This blog was written by Jenna Pearson. Meet our blogging fitness specialists at the NIFS website.
Most people would agree that regular exercise is part of a healthy lifestyle, but how much of an impact does physical activity really have on one’s health and well-being?
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) has been advocating exercise as medicine since 2008, and when you look at the statistics, the reasoning behind their now-famous Exercise is MedicineTM initiative becomes clear. Studies have shown that regular exercise does the following:
- Lowers the risk of stroke by 27 percent.
- Reduces the risk of developing type-2 diabetes by 58 percent.
- Reduces the incidence of high blood pressure by approximately 50 percent.
- Can reduce mortality and the risk of recurrent breast cancer by approximately 50 percent.
- Can lower the risk of colon cancer by over 60 percent.
- Can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease by approximately 40 percent.
- Can decrease symptoms of depression as effectively as Prozac or behavioral therapy.
Newer research also suggests that certain exercise provides cognitive benefits. Specifically, exer-gaming may delay—or even prevent—dementia, and has been shown to improve cognitive function in normal aging. Such exer-games include CyberCycle by Expresso and Shadowboxer ACTIVE.
Exer-games are also beneficial to physical aspects of health, as they shift one’s attention from the sometimes monotonous mindset of exercise to the task at hand, allowing them to put forth greater effort. Exer-games may also be more enticing for those who are easily bored by traditional exercise, thus helping them to more easily commit to a regular exercise routine.