68 Reasons to Exercise

  •   December 1, 2017

At Physiotherapy Alberta, we love a good list and as the “Movement Specialists” we know the importance of physical activity. Maybe your motivation is lacking at the moment, or maybe you just need one more reason to get out and be active. Either way, we’ve spent the past year looking at research publications and popular blogs to offer you this list of reasons to get moving!

General health

  1. 15 Minutes of exercise per day can increase life expectancy by as much as three years.
  2. “A new study form the University of Sydney in Australia suggests that exercises that promote muscular strength may be just as important for maintaining health as aerobic exercise. In fact, they may help lower the risk of all-cause and cancer-related death.”
  3. “Brisk walking and physical activity is associated with lower risk of death among women
  4. Any activity, regardless of intensity, beats being sedentary. And participating in sufficient amounts of moderate activity creates long-term health benefits for participants.
  5. “Interactive Body Map: Physical Inactivity and the Risks to your Health

For children

  1. Children who participate in a variety of sports or physical activities as a child are more likely to participate in recreational sports as a teenager.
  2. Physical Activity develops motor skills and coordination in kids.
  3. Physical activity makes kids smarter and better able to manage stress.
  4. Physical activity improves children’s learning.
  5. Physical activity in the form of active transportation helps kids maintain a healthy weight and heart, increases classroom concentration, and strengthens their sense of community. It also decreases traffic congestion and collisions.
  6. Physical activity can double as family fun time together.

Prevention of Chronic Disease

  1. Exercise lowers the risks associated with heart disease
  2. Exercise lowers the risk of diabetes.
  3. Exercise lowers the risk of cancer
  4. This study suggests that biking to work can help prevent cardiovascular risk factors in middle-aged men and women.
  5. “Exercise may protect you from glaucoma.”
  6. Physical Activity may prevent “epigenetic modification” or, heritable changes in gene function that influence chronic conditions such as metabolic syndrome, diabetes, cancer, cardiovascular and neurodegenerative diseases.
  7. Exercise may prevent us from becoming depressed in the first place.
  8. Exercise prevents cognitive decline as we age.
  9. Just 90 minutes of exercise per week may prevent dementia.”

Specific conditions

  1. Exercise has a significant role in cystic fibrosis care and research.
  2. Inactivity among arthritis sufferers doesn’t just worsen pain, but it also increases the risk of disability
  3. “Physical Activity can help improve health and quality of life of Parkinson’s Disease patients.”
  4. Resistance training could help stop the progression of diabetes in those with prediabetes.
  5. “Exercise is tied to lower odds of premature death with type 1 diabetes.”
  6. Physical activity can improve symptoms, restore function, and increase quality of life (but is often underutilized) among people with multiple sclerosis.
  7. Physical activity and exercise can help improve the quality of life of individuals suffering from COPD.
  8. The sooner a patient is mobile or active after hospitalization the better.
  9. Men may benefit from exercise in prostate cancer recovery.
  10. Exercise during pregnancy may benefit kids’ long-term health.”
  11. Only approximately one-third of pregnant women meet published exercise recommendations, despite the multiple benefits of exercise during pregnancy.
  12. There is evidence that people with long-term back pain do better when they participate in exercise than they do with rest.

Healthy aging

  1. Seniors with heart disease could be more independent, healthier with physical activity.”
  2. “New findings on physical activity could shape the treatment for mild Alzheimer’s disease.”
  3. “Older women who do more physical activity, and at higher intensities, could reduce their risk of death from an cause by as mush as 70%
  4. Physical activity has potential to influence bone health in those with osteoporosis.
  5. “Focusing on physical activity can help avoid unnecessary later life social care expenses.”
  6. Physical activity helps to reduce the risk of falls.
  7. Physical activity helps older adults prepare for travel-related physical activities and demands.


  1. Intense exercise may improve brain function.
  2. There is a link between exercise and cognitive function, meaning that exercise could make us smarter.
  3. Physical activity can sharpen your memory.
  4. Exercise improves memory by triggering new brain cell growth.
  5. Exercise and healthy diets are linked with better brain function.
  6. Physical activity may maintain or increase the size of the hippocampus, the part of the brain that forms memories and gradually shrinks as we age.
  7. Progression of “white matter hyperintensities” may be an indicator of cognitive decline and increased risk of stroke. Research suggests that physical activity may decrease this progression.

Mental health/wellbeing

  1. Exercise makes you more enthusiastic and excited.
  2. Exercise reduces stress.
  3. Boosts overall mood by releasing “happy chemicals.”
  4. Exercise improves self confidence.
  5. Moderate to high intensity exercise can help alleviate anxiety.
  6. Exercise can help in addiction recovery.
  7. Physical activity can help you relax.
  8. Consistent exercise can help treat depression and anxiety by helping boost mood, combat feelings of gloom, and prepare the brain to handle stress.
  9. Daily physical activity can improve self control.
  10. Exercise can help you sleep better.
  11. Exercise can help combat PTSD (Post Traumatic Stress Disorder).

Productivity/Workplace health

  1. “Short burst of activity for sedentary workers can improve mood, decrease fatigue and food cravings.”
  2. Those who exercise on a regular basis are more productive and have more energy.
  3. Exercise can make your job less stressful.
  4. Regular strength and endurance exercise helps "industrial athletes" avoid workplace injuries.

Other reasons

  1. Physical activity decreases the effects of poor posture.
  2. Exercise is a great excuse/reason to get outdoors.
  3. Exercise can be great icebreaker to get social.
  4. Exercise can change your life.
  5. Physical activity may be the future of health care.
  6. Top excuses for not exercising – BUSTED
  7. Staying active saves you and the health system money.

If pain or an injury or illness is getting in the way of your physical activity, contact a physiotherapist. Click here to find a physiotherapist.