Millions of Canadians simply aren’t moving enough to meet the minimum threshold for good health — that is, burning at least 700 to 1,000 calories a week through physical pursuits. The benefits of exercise may sound too good to be true, but decades of solid science confirm that exercise improves health and can extend your life. Adding as little as half an hour of moderately intense physical activity to your day can help you avoid a host of serious ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and several types of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancers. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better, reduce stress, control your weight, brighten your mood, sharpen your mental functioning, and improve your sex life.
A well-rounded exercise program has four components: aerobic activity, strength training, flexibility training, and balance exercises. Each benefits your body in a different way.
Exercise at a glance
In a nutshell, exercise can:
- reduce your chances of getting heart disease. For those who already have heart disease, exercise reduces the chances of dying from it.
- lower your risk of developing hypertension and diabetes.
- reduce your risk for colon cancer and some other forms of cancer.
- improve your mood and mental functioning.
- keep your bones strong and joints healthy.
- help you maintain a healthy weight.
- help you maintain your independence well into your later years.