The Role of Physical Activity in Self-Care

Dr. Ankit Sharma, PhD

The Role of Physical Activity

One of the most crucial things you can do for your health is to realize the role of physical activity and exercise regularly. Engaging in physical activity may enhance mental well-being, assist in weight management, lower the risk of illness, fortify bones and muscles, and facilitate daily tasks.

Adults who engage in moderate-to-intense physical exercise and reduce their sitting time benefit in several ways. There are very few lifestyle decisions that have the same profound effect on your health as physical exercise. Physical exercise has health advantages that are not dependent on age, ability, ethnicity, form, or size.

How Physical Activity Helps You

1. Weight Management

The role of physical activity can be seen in weight management. Exercise regimens and eating habits are important factors in managing weight. When you burn more calories, including those expended during physical activity, than you take in via food and drink, you gain weight.

Work your way up to 150 minutes a week of moderate physical exercise, such as dance or garden work, to maintain your weight. If you put in 30 minutes a day, five days a week, you may reach your weekly target of 150 minutes.

The amount of physical exercise required for weight control varies widely among people. To achieve or maintain a healthy weight, you may need to engage in more physical activity than others. If you want to lose weight and keep it off, you’ll need to engage in a lot of physical activity in addition to changing your eating habits and cutting down on calories. It takes both a good diet and frequent exercise to reach and maintain a healthy weight.

2. Protects Your Health

Physical activities guard your health in many ways. Some of them are:

Cardiovascular Disease: In the US, heart disease and stroke are among the top causes of mortality. You may minimize your chance of developing these illnesses by engaging in moderate physical exercise for at least 150 minutes each week. Increased physical exercise will further lower your risk. Engaging in regular physical exercise may also help decrease blood pressure and raise cholesterol.

Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome: Engaging in regular physical exercise may lower your risk of metabolic syndrome and type 2 diabetes. Several factors may combine to cause metabolic syndrome, including high blood pressure, low HDL cholesterol, high triglycerides, high blood sugar, and excess waist fat.

Even if they don’t get the recommended 150 minutes per week of moderate physical exercise, people nevertheless begin to experience some advantages from physical activity. Increased physical exercise seems to further reduce risk.

Infectious Diseases: Engaging in physical exercise might potentially lower the chance of catastrophic consequences from infectious illnesses, such as COVID-19, the flu, and pneumonia. As an illustration:

  • Individuals with little to no physical exercise had a higher risk of developing severe COVID-19 illness compared to those with high levels of physical activity.
  • An increased level of activity may reduce the risk of flu and pneumonia-related deaths.

Various Cancers: Engaging in physical activity reduces the likelihood of acquiring certain prevalent malignancies. Adults who engage in more physical exercise are at a lower risk of acquiring malignancies related to:

  • Bladder.
  • Breast.
  • Colon (proximal and distal).
  • Endometrium.
  • Esophagus (adenocarcinoma).
  • Kidney.
  • Lung.
  • Stomach (cardia and non-cardia adenocarcinoma).

3. Boost Your Muscles and Bones

One of the benefits of physical activity is that it strengthens your bones and muscles. Your muscles, joints, and bones sustain your body and enable movement, so it’s important to take care of them as you get older. Being able to do everyday tasks and engage in physical activity may be ensured by maintaining the health of your bones, joints, and muscles.

Exercises that build muscle, such as lifting weights, may help you gain or maintain muscular mass and strength. This has significance for elderly individuals, as age-related reductions in muscle mass and strength occur. Regardless of your age, you will get even more advantages from muscle-building exercises if you gradually increase your weight and repetition count.

4. Improved Mood

In need of some emotional support? or need stress relief after a demanding day? A vigorous stroll or going to the gym may assist. Numerous brain chemicals are stimulated when you exercise, which may make you feel happier, more at ease, and less nervous.

Regular exercise may also make you feel better about your looks and yourself, which can increase your confidence and self-esteem.

5. You Can Live Longer

The role of physical activity cannot be denied if you want to live longer. If American adults 40 and older improve their moderate-to-vigorous physical exercise by a small amount, an estimated 110,000 deaths per year may be avoided. An additional ten minutes each day would have an impact.

Increasing daily walking also reduces the chance of dying young from all causes. The risk of dying young peaked for people under 60 years old at 8,000–10,000 steps per day. The danger of dying young peaked for persons 60 years of age and above at 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.

6. You Will Feel Happier

It has been shown that exercise can elevate your mood and lessen tension, anxiety, and depressive symptoms. A review’s authors discovered that 10 to 30 minutes of exercise is sufficient to elevate your mood.

Engaging in physical activity might enhance brain sensitivity to norepinephrine and serotonin. Depressive symptoms are alleviated by these hormones. Additionally, it could boost endorphin production, which lessens pain perception and promotes happy emotions.

Your mood may also be impacted by stopping your workout. Even after a few weeks, physically active adults who quit exercising regularly had a substantial rise in their symptoms of anxiety and despair.

7. Increased Energy Level

This is one of the remarkable benefits of physical activity. Engaging in physical activity may increase your energy levels and decrease exhaustion. If you have any health concerns, including cancer, this might be helpful as a treatment method.

Your cardiovascular system and lung health will both benefit from aerobic activity, which may aid with energy levels. As you move, your heart pumps more blood, which gives your working muscles more oxygen. Your heart grows more adept at pumping oxygen into your blood when you exercise regularly.

Exercise causes your lungs to work less hard over time. According to the American Lung Association, this is one of the reasons why you can notice that you are becoming less and less out of breath when exercising.

8. Better Sleep

Moving more throughout the day might be the solution if you’re having trouble falling asleep at night. A recent analysis of many trials with almost 3,000 individuals showed that even one exercise day per week might enhance the duration and quality of sleep.

The results also indicated that if you include regular exercise in your daily routine, you may benefit from improved sleep. The role of physical activity in self-care is better sleep.

Wrapping Up

Apart from the obvious advantages of physical health, physical exercise has a favorable impact on mental health as well. It has been shown that those who are physically inactive have greater rates of morbidity and healthcare costs. Exercise therapy is often advised to address these issues and maintain mental health. Empirical studies have shown a beneficial correlation between the role of physical activity and certain characteristics related to mental health.

Exercise has been shown to have the greatest benefits on body image and self-concept in nonclinical studies. This review article aims to provide an overview of the current knowledge about the physiological and psychological pathways via which exercise enhances mental health.

Frequent exercise enhances the hypothalamus-pituitary-adrenal axis’s performance. Exercise seems to have an impact on depression and anxiety, however not as much in the general population as it does in clinical patients.

There are a lot of theories that try to explain how mental and physical health are related. Exercise has been shown to enhance sleep quality and ameliorate several mental illnesses. A higher quality of life and a happier mood are often linked to exercise. Yoga and physical activity may help control drug cravings, particularly for those without access to other types of rehabilitation.

Research indicates that treating the medical co-morbidities that accompany psychotic diseases and reducing certain psychotic symptoms may be accomplished through greater physical exercise. The paucity of literature in the Indian context also suggested that more study was required to assess and put into practice physical activity treatments that were specifically designed for the Indian environment.


Q: Can I have a physique like Arnold Schwarzenegger if I exercise daily?

A: Our favorite governorate started as a professional bodybuilder. If you want a physique like him, you will need special training and a diet.

Q: I swim after coming back from the workplace. Does it count as exercise?

A: Swimming is an excellent form of exercise; it also helps to relax your body and mind.

Q: How long should I engage in physical activities daily?

A: Dedicating 20–30 minutes daily to physical activity will improve your overall well-being.

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