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The importance of physical fitness cannot be overstated. People who exercise regularly, and who may be considered physically fit, tend to have better a quality of life and improved mental health, as well as a longer life span. Recommendations for physical fitness vary, but doctors often recommend a combination of aerobic, strength, and flexibility exercises, five days per week for at least 30 minutes each time. This is because physical fitness needs to become a habit; working out once or twice a month simply isn't going to cut it for overall health and well being.
Cardiovascular health is a good example of the importance of physical fitness. Aerobic exercise gets the heart pumping, which helps to reduce the resting heart rate and improve endurance of the heart and lungs. It can also reduce high blood pressure and cholesterol, and may help to prevent heart disease. Aerobic exercise also releases endorphins in the brain, which help to boost the mood, relieve stress, and even alleviate mild to moderate depression. Jogging, bicycling, or brisk walking are all great sources of aerobic exercise, among others.
Maintaining a healthy weight is another aspect of physical fitness. All types of exercises, but aerobic in particular, can help to encourage weight loss or help to keep the body at a healthy weight. This is another example of how the importance of physical fitness can be seen in overall health. People at a healthy weight are at less of a risk for heart disease, diabetes, or even certain cancers. Of course, it will be necessary to combine exercise with a healthy diet to truly see as many benefits as possible.
Reduced rates of injury and increased flexibility are two other examples of the importance of physical fitness. People who are strong and in shape are less likely to be injured, either from picking up heavy items or from lack of coordination. This is true throughout life; staying up and moving helps to improve balance and coordination, improve posture, and may even help prevent osteoporosis later in life. Strengthening the core muscles and increasing flexibility through exercises such as yoga and Pilates can also help to prevent injuries from muscle pulls, and may also help to relieve stress through deep breathing techniques. The importance of physical fitness is seen throughout one's life, and it is important to try to make some time for exercise every day.