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Benefits of Physical Activity: Get the Most Out of Your Daily Actions!

Holly Smith

By: Holly Smith, D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer,

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

benefits of physical activity

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health, and the benefits of physical activity are numerous.

It’s hard to go a day without being flooded with information about fitness and exercise.

From social media to commercials, and even the checkout line at the stores, you see images of six-pack abs and chiseled arms.

And all of these ads seem to be backed by the claims that you can achieve the perfect body with miracle fixes.

But the truth is, the benefits of physical activity go far beyond just “looking great.”

Sure that's a big plus, but physical fitness improves your overall health in so many more ways.

But to reap these benefits you need to be committed to lifestyle changes, and not quick-fix diets and one-week workout plans.

Let's dig into the benefits of physical activity and how you can make the most out of every day!

Which is better, formal workouts or daily movement? Find out the answer here!

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The Health Benefits of Physical Activity

In order to be motivated to stick to a health routine, it helps to understand what the benefits are.

This gives you the “why” to push yourself every day.

When it comes to physical activity, there are numerous reasons why you should engage in some form of movement or exercise every day.

Benefits of physical activity include:

Increased Energy

It may seem counterintuitive to get up early to exercise, or to hit the gym after a busy workday when you are already tired.

But regular physical activity actually boosts energy levels!

While it can be hard to get started at the beginning of a workout, most guys start feeling more invigorated as endorphins are released by exercise.

By the end of a workout, the majority of men end up feeling even more energized than when they started.

Plus, the more you work out, the more long-lasting these boosts in energy will be.

In one research meta-analysis, chronic aerobic exercise and strength training programs, as well as those that combined elements of flexibility, strength, and aerobic exercise, were all associated with increased feelings of energy and lessened feelings of fatigue.

Lower Cholesterol

Regular physical activity improves a number of health markers.

High cholesterol is closely tied to inactivity and obesity.

Research has shown that even moderate weight loss can decrease your risk for chronic diseases, such as high cholesterol.

Lowering cholesterol levels improves cardiovascular health and decreases your risk for serious complications such as heart attack and stroke.

Not only this but by improving your cholesterol levels with exercise, you can decrease your dependence on cholesterol-lowering medications.

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Improved Blood Pressure and Heart Health

Obesity is also strongly correlated with high blood pressure.

Weight gain, commonly linked to inactivity, is a major cause of hypertension.

Being overweight or obese accounts for up to 65% to 75% of the risk for high blood pressure.

Being physically inactive is closely tied to high blood pressure independent of weight.

Not only have studies found that physical activity helps decrease blood pressure, but a recent 2017 meta-analysis from the journal “Hypertension” found that the more you exercise, the more benefits you will have.

Overall, this study found that the health benefits of exercise can be achieved not only at relatively low levels of exercise but that there are actually additional decreases in the risk for hypertension as you go above the minimum recommendations of 150 minutes a week.

Better Control of Blood Sugar

Just like being overweight increases the risk of high cholesterol and hypertension, it also is strongly correlated with an increased risk of Type 2 diabetes.

Regular physical activity allows your body to better metabolize and utilize blood glucose, which keeps your blood sugars regulated.

This is important for people that already have diabetes, and for those at risk of developing this chronic disease.

Exercise and lifestyle interventions are key, along with a healthy diet, in improving health outcomes in individuals with high blood sugar and diabetes.

Improved Bone Health

You may think that physical activity is just about building up your muscle strength and endurance, but it also plays a big role in improving your bone health.

Resistance training can increase bone mineral density, which lowers your risk of osteoporosis and also decrease chronic issues like low back pain.

The type of strength training doesn’t have to be intense, but by using weight-bearing exercises you will strengthen your bones and decrease your risk for fractures, especially as you age.

Improved Sleep

Exercise also allows you to get more high-quality sleep.

Sleep affects our bodies and our minds in so many ways.

It plays a role in our physical, mental, and emotional well-being.

Plus, when you wake up from a good night's rest, you are more energized and ready to take on the day.

Exercise has been found to increase sleep quality in older adults, and even in individuals that suffer from insomnia.

For example, a 2015 study from the “Journal of Sleep Research” found that people with insomnia who spent at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity over the course of a week had improved sleep quality along with a decrease in symptoms of depression and anxiety.

Increased Lean Muscle

Sarcopenia, or the loss of muscle mass, is associated with the decline in testosterone as men age.

However, regular exercise can help counteract this by boosting testosterone levels.

In fact, total testosterone and free testosterone are elevated directly following heavy resistance exercise in men.

Even in older and middle-aged men, resistance exercise can cause a significant increase in total and free testosterone.

This in turn will help improve lean body composition.

Increased lean muscle mass produced by physical activity is important for a number of reasons.

For one, having a higher lean muscle mass will burn more calories on a daily basis, which will help you maintain healthy body weight.

This will subsequently decrease your risk for chronic diseases like heart disease and diabetes.

Plus, having an improved body composition with less fat and more muscle will help you achieve a strong and toned physique.

Something that all busy dads are happy to achieve with regular exercise.

Boosts Mental Health

An abundance of medical literature demonstrates that regular exercise is associated with a decreased incidence of depression.

There are a number of reasons for this, such as improved sleep, enhanced overall health, and a better body image.

In addition, research shows that neurotransmitters released by exercise may improve brain function and possibly play a role in the reduction of depressive symptoms.

This is just one more reason to stay active on a daily basis!

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Do You Have to “Work Out” To Be Physically Active?

As a busy dad, you may not have the time for formal exercise every day, and that's OK!

You can also incorporate physical activity into your daily routine.

Anything that raises your heart rate and gets your muscles moving can be considered physical activity and will help contribute to these numerous fitness benefits.

Daily activity tends to be less intense than scheduled workouts, but that doesn’t mean that there aren’t significant health benefits.

And there are some really simple ways to incorporate more physical activity into your day:

  • Park your car further away: Instead of wasting time circling the parking lot for the perfect space, park farther away and spend that time walking.
  • Take the stairs: Climbing stairs not only gets your heart rate up, but also engages important lower body muscles.
  • Walk at lunch: Instead of eating lunch at your desk or sitting and visiting with friends, walk and talk. Encourage your friends and co-workers to take a short walk around the block or office.
  • Do your own housework or yardwork: You can also turn on some upbeat music when doing house or yard work. Not only will it increase your heart rate, but it may help you get your chores done faster.

Increasing physical activity during your daily routine has significant benefits as well.

Increased activity can help increase cardiorespiratory and muscular fitness, improve bone health, and reduce the risk of depression.

This video compares formal workouts vs daily movement. Find out which one is more important!

Enjoy an Enhanced Quality of Life

As you can see, the benefits of regular physical activity go far beyond having a ripped, toned physique.

This is a goal that many guys out there are looking to achieve, but exercise is about far more than aesthetics.

As a hard-working dad, staying in great health is also about living a high quality of life and setting an example for your family and children.

Staying active on a daily basis improves a number of health markers that will not only make you feel amazing, but will stave off chronic diseases like high cholesterol, heart disease, diabetes, hypertension, and even depression.

The benefits of exercise are numerous and go above just what you can see in the mirror.

By engaging in some form of physical activity on a regular basis you will look and feel great on the inside and outside.

Holly Smith

Holly Smith D.O. - Osteopathic Medicine, B.S. - Dietetics, NASM-PES Certified Trainer

Writer, The Fit Father Project & Fit Mother Project

Holly is board-certified in nephrology and internal medicine, has a bachelor’s degree in dietetics, and is a certified personal trainer with NASM-PES certification.

Holly is a keen runner, triathlete, and fitness and nutrition enthusiast. She has completed four full ironmans, twelve marathons, countless half ironmans, Olympic distance triathlons, half marathons, and numerous other road races.

Holly joined the Fit Father Project in May 2019 as a regular writer, contributing articles on health, wellness, exercise, and nutrition.

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*Please know that weight loss results & health changes/improvements vary from individual to individual; you may not achieve similar results. Always consult with your doctor before making health decisions. This is not medical advice – simply very well-researched info on the benefits of physical activity.

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Our Fit Father Project Team’s deepest commitment is to helping you live healthier for both yourself and your family. And when it comes to online content, integrity and trust is everything. That’s why our Fit Father Project staff-writers are all trained professionals in the field of health and wellness (registered dieticians, licensed personal trainers, and licensed physicians) – see the full team here. We rigorously run all of our articles through a rigorous editorial process to ensure the accuracy, simplicity, and utility of the information. And we aren’t just a team of “academics” sitting in an ivory tower. We are real people – with jobs, responsibilities, and families – working hard in the trenches and testing our tips & methods out to make sure you can stay healthy for family.

Here is what you can expect from us on our Fit Father Blog and YouTube channel:

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Thanks for checking out the blog. We can’t wait to support you toward greater health, energy, and vitality. – The Fit Father Project Team

 

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