Why Is Physical Activity Important?

There is no debate about the value of physical exertion--regular physical activity has significant health benefits, and even modest increases in energy expenditure can have health-enhancing effects, including:

Reduction in chronic disease risk--hypertension, type 2 diabetes, high blood lipids, cardiovascular disease, and obesity. Even among children and adolescents, physical activity can prevent or delay the development of hypertension and can reduce blood pressure in those young people who already have hypertension (Physical Activity, 1996);

  • Lowered risk of colon cancer;
  • Increase in bone density;
  • Reduction of anxiety, improvement in body image and mood;
  • Development of physical fitness;
  • Promotion of weight control through caloric expenditure. This benefit is of particular importance to children, who are experiencing the same epidemic of overweight as adults.