There is a public perception that the youth of this generation lack physical exercise. This view is supported by the fact that contrary to the past when most leisure activities like football games were done physically outdoor, advancement in technology has created many non-physical leisure activities, which are done indoors, such as computer games and movies, thus physical activity during leisure time has been eliminated. However, physical exercise has a wide range of benefits, which this paper attempts to explore.
The most widely accepted benefit of physical exercise is that it helps a person to control body weight. While engaged in physical activities, the body burns excess fat stored under the skin, which presents a health hazard. Dieting can also be used as a method of controlling body weight, but it can be made more effective when combined with physical exercise. Regular exercise helps people follow their diet schedules more effectively, regain less weight after dieting, and lose more fat. Furthermore, physical exercise contributes to a reduction in appetite. Immediately after physical exercise, there is increased circulation of glucose and lipids that were released to fuel the exercise, thus the body mimics the fed state and demands less feeding. Physical activity also reduces stress, which is a major cause of overeating and the resultant obesity.
Physical activity plays a role in disease prevention including some of the most catastrophic diseases without medicine. Physical activity prevents disease both directly and indirectly. Physically active people are fifty percent less likely to experience a heart attack than physically inactive people, as physical exercise strengthens the heart. The heart also benefits indirectly from reduced body fat and cholesterol due to physical exercise, which reduces blood pressure and therefore lessens the risk of a heart attack. Most chronic diseases, especially among the aged can be managed by physical activity. Arthritis in particular can be prevented by physical activity. Research shows that almost half of arthritis cases in the US can be attributed to a lack of physical activity. Physical exercise increases blood circulation in the joints hence reducing the chances of arthritis. Diabetes and certain types of cancer can also be prevented by physical activity.
Physical activity also improves psychological health. It can be used as a therapy for stress management. During a repetitive physical activity, such as riding a bike, a person is distracted from day-to-day worries and stress and the mind goes into a relaxed tranquil state with no stress. Scientists also posit that during physical exercise, a certain chemical called endorphin is released into the brain. This chemical has a euphoric effect that improves a person’s moods and thus cancels out mental stress. Mental health benefits can also be realized from improved relations among persons that occur when people take part in physical activities as a team, for example, football or basketball games. During these games, people interact, bond, share their worries and as a result, negative feelings, stress, and loneliness are eliminated.
It is important for people to engage in physical activities. Some of the benefits include keeping the body in good shape and reducing obesity, which is currently a major problem among young people. Furthermore, it reduces the risk of contracting certain diseases in the future, such as arthritis and heart diseases. In these stressful times, it is also important for young and old people to engage in physical activities to reduce stress and improve their overall psychological health.