May is “Exercise is Medicine” month, and here are 20 good reasons why exercise is efficacious for treating and preventing disease. According to the American College of Sports Medicine’s “Exercise is Medicine” initiative:
1. Physical inactivity costs the US more than $100 billion dollars in healthcare costs annually.
2. Only 34% of US patients report having received exercise counseling at their last annual checkup.
3. A low level of physical activity increases risk of death to a greater extent than smoking, obesity, hypertension or hypercholesterolemia.
4. Active individuals in their 80s have a lower risk of death than inactive individuals in their 60s.
5. Regular physical activity may reduce the risk of death in older adults by up to 40%.
6. Regular exercise reduces the risk of Alzheimers disease by 40%.
7. Regular exercise reduces the risk of heart disease by 40%.
8. Regular exercise reduces the risk of breast and colon cancers by 50-60%.
9. Regular exercise can reduce depression as effectively as Prozac and behavioral therapy.
10. Regular physical activity leads to higher SAT scores in adolescents.
11. In elementary schools, regular physical activity reduces suspensions by 67%.
12. Regular exercise reduces Type II diabetes risk by 58%.
Need more? It’s good for the kids:
13. Exposure to outdoor environments and nature reduces stress in children, especially highly stressed children living in poverty.
14. A 20 minute walk in the park improves attention performance in children with ADHD.
15. Each additional hour spent outdoors is associated with 20-30 minutes of increased moderate/vigorous physical activity in children, and time spent outdoors being physically active reduces the prevalence of obesity in children by 27-41%.
Still not convinced? Consider mind and mood:
16. Being physically active increases creativity. A recent study showed walking improved creativity in 81% of study participants, with the most novel and creative ideas generated by walking outside.
17. Exercise training improves quality of life and reduces fatigue in cancer patients during and after chemotherapy.
18. Greater amounts of physical activity and limited sedentary behavior predict greater self-reported daily satisfaction with life.
19. Physical activity is positively associated with self-esteem and inversely associated with anxiety and obsessive-compulsive disorder in college women.
20. Regular exercise is associated with happiness. Longitudinal data from the National Population Health Survey indicate that inactive adults are less happy at any point in time, and also more likely to become unhappy over time than active adults.
And finally…exercise of any size matters!
This infographic (see below) depicts the average calories burned in 30 minutes by activity type. Surely there’s something (SOMETHING!) you can find on that list that you like to do…