The Many Benefits of Physical Fitness

Updated October 16, 2022
Young female runner listening to earphones while running on riverside path

The benefits physical fitness are significant, ranging from weight control to disease prevention to improvements in your physical appearance. Including physical activities that boost your health will also enhance your body's ability to respond to stress. Physical fitness creates positive change throughout your body and mind.

What Is Physical Fitness?

Physical fitness means being in a state of good health. It involves exercising regularly, but it also includes following a balanced diet, getting enough rest, and being in a good mental state. All of these aspects are interconnected.

Physical fitness can also describe athletic performance. For instance, by focusing on your physical fitness you can improve best time on a 5k run or how many laps you swim in a given period of time. Exercise, of course, is at the crux of your ability to perform well and efficiently.

Physical fitness is different from physical activity, which is simply the movement produced by your skeletal muscles. Running or doing yoga is physical activity. Participating in these activities on a regular basis can help you to improve your overall physical fitness. Physical activity and physical activity are different but closely linked together.

The Benefits of Physical Fitness

There are countless reasons to make your physical fitness a priority. But these benefits are among the most significant.

Helps With Weight Management

A large waistline is among the risk factors for metabolic syndrome. Others include high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and high triglycerides. Diet and exercise can help you to address all of these issues.

The benefits of endurance and aerobic training on weight management are well documented, according to the Journal of Applied Physiology. Additionally, the more intense your activity, the more calories you will burn. Your calorie burn will also result in fat loss and better overall cardiac health. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) suggests that doing 150 minutes of moderate physical activity helps to maintain your weight.

Reduces Disease Risk

The World Health Organization (WHO) states that physical activity helps in preventing and lowering your risk for several diseases such as hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer. It also improves your heart, body, and mind. The value of physical fitness cannot be overestimated when it comes to reducing your risk for chronic disease.

Boosts Heart Health

There are obvious benefits of lowering your risk for heart disease, according to the CDC. However, making good physical fitness your goal will also reduce your risk of certain types of cancer, type 2 diabetes, and strengthen your bones. Exercise increases the function of HDL or good cholesterol in your blood, which in turn, reduces your risk of atherosclerosis and stroke. However, research is pending in this area, according to Current Opinion in Lipidology.

Helps Reduce Abdominal Fat

Good physical fitness targets another health risk by helping with the fat in your abdominal area. Abdominal fat increases your risk of heart disease and breast cancer. Fortunately, exercise can help you shed fat around your midsection. Inactivity increases the accumulation of belly fat, according to a 2017 study in Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.

Helps Build Stronger Bones

When you engage in weight-bearing exercises, such as running, you reduce your risk of developing osteoporosis later in life. These exercises build muscle mass and increase bone density. The CDC notes that physical activity in older adults also helps to decrease the risk of injury from falls.

By improving your physical fitness early on, you can build strength which will help you with everyday tasks. Adding stretching exercises to your routine will improve your flexibility and range of motion. Not only will this improve your performance at the gym, but it will also help prevent falls. You can also prevent back injuries. Every aspect of your life can be improved.

Improves Quality of Life

Exercise can make you happier. It might not seem like it when you are dreading the gym, but it's founded in science. A 2020 study in the International Journal of Environmental Research and Public Health found that increased exercise is associated with higher rates of life satisfaction.

Additionally, physical fitness and exercise has a positive effect on mental health. A 2006 study in The Primary Care Companion to the Journal of Clinical Psychiatry noted that regular exercise worked to reduce serious mental health issues like anxiety, depression, and negative mood. It also worked to improve cognitive function and self-esteem.

The benefits go far past the physical aspects. Good physical fitness is the most important gift you can give yourself and your loved ones.

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The Many Benefits of Physical Fitness