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Exercise involves mainly physical activity and exertion of the body. This normally leads to a healthy body and inevitably healthier lifestyles, level of physical fitness, mental and physical health. In the general population, exercise improves general health both physical and mental health across all levels of the population from children to the elderly population. Different people exercise for different reasons but the overwhelming consensus is that exercise helps improve health in the general population.

There is overwhelming evidence that there are many health and fitness benefits associated with physical activity and endurance exercise training, such as improved physiologic, metabolic, and psychological parameters as well as decreased risk of many chronic diseases and premature mortality. Some of these benefits may come as a surprise to you others are incredibly common knowledge but our greatest obstacle to increasing physical activity is our modern lifestyles.

Girl running
Man playing tennis
Man playing football
Girl riding bike
Girl practicing Tai-Chi

These benefits*
are clearly shown below:

Fitness of body
• Improves heart and lung function
• Improves muscular strength/size

Cardiovascular Disease
• Prevention of coronary heart disease
• Reduction of atherosclerosis
• Helps in the treatment of heart disease
• Prevention of stroke

• Prevention of colon cancer
• Prevention of breast cancer
• Prevention of uterine cancer
• Prevention of Prostate cancer

• Helps increase bone mass
• Prevention of osteoporosis
• Treatment of osteoporosis

Blood cholesterol/lipoproteins
• Lowers triacylglcerols
• Raises HDL cholesterol

Low back pain
• Prevention of low back pain
• Treatment of low back pain

Nutrition and diet quality
• Improvement in diet quality
• Increases total energy intake

Weight management
• Prevention of weight gain
• Treatment of obesity
• Helps maintain weight loss

Children and Youth
• Prevention of Obesity
• Controls disease risk factors
• Reduction of unhealthy habits
• Improves odds of adult activity

Elderly and the aging process
• Improvement of physical fitness
• Counters loss in heart/lung fitness
• Counters loss of muscle
• Counters gain in fat
• Improvement in life expectancy
• Improvement in life quality

Cigarette smoking
• Improves success in quitting

• Prevention of type 2 diabetes
• Treatment of type 2 diabetes
• Improvement in life quality

Infection and immunity
• Prevention of the common cold
• Improves overall immunity
• Improves life quality

• Prevention of high blood pressure
• Treatment of high blood pressure

• Improvement of life quality

• Improvement of sleep quality

Psychological well being
• Elevation in mood
• Buffers effects in mental stress
• Alleviates/prevents depression
• Anxiety reduction
• Improves self esteem

Special issues for women
• Improves total body fitness
• Improves fitness while pregnant
• Improves birthing experience
• Improves health of fetus
• Improves health during menopause


These benefits are supported by research data. It’s never too late to start some regular physical activity each week at all age levels. Modern lifestyles especially the acquisition of motor vehicles and more and more suburbia living lifestyles, will potentially increase the risk of chronic diseases like hypertension, obesity, diabetes and psychiatric illness. Physical activity programs will be very important in helping to stem these illnesses in the future.

Ref: *Newman C C: The human body. ACSM’s Health fitness J.,2:30,1998

Dr. Anthony Annan
Sports and Exercise Medicine Physician Specialist

 Professional Profile: Dr. Anthony E Annan ....................... click here


Dr Anthony E AnnanDr. Annan is a fully qualified sports and exercise medicine physician specialist in the UK and has had years of experience in emergency medicine, musculoskeletal and orthopaedic medicine and treating sports injuries since 1992 and at the elite level since 1999. He is a former footballer (soccer) player during his teenage years and understands the frustrations of injuries in sports and has worked with elite athletes in London marathon, England rugby league, UK Sports Taekwondo, Field and Ice hockey, International FIFA football, European Ice Hockey competitions, Commonwealth games and currently the team physician specialist to the Southend united football club.

He is a fellow of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine of the Royal College of Surgeons of Ireland and the Royal College of Physicians of Ireland, Dublin; member of the Faculty of Sports and Exercise Medicine, UK; member of the American College of Sports Medicine; member of the American Institute of Ultrasound in Medicine; member of the British Medical Ultrasound Society and the British Association of Sports and Exercise Medicine.

He is also a general practitioner and is very keen to promote exercise and medicine in primary care especially the role of sports and exercise medicine in managing and treating chronic physical and mental illnesses in the community and primary care. His main interest in primary care is therefore to promote exercise prescription in primary care.

His other interests include musculoskeletal ultrasound-diagnostics and therapeutic, primary care sports and exercise medicine, exercise testing and football medicine.



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