Physical exercise

Physical exercise is physical activity that is pursued because of its desirable effects or for social reasons. Nevertheless, all physical activity, such as household chores and other everyday activities, is beneficial to health. 

Health effects of physical exercise

Regular physical exercise helps in weight management and prevents cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Physical exercise also lowers blood pressure and increases the level of “good” cholesterol in blood, reduces the risk of depression and prevents stomach, lung and colon cancer, for example. Physical exercise also has a positive impact on the musculoskeletal system and helps to manage stress and improve sleep.

In children, daily physical activity supports the development of the skeletal system, improves the fitness of the respiratory and circulatory system, promotes learning and supports the development of motor skills. Physical activity with other children promotes interaction skills, the spirit of fair play and taking others into account. 

As people age, physical exercise helps to maintain functional capacity and improve muscle condition, which in turn is linked to a better balance and a lower risk of tripping accidents. Physical exercise also prevents memory disorders.

Recommendations for physical exercise

Adults should engage in moderately stressful aerobic exercise, such as walking, running, cycling, swimming or dancing for at least 2 hours 30 minutes per week or vigorous aerobic exercise for at least 1 hour 15 minutes per week. Physical activity that supports muscle fitness and motor control should be practiced at least 2 times a week.

Children under school age should engage in diverse forms of exercise, such as playing tag, swimming, jumping and brisk outdoor activities, such as walking or swinging on a swing.

Elderly people should exercise their muscle fitness, balance and flexibility.