Why do we need to be active?


We all know that exercise is beneficial for us.  It is still hard to get motivated sometimes.  Here are just a few reasons to get out, get started, or keep up an active lifestyle. 


Why should we be active? Researchers show that regular physical activity or exercise can improve health in a number of ways.  Exercise assists in controlling weight; maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints; reducing the risk of high blood pressure and diabetes; promoting psychological well-being; reducing the risk of death from heart disease; and reducing the risk from premature death.  Those are pretty good benefits, but that’s not all. Physical activity also reduces our risk of developing certain types of cancers. 


Breast Cancer:  Physically active women are less likely to get breast cancer.  A review of research printed previously in the British Journal of Sports Medicine, and reprinted in Science Daily, shows that physically active women are 25% less likely to get breast cancer.  Cancer.gov shows the decreased risk rate can be as high as 80% in some cases. 


Additionally, an analysis of 62 studies by researchers found that women who had been physically active throughout their life had the lowest risk of breast cancer; and that activity after menopause has an even greater effect than exercise performed earlier in life.


Studies also show that the risk of breast cancer decreases as the frequency and duration of physical activity increases.  In other words, the more frequently that we exercise, and the longer we exercise per session, the more benefits we’ll receive. 


Colon Cancer: Physically active people are less likely to develop colon cancer (also known as colorectal cancer).  Many studies have confirmed that “the most active people are 24% less likely to develop colon cancer than sedentary people are, regardless of their diets, smoking habits or body weight.”


Other studies have found that adults who increase their physical activity, either in intensity, duration, or frequency, can reduce their risk of developing colon cancer by 30-40% regardless of body mass index (BMI).  The greatest risk reduction is seen among those who are most active. 


Regular exercise can reduce the risk of other cancers as well. 


In summary, exercise is really good for us.  And, for exercise to reduce our risk of cancer, exercise needs to be “moderate to vigorous”, and frequent.  We need to sweat.  Researchers may not know specifically why moderate exercise reduces the risks of cancer, but in the end, if it can reduce our risk, it’s worth the effort.





NY Times Blog


One thought on “Why do we need to be active?

  1. Pingback: Mental benefits of exercise | all things hot pink!

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