think expensive medical bills like those associated with chronic ailments would alone act as an incentive to this group and encourage people to become healthier.

So why with all the high-level awareness campaigns, cross-cutting initiatives and communiqués do we continue to ignore or neglect the problem? Are we consciously aware of our actions when we overlook the importance of exercise as a precursor to better health or to offset the effects of certain maladies and health conditions?

It may just be that those attempting to promote change among the public are barking up the wrong tree. Are those awareness initiatives really “leveling” with the ordinary person?

I believe that many of us are either misinformed (conveniently) or uninformed; or we simply do not recognize the actual importance of exercise and the associated health benefits for a variety of reasons. The reasons could be down to our own particular predispositions, possibly justified to ourselves and to others by means of a self-serving bias - or it could be to do with motivation.

You see, simply wanting to or knowing that you need to shape up is not enough to get you moving, and this little piece of the puzzle is neither adequately considered, nor catered for by high-level awareness campaigns which, by nature can all but hammer on the hard facts of obesity, hoping these will encourage people to take action.

Scare tactics on cigarette boxes have not seemed to deter smokers, so why would a similar mode of campaigning have any more success with obese individuals? On the page dealing with Motivation, we discuss these and other interesting topics, several of which may be possible impediments to us realizing the importance of exercise.



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