Physical activity and health benefits

Hey everyone, this is indeed a very important topic to discuss letting you people know more about importance of fitness and physical activity and health benefits of such.

Physical activity and Hypokinetic diseases

Regular physical activity and good fitness can promote good health, help prevent disease, and be a part of disease treatment. There are three major ways in which regular physical activity and good fitness can contribute to optimal health and wellness. First, they can aid in disease/illness prevention.

There is considerable evidence that the risk of hypokinetic diseases or conditions can be greatly reduced among people who do regular physical activity and achieve good physical fitness. Virtually all chronic diseases that plague society are considered to be hypokinetic, though some relate more to inactivity than others. Nearly three-quarters of all deaths among those 18 and older are a result of chronic diseases. Leading public health officials have suggested that physical activity reduces the risk for several of these diseases.

Physical activity also stimulates positive changes with respect to other risk factors and may produce a shortcut for the control of chronic diseases, much as immunization controls infectious diseases. Second, physical activity and fitness can be significant contributors to disease/illness treatment. Even with the best disease prevention practices, some people will become ill. Regular exercise and good fitness have been shown to be effective in alleviating symptoms and aiding rehabilitation after illness for such hypokinetic conditions as diabetes, heart disease, and back pain. Finally, physical activity and fitness are methods of health and wellness promotion.

They contribute to quality living associated with wellness, the positive component of good health. In the process, they aid in meeting many of the nation’s health goals. Too many adults suffer from hypokinetic
disease and the economic cost is high. In 1961, Kraus and Raab coined the term hypokinetic disease to describe health problems associated with lack of physical activity. They showed how sedentary living, or, as they called it “take it easy” living, contributes to the leading killer diseases in our society. A public advocacy group has recently coined the term sedentary death syndrome (SeDS) to describe inactive living and associated hypokinetic disease risk factors. They indicate that SeDS is responsible for the epidemic of chronic disease in our society and resulting increases in health costs. It is expected that, in the next few years, expenditures for health care will account for one-fifth of all spending in the United States. Regular physical activity over a lifetime may overcome the effects of inherited risk.

Some people with a family history of disease may conclude they can do nothing because their heredity works against them. There is no doubt that heredity significantly affects risk for early death from hypokinetic diseases. New studies of twins, however, suggest that active people are less likely to die early than inactive people with similar genes. This suggests that long-term adherence to physical activity can overcome other risk factors, such
as heredity. Hypokinetic diseases and conditions have many causes. Regular physical activity and good physical fitness are only two of the preventive factors associated with the conditions described in this concept as hypokinetic diseases. Other healthy lifestyle factors, such as nutrition
and stress management, cannot be overlooked.

Physical activities and cardiovascular diseases


The many types of cardiovascular diseases are the leading killers in automated societies. There are many forms of cardiovascular disease (CVD). Some are classified as coronary heart disease (CHD) because they affect the heart muscle and the blood vessels that supply the heart. Coronary occlusion (heart attack) is a type of CHD. Atherosclerosis and arteriosclerosis are two conditions that increase risk for heart attack and are considered to be types of CHD.

Angina pectoris (chest or arm pain), which occurs when the oxygen supply to the heart muscle is diminished, is sometimes considered to be a type of CHD, though it is really a symptom of poor circulation. Hypertension (high blood pressure), stroke (brain attack), peripheral vascular disease, and congestive heart failure are other forms of CVD. Inactivity relates in some way to each of these types of disease. In the United States, CHD accounts for approximately 31 percent of all premature deaths. Stroke accounts for an additional 7 percent. Men are more likely to suffer from heart disease than women, although the differences have narrowed in recent years. African American, Hispanic, and Native American populations are at higher than normal risk.

Heart disease and stroke death rates are similar in the United States, Canada, Great Britain, Australia, and other automated societies. There is a wealth of statistical evidence that physical inactivity is a primary risk factor for CHD. Much of the research relating inactivity to heart disease has come from occupational studies that show a high incidence of heart disease in people involved only in sedentary work. Even with the limitations inherent in these types of studies, the findings of more and more occupational studies present convincing evidence that the inactive individual has an increased risk for coronary heart disease. A study summarizing all of the important occupational studies shows a 90 percent reduced risk for coronary heart disease for those in active versus inactive occupations.

The American Heart Association, after carefully examining the research literature, elevated sedentary living from a secondary to a primary risk factor, comparable to high blood pressure, high blood cholesterol, obesity, and cigarette smoke. The reason for this change is that inactivity increases risk in multiple ways and large numbers of adults are sedentary and vulnerable to these risks. After reviewing hundreds of studies on exercise and heart disease, the Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health concluded that “physical inactivity is causally linked to atherosclerosis and coronary heart disease.”

Physical activity and the healthy heart

Healthy heart

Regular physical activity will increase the heart muscle’s ability to pump oxygen-rich blood. A fit heart muscle can handle extra demands placed on it. Through regular exercise, the heart muscle gets stronger, contracts more forcefully, and therefore pumps more blood with each beat. The heart is just like any other muscle, it must be exercised regularly to stay fit. The fit heart also has open, clear arteries free of atherosclerosis. The hypothetical “normal” resting heart rate is said to be 72 beats per minute (bpm). However, resting rates of 50 to 85 bpm are common.

People who regularly do physical activity typically have lower resting heart rates than people who do no regular activity. Some endurance athletes have heart rates in the 30 and 40 bpm range, which is considered healthy or normal. Although resting heart rate is not considered to be a good measure of health or fitness, decreases in individual heart rate following training reflect positive adaptations. Low heart rates in response to a standard amount of physical activity are a good indicator of fitness. The bicycle and step tests presented later in this book use your heart rate response to a standard amount of exercise to estimate your cardiovascular fitness.

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