Physical Activity with Positive Health Effects or Health-Enhancing Physical Activity (HEPA) is defined as any form of physical activity that improves general health and has minimal negative side effects.
Improvement of the cardiovascular system:
The heart contracts more efficiently and the blood circulates more easily, which improves the blood supply to the coronary arteries. Regular exercise can reduce heart rate even at rest. It also improves the elasticity of the blood vessels, which helps to maintain a low blood pressure.
Strengthening the musculoskeletal system:
Increased bone and muscle mass, muscle strength, and flexibility provide prevention of osteoporosis and sarcopenia, while supporting the spine and muscles in general. Being active also helps prevent falls and fractures in the elderly.
The pulmonary alveoli expand more easily to help collect oxygen and thus ensure adequate respiratory volume, while limiting the reduction thereof due to aging.
Improved metabolism and body composition:
Physical activity helps reduce body fat and increase lean body mass. Energy expenditure is increasing, which allows a better weight management.
In addition to the benefits on your physical health, physical activity have positive effects on your medical and mental health.
In industrialized countries, the adverse effects of sedentary lifestyle on public health can be compared to those induced by smoking.
Lack of physical activity is the main influencing risk factor for coronary heart disease, the leading cause of death in these countries.
Regular physical activity has a significant protective effect against a range of common diseases and ailments such as overweight, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, as well as colon and breast cancer.
Research also shows that regular physical activity can have a positive effect on intellectual performance. Physically active people suffer less often from degenerative brain diseases such as Alzheimer's.
They go to the doctor or hospital less often, and on average, the length of their stay is shorter. They are also less often absent at work. Physical activity and sport - regular practice within the gym or a simple walk in the forest with friends - are conducive to contacts. And many studies show that people who maintain many friendly relationships are less often sick than others.
This social aspect of physical activity is particularly important for older people, especially those who are retiring, and therefore losing human contacts that their work used to provide them.
Furthermore, regular physical activity has a fulfilling and antidepressant effect, boosting self-esteem and stress resistance, it is also a good way to cope better with emotions. A very simple example is anger. Studies have proven that people who have regular physical activity often deal better with anger and stress.
To conclude, people who are physically active do not only have a better health of life from a physical point of view, but they also live longer and especially better.
Even while getting older, they retain more mobility and autonomy, have less need for care and are also in better intellectual shape than sedentary people.