Probably everyone thinks that it is good to exercise. But most of us are not familiar
with the science that shows that physical activity provides important health
benefits. The reasons people exercise include controlling weight; improving personal
appearance; improving muscle strength, balance, fitness and athletic ability
for participation in sports; feeling better and more energetic, and just having fun at
the gym, playing sports, or hiking out of doors. Being physically active is also one of the best ways to support
brain health and avoid dementia. As one evolutionary anthropologist put it, after
two million years of evolution, unlike our ape cousins, humans require high levels
of physical activity to be healthy.

And why do we use the term physical activity rather than exercise? Physical activity
is muscle contraction that increases energy expenditure above that at rest— the
body’s basal level. Exercise is defined as a subcategory of physical activity that is
planned, structured, repetitive, and purposive for the improvement or maintenance
of one or more components of physical fitness. Sport is another subcategory of
physical activity.

Science confirms that physical activity is good for health and longevity. In 2007,
the Department of Health and Human Services (DHHS) appointed a scientific committee
called the Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee to assess the
scientific information on physical activity and health. The committee’s report, the
Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Report, 2008 formed the basis of
the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. A decade later, a new 2018
Physical Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee has issued a report, 2018 Physical
Activity Guidelines Advisory Committee Scientific Report. This report formed
the basis for the 2018 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. The information
in this blog is based on these reports and research from additional sources.

This blog presents opinions and ideas and is intended to provide helpful general information. I am not engaged in rendering advice or services to the individual reader. The ideas, procedures and suggestions in that are presented are not in any way a substitute for the advice and care of the reader’s own physician or other medical professional based on the reader’s own individual conditions, symptoms or concerns. If the reader needs personal medical, health, dietary, exercise or other assistance or advice the reader should consult a physician and/or other qualified health professionals. The author specifically disclaims all responsibility for any injury, damage or loss that the reader may incur as a direct or indirect consequence of following any directions or suggestions given in this blog or participating in any programs described in this blog or in the book, The Building Blocks of Health––How to Optimize Your Health with a Lifestyle Checklist (available in print or downloaded at Amazon, Apple, Barnes and Noble and elsewhere). Copyright 2021 by J. Joseph Speidel.