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Benefits and Risks of Physical Activity


“Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscles that result in a substantial increase over resting energy expenditure”. (ACSM)

“Exercise is a type of physical activity consisting of planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness.” (ACSM, 2014).

Benefits of regular physical activity and exercise:

Regular physical activity and exercise has physical, emotional and social benefits. Research shows that there is an inverse relationship between physical activity and cardiovascular disease, hypertension, stroke, osteoporosis, type 2 diabetes, obesity, colon cancer, breast cancer, anxiety, and depression (ACSM, 2014).

Other benefits:

1. Enhance physical function

2. Enhance independent living and feeling of well-being

3. Improves balance, reduce risk of falls and injuries from falls

4. Prevention or mitigation of functional limitations

5. Improve neural connectivity in the brain

6. May be effective therapy for many chronic diseases

7. May improve bone density and increase muscle strength

8. Increases energy

9. Improves sleep

Risk of physical activity:

Before beginning exercise, it is important to verify with your doctor that it is safe for you to exercise. It is also suggested to complete a risk stratification questionnaire such as the PAR- Q. It will provide you with information, if it is safe for you to exercise or if you need medical clearance. Click here for the PAR-Q You.

It is important to follow physical activity guidelines and listen to your body to minimize risk of physical activity. Some risks to exercise includes:

o Increase in muscle pain

o Increase shortness of breath

o Fatigue

* Cardiovascular event (I.e. Myocardial infarction).

* Dizziness

* Nausea

If any abnormal symptoms are experienced or those indicated by a star above, we recommend you seek medical attention.



American College of Sports Medicine. (2014). ACSM's guidelines for exercise testing and prescription (9th ed.) Philadelphia: Lippincott Williams & Wilkins.

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