The Importance of Exercise

Research shows that physical activity can also boost self-esteem, mood, sleep quality and energy, as well as reducing your risk of stress, clinical depression, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Although many things feel beyond our control right now, we do have the ability to be creative and to build physical activity and exercise into each of our days. We may even look back on this difficult time as the turning point when we learned new ways to build our emotional resilience and our physical health. Too much sitting and other sedentary activities can increase your risk of heart disease and stroke. One study showed that adults who watch more than 4 hours of television a day had an 80% higher risk of death from cardiovascular disease.

There is overwhelming evidence that people who lead active lifestyles are less likely to suffer from illness and more likely to live longer. Over time people too develop problems if they sit down all day at a desk or in front of the TV and minimise the amount of exercise they do. Crucially, you can hit your weekly activity target but still be at risk of ill health if you spend the rest of the time sitting or lying down.

For example, one exerts inhibitory control when one stops speaking when the teacher begins lecturing. Working memory refers to the ability to represent information mentally, manipulate stored information, and act on the information (Davidson et al., 2006). In solving a difficult mathematical problem, for example, one must often remember the remainder. Finally, cognitive flexibility refers to the ability to switch perspectives, focus attention, and adapt behavior quickly and flexibly for the purposes of goal-directed action (Blair et al., 2005; Davidson et al., 2006; Diamond, 2006). For example, one must shift attention from the teacher who is teaching a lesson to one’s notes to write down information for later study.

Mahar MT, Murphy SK, Rowe DA, Golden J, Shields AT, Raedeke TD. Effects of a classroom-based program on physical activity and on-task behavior. Datar A, Sturm R. Childhood overweight and elementary school outcomes. Colcombe SJ, Kramer Slot Depo Linkaja AF. Fitness effects on the cognitive function of older adults a meta-analytic study. Budde H, Voelcker-Rehage C, S-Pietrabyk Kendziorra, Ribeiro P, Tidow G. Acute coordinative exercise improves attentional performance in adolescents.

Increased fitness may lift your mood and improve your sleep patterns. Active People, Healthy NationSM is a CDC initiative to help people be more physically active. IJ designed the methods, assisted with the completion of the systematic review, and drafted the manuscript.

Castelli DM, Hillman CH, Buck SM, Erwin HE. Physical fitness and academic achievement in third- and fifth-grade students. Don’t have a 30-minute block of time to dedicate to yoga or a bike ride? Think about physical activity as a lifestyle rather than just a single task to check off your to-do list. Look at your daily routine and consider ways to sneak in activity here, there, and everywhere.

Classrooms had better fluid intelligence (Reed et al., 2010) and higher academic achievement scores (Donnelly et al., 2009). In contrast with the correlational data presented above for physical fitness, more information is needed on the direct effects of participation in physical activity programming and physical education classes on academic performance. Globally, 81% of adolescents aged years were insufficiently physically active in 2016.

Not only should you try to raise your activity levels, but you should also reduce the amount of time you and your family spend sitting down. MedlinePlus links to health information from the National Institutes of Health and other federal government agencies. MedlinePlus also links to health information from non-government Web sites. Ensure regular surveillance and monitoring of physical activity and policy implementation. Have 10-13h of good quality sleep, which may include a nap, with regular sleep and wake-up times. Have 11-14h of good quality sleep, including naps, with regular sleep and wake-up times.