Physical Activity And Health

Physical Activity And Health

There is ample proof now that living an active life enhances health, happiness, and quality of life at any age, prolongs independence, and helps fend off chronic illnesses.

Leading an active life in  childhood and adolescence  favors growth and acceptance of the body. In  young people and adults it  improves physical and mental health and in  older people it  promotes healthy aging.

Simple daily activities like walking, climbing stairs, running, playing, dancing, cycling, swimming, and others help us feel better and enhance our health.


What do we need to know?

Physical activity

By physical activity we understand “any bodily movement that results  in energy expenditure  (burning calories)”.

Being physically active means “MOVING”.

In today’s society, physical activity is carried out with different intensity depending on the purpose we have: work, leisure, improvement of physical abilities, development of strength and balance, among others.

  • In addition to daily tasks, physical activity also includes sport and exercise:
  •  Physical exercise is a planned, repetitive, structured, and carried out physical activity that has as its goal the maintenance or improvement of one’s physical condition.
  • Sport:  it is a regulated physical activity and directed to the achievement of results in a competition in general.

In order to take care of our health, in addition to  INCREASING PHYSICAL ACTIVITY, it is very important to REDUCE SEDENTARISM , because it can happen that a physically active person is also sedentary because they spend a long time without moving. 


Sedentary lifestyle 

When we talk about a sedentary lifestyle, we refer to any activity that requires very little movement and therefore  very little energy expenditure . It includes activities such as sitting still watching television, playing video games, using a computer, tablet or mobile phone, and traveling by car, among others. 

Sedentary lifestyle is not the same as physical inactivity!

 Physical inactivity is not the same as leading a sedentary lifestyle!

Aggressive laziness

We define physical inactivity as failing to meet the health-related recommendations for physical activity.

An adult person will be inactive if they do  less than 150 minutes  (2 and a half hours) of  moderate physical activity  a  week .

And in the case of children and adolescents, they will be inactive if they do  less than 60 minutes  (one hour) a  day of  moderate or vigorous  physical activity .  

Physical  inactivity has  consequences on our health . Today it is known that inactivity is currently the  4th most important mortality risk factor in  the world, only behind hypertension, tobacco use and hyperglycemia.

Physical condition

The capacity to exert physical exertion or endure a load is a person’s physical state. It is composed of the body’s composition, muscle strength, joint flexibility, heart and lung endurance, and cardiovascular and respiratory endurance.

From a young age, maintaining excellent physical health is linked with good state of health.

Other aspects of physical condition include agility, coordination, power, and speed, among others, and are more closely tied to athletic performance than to general health.


Having a physical or mental disability, either from birth or at any time in life, is not an impediment to practicing physical activity. The global recommendations on physical activity for health are applicable to the entire population, including people with functional diversity.

The individual hazards or restrictions that certain exercises pose to our health must be taken into account in order to tailor these recommendations to our situation.

To determine the kind and quantity of physical activity that is suitable for each of us, taking into account our preferences, it is advisable to speak with our health centre.

What kind of exercise is necessary?

We must pause and consider how active we are right now, how long we spend sitting still, and how physically fit we are in order to determine the type of exercise we require.

It is essential to regularly incorporate physical activities that are beneficial to our health, and above all, those that are satisfactory to us, into our daily lives.

During our trips, it is advisable to get used to walking, cycling, using the stairs, getting off one stop before our destination on the bus or subway. If we do a sedentary job, it is advisable to get up, stretch and move 1-3 minutes every hour, making  our  breaks active .

The practice of beneficial physical activity for our health includes the performance of the following types of exercises depending on our physical condition and age:

Brisk walking, swimming, bicycling, or running are beneficial because by involving large muscle groups in movement for several minutes or more, they require the heart and lungs to activate to transport oxygen throughout the body.

How intense can physical activity be?

Depending on our physical condition and age, to achieve the recommendations on Physical Activity, it is also important to take into account the effort we have to make, the INTENSITY with which we perform the physical exercise, with different levels:

Intensity levels in physical activity
It is about that activity that allows us to speak or sing effortlessly while doing it, such as walking at a slow pace or planting something in a pot.It is about that activity that increases the sensation of heat and a slight sweating appears. Your heart rate quickens and your breathing becomes more agitated, but you can talk without feeling short of breath. For example: walking briskly at more than 6 km/h or riding a bicycle (16-19 km/h).It is that activity where the sensation of heat and sweating is stronger. The heart rate is higher and it is harder to breathe, making it difficult to talk while practicing. For example, running or cycling rapidly (19-22 km/h).

advantages of physical activity

Young adulthood and childhood


greater Postpartum and pregnancy

Exercise guidelines: practical advice

We must heed the advice to do it in a healthy way, reaping the rewards it offers, whether we have proposed to continue or start a physical activity practise or if we want to be more active in our day-to-day lives and avoid a sedentary lifestyle.

Select the activity that you enjoy doing the most and that your physical health permits you to do. There’s always a reason to relocate!

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