Health Benefits of Regular Exercise

Thirty minutes of moderate physical activity each day yields long and short term health rewards. When you lead an active lifestyle, the benefits extend far beyond weight management. Regular physical activity promotes strong muscles and bones, decreases blood pressure, helps improve brain function, reduces stress and packs a healthy punch in a number of other ways.

Walking for 30 minutes five times a week is eight times more beneficial to your health than losing weight and provides two times the health advantage as smoking cessation. Following the US Health and Human Services recommendation to achieve 150 minutes of moderate physical activity weekly can have a positive effect on the following conditions:

  • Coronary artery disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • High cholesterol
  • Diabetes
  • Sexual functioning
  • Osteoporosis
  • Obesity
  • Depression and anxiety
  • Decreased fall risk in the elderly

Study after study shows that regular movement is vital to long term health and quality of life. In fact, physical inactivity kills more Americans than smoking, diabetes and obesity combined. To determine how hard you are exercising, take the “talk test.”

  • If you can talk or sing during exercise you are exercising at a low intensity
  • If you cannot sing but can talk you are exercising at a moderate intensity
  • If you cannot talk during exercise you are exercising at a vigorous intensity

If you are presently inactive and unable to walk for 30 minutes, remember, a little movement is better than no movement at all. Do what you can. Start slowly and gradually increase your level of physical activity incrementally until you reach 30 minutes per day. If you are inactive, remember, going from a sedentary lifestyle to vigorous physical activity may put undue stress on your heart. If you have chronic health conditions, check with your physician to determine if your heart is healthy enough for physical activity.

My main focus as a sports medicine doctor is to help people improve their athletic performance, recover from injury and prevent future injuries. While people commonly think we only care for sports-related injuries, we too enjoy working with people who require rehabilitation and treatment for conditions similar to those that athletes incur. If you have an injury that affects your movement, a sports medicine specialist is the one who can pinpoint the cause, assess the extent of the damage, if any, and recommend a course of treatment that includes physical therapy and exercise to get you back to your old self.

If you would like to schedule a consult, I am happy to help get you on the path to fitness. Call Idaho Orthopaedic and Sports Clinics at 208-234-1960 to schedule an appointment.

Dr. Matt Andres is board-certified in family medicine and holds additional certification in sports medicine. As a Navy Battalion Surgeon, he served two tours in Afghanistan. Thereafter, he served as a team physician during his fellowship training at the University of Alabama and was privileged to be a part of the Tide’s 2015 national championship season. He recently moved to Pocatello with his lovely wife of 16 years and together they have four active boys.