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What are the Benefits of Staying Active?

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  • Written By: Jan Hill
  • Edited By: Lauren Fritsky
  • Last Modified Date: 07 December 2016
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Staying active may benefit people of all ages, including children, adults, and senior citizens. Some benefits of an active lifestyle include physical fitness, mental alertness, and a positive attitude. Exercise is also sometimes credited with increasing the body's ability to fight disease. In the United States, it is estimated that only 30 percent of adults exercise on a regular basis, and nearly 40 percent may not exercise at all. Staying active can be incorporated into a person's daily life through activities such as walking.

Staying physically active may result in a greater level of endurance and flexibility. Physical activity sometimes allows people to maintain a healthy weight and help them to look and feel better about themselves. Some believe that childhood obesity levels may be lowered through increased physical exercise. Activity will also typically help keep the muscles toned and can improve posture. Senior citizens who stay active might improve their balance, which could reduce their risk of falling and sustaining injury.

Being physically active often leads to more energy, lower levels of stress, and a general sense of well-being. It may also reduce depression and feelings of anxiety. Physical activity can stimulate various brain chemicals that may leave a person feeling happier and more relaxed than before they exercised. Those who stay active sometimes enjoy a longer and healthier life.

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Aerobic exercise, which increases the heart rate, can be effective in disease prevention. Staying active may help to prevent or slow down the spread of Alzheimer's disease. An active lifestyle might help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and osteoporosis as well. High blood pressure and high cholesterol are sometimes less common among those who stay active. Research suggests that the occurrence of colon and breast cancer may be reduced by staying active.

Staying active doesn't just involve exercising the body. Engaging in activities that stimulate the brain can also benefit a person's overall health. Solving crossword puzzles and word finder games can help keep the mind sharp. Challenging the brain with regular reading may also increase cognitive function and comprehension. Having an active social life and interacting with others at all ages can help keep the brain sharp and improve mood.

Despite the benefits of staying active, many people lead a sedentary lifestyle. Anything that requires movement and causes even a slight rise in the heart rate can be beneficial. For most people, a half-hour walk at a brisk pace five times per week can help them reap the health benefits associated with staying active. Walking may be done nearly anywhere, does not require specialized equipment, and is usually safe for most people. It can be incorporated into a daily routine while shopping, doing housework, and even taking out the garbage.

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