What are the benefits of exercise for mental and physical health?

By: Dzhingarov

Exercise offers numerous benefits for physical and mental health, both therapeutic and preventative. Any quantity of exercise, even if it is less than the recommended amount, is likely to have beneficial effects.

Exercise is beneficial for both mental and physical wellbeing. Indeed, the National Institute on Aging reports that research indicates that “taking it easy” is dangerous.

Researchers have established a relationship between physical inactivity and more than 40 chronic illnesses.

This article discusses some of the unique benefits of frequent physical and mental exercise.

1. Beneficial to cardiovascular health

Exercise on a regular basis benefits the heart. Among the possible benefits are the following:

  • cholesterol levels are improved
  • blood pressure reduction
  • lowering the chance of having a heart attack or developing heart disease
  • lowering one’s risk of stroke
  • Exercise has a significant advantage of lowering the risk of cardiovascular disease.

A person can begin benefiting from regular exercise immediately with  150 minutes of moderate-intensity activity per week.

The benefits continue to grow as people become more active.

2. Assists in the control of diabetes

According to the American Diabetes Association (ADA), various forms of exercise can assist those who have or are at risk of developing type 2 diabetes in the following ways:

  • enhancing blood glucose control
  • lowering risk factors for cardiovascular disease
  • assisting in weight loss
  • promoting overall health and well-being by delaying or avoiding the onset of type 2 diabetes

Exercise can also assist individuals with type 1 diabetes in the following ways:

  • enhancement of cardiovascular fitness
  • muscle strengthening
  • insulin sensitivity improvement

According to the ADA, “Physical activity and exercise should be advised and prescribed to all individuals with diabetes as part of their overall health management.”

3. Decreases chance of some malignancies

According to the National Cancer Institute, there is “good evidence that increased physical activity is associated with a decreased risk” of the following cancers:

  • gastrointestinal tract
  • oesophagus
  • breast
  • bladder
  • uterine
  • kidney

For instance, a meta-analysis of 26 breast, prostate, and colorectal cancer studies discovered a 37% reduction in cancer-specific mortality when comparing the most active to the least active patients.

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There may also be a correlation between physical activity and a decreased chance of developing other types of cancer, but the evidence is less conclusive.

4. Promotes mental health and well-being

Physical activity can help lower anxiety, and this benefit can begin immediately following a session of moderate or strenuous exercise.

Regular exercise can also help lower the chances of depression in the long run.

5. Contributes to bone health

Regular exercise can help reduce bone density loss associated with aging.

Muscle-strengthening and cardiovascular exercise at a moderate or strong intensity, as well as bone-strengthening programs, can all help improve your health.

True advantages to bone density begin with as little as 90 minutes of activity per week.

Workouts that involve weight-bearing, such as walking and dancing, as well as resistance exercises, are particularly beneficial for bone health.

6. Assists in the development and strengthening of muscles

Weight-bearing exercise helps individuals develop strong muscles, which is especially important as they age.

7. Increases the likelihood of having a longer life

According to a report from the Department of Health and Human Services, “strong scientific evidence indicates that physical activity delays death from all causes.”

Even better, the advantages begin to accrue with only a few minutes of moderate-to-vigorous exercise per week. The greatest leap happens when an individual transitions from “inactive” to “insufficiently active.”

8. Assists in maintaining a healthy weight

There is strong evidence that exercise can help people maintain their weight over the term, however, it may require more than the recommended amount.

By and large, losing weight and then maintaining it requires a healthy, balanced diet.

It is common to overestimate the number of calories burned during exercise.

The following examples of the calories burned by a person weighing 154 pounds during an hour of activity:

  • 370 calories from hiking
  • 330 calories for light gardening
  • 590 calories running or jogging at a pace of 5 miles per hour

9. May be beneficial for chronic pain

Reviews explored whether exercise and physical activity benefit persons with chronic pain.

The study stated that further research would be necessary to provide a conclusive response.

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Although the evidence quality was typically low, the authors highlight that “there is some evidence of enhanced physical function and a variable effect on psychological function and quality of life.”

None of the therapies appeared to have a detrimental effect. The authors of the overview noted a paucity of evidence addressing pain severity improvement.

10. Assists older persons in avoiding falls

Physical activity that incorporates multiple types, such as aerobic exercise, balance training, or muscular strengthening, can assist older persons to reduce their risk of falling and injury from falls.

11. Assists in sleep

Exercise aids in the sleep process.

Regular exercise can aid in the following ways:

  • enhancing the effectiveness of sleep
  • enhancing the quality and duration of sleep
  • minimising daytime somnolence minimising the requirement for sleep drugs

12. Assists in the treatment of osteoporosis

Exercise can help treat or prevent osteoporosis by improving bone health.

Additionally, regular exercise helps avoid falls and fractures caused by muscle weakness and lack of balance, which is especially significant for those with osteoporosis.

13. Enhances cognitive function and decreases the risk of dementia

Exercise on a regular basis can help minimize the risk.

Adult dementia and Alzheimer’s disease information from a reputable source.

Exercise also enhances several areas of cognition in persons over the age of 50, such as processing speed.

Physical activity, cognitive activity (such as acquiring new skills), and a Mediterranean-style diet all boost “brain health” in older persons, according to a study.

The findings indicated that these practices, possibly in combination, may contribute to the prevention of cognitive symptoms of aging and neurodegenerative illness.


Regular exercise can help lower the risk of developing a variety of serious diseases, enhance mental health and mood, and even lengthen one’s life. Everyone benefits from exercise.

Certain benefits can be obtained by increasing physical activity by a relatively little amount for persons who are currently inactive.

Even if an individual falls short of the suggested weekly activity levels, those initial little efforts are critical and valuable.