Updated: Feb 17
By James A Peterson, Ph.D., FACSM, Cedric X. Bryant, Ph.D., FACSM, and Jerry Napp, M.S.
American College of Sports Medicine
Helps you lose weight- especially fat weight.
Increases your level of muscle strength.
Increases your maximal oxygen uptake. (VO2max - perhaps the best measure of your physical working capacity.)
Enhances sexual desire, performance and satisfaction.
Reduces the risk of heart disease.
Improves your body’s ability to use fat for energy during physical activity.
Can help relieve the pain of tension headache.
Improves the likelihood of survival from a myocardial infarction (Heart attack).
Improves the functioning of your immune system.
Helps to preserve lean body tissue.
Reduces your risk of developing hypertension (high blood pressure).
Increases the density and breaking strength of ligaments and tendons.
Improves coronary (heart) circulation.
Increases circulating levels of HDL (good) cholesterol.
Reduces circulating levels of triglycerides.
Helps to maintain weight loss – unlike dieting, alone.
Can help improve short-term memory in older individuals.
Reduces your risk of developing type II (non-insulin-dependent) diabetes.
Helps relieve many of the common discomforts of pregnancy (backache, heartburn, constipation, etc.)
Reduces your level of anxiety.
Helps control blood pressure in hypertensives.
Increases your level of muscle endurance.
Reduces vulnerability to various cardiac dysrhythmias (abnormal heart rhythms).
Increases the density and breaking strength of bones.
Assists in efforts to stop smoking.
Helps to boost creativity.
Lowers your resting heart rate.
Slows the rate of joint degeneration in people with osteoarthritis. Helps you overcome jet lag.
Helps the body resist upper respiratory tract infections.
Increases your anaerobic threshold, allowing you to work or exercise longer, at a higher level, before a significant amount of lactic acid build up.
Reduces medical and healthcare expenses.
Improves ability to recover from physical exertion.
Increases ability to supply blood to the skin for cooling.
Increases the diffusion capacity of your lungs, enhancing the exchange of oxygen from your lungs to your blood.
Helps speed recovery from chemotherapy treatments.
Provides protection against injury.
Reduces the viscosity of your blood.
Increases the thickness of the cartilage in your joints.
Helps you to more effectively manage stress.
Helps you sleep easier and better.
Helps you to maintain your resting metabolic rate.
Reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
Increases your tissues’ responsiveness to the actions of insulin (i.e., improves tissue sensitivity for insulin) helping to better control blood sugar, particularly if you are a type II diabetic.
Reduces the risk of developing prostrate cancer.
Expands blood plasma volume.
Helps to relieve constipation.
Reduces your risk of having a stroke.
Helps to alleviate depression.
Helps you maintain proper muscle balance.
Increases your ability to adapt to cold environments.
Helps to combat substance abuse.
Helps to alleviate certain menstrual symptoms.
Lowers your heart rate response to submaximal physical exertion.
Helps to alleviate low-back pain.
Helps to reduce the amount of insulin required to control blood sugar levels in type I (insulin-dependent) diabetics.
Improves mental alertness.
Improves respiratory muscle strength and muscle endurance – particularly important for asthmatics.
Reduces the rate and severity of medical complications associated with hypertension.
Helps you to burn excess calories.
Increases your cardiac reserve.
Improves your physical appearance.
Reduces the risk of developing breast cancer.
Increases your stroke volume (the amount of blood the heart pumps with each beat).
Improves your self-esteem.
Reduces you susceptibility for coronary thrombosis (a clot in an artery that supplies the heart with blood).
Helps you to relax.
Offsets some of the negative side effects of certain antihypertensive drugs.
Improves mental cognition- a short-term effect only.
Maintains or improves joint flexibility.
Allows you to consume greater quantities of food and still maintain caloric balance.
Help prevent and relieve the stresses that cause carpal tunnel syndrome.
Protects against “creeping obesity” (the slow, but steady weight gain that occurs as you age).
Makes your heart a more efficient pump.
Increases your productivity at work.
Reduces your likelihood of developing low-back problems.
Improves your balance and coordination.
Improves your glucose tolerance.
Gives you more energy and vigor to meet the demands of daily life, and provides you with a reserve to meet the demands of unexpected emergencies.
Decreases (by 20 - 30%) the need for antihypertensive medication if you are hypertensive.
Helps to retard bone loss as you age, thereby reducing your risk of developing osteoporosis.
Helps reduce and prevent the immediate symptoms of menopause (e.g., hot flashes, sleep disturbances, irritability).
Helps to decrease the long-term risks of cardiovascular disease, osteoporosis and obesity.
Helps to relieve and prevent migraine headache attacks.
Reduces the risk of endometriosis (a common cause of infertility).
Reduces the level of abdominal obesity—a significant health- risk factor.
Helps decrease your appetite - a short-term effect only.
Improves pain tolerance and mood if you suffer from osteoarthritis.
Reduces work days missed due to illness.
Enhances your muscles’ abilities to extract oxygen from your blood.
Helps you to maintain an independent lifestyle.
Improves your general mood state.
Helps to increase your overall health awareness.
Reduces the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding.
Improves your overall quality of life.
Improves your decision-making abilities.
Improves athletic performance.
Improves your heat tolerance.
Helps to decrease left ventricular hypertrophy (a thickening of the walls of the left ventricle) in hypertensives.
By any objective measure, the many benefits from exercising regularly are impressive.
Any skepticism about the potential effects of exercise on both the quantity and quality of a person’s life is misguided.
Substantial research supports a very straightforward conclusion: EXERCISE IS THE REAL DEAL!
The Surgeon General has determined that lack of physical activity is detrimental to your health.