Is it true that the more you exercise the healthier you are? | Learn: Your Fitness Business Resource

Is it true that the more you exercise the healthier you are?

Tyler Spraul is the director of UX and the head trainer for He has his Bachelor of Science degree in pre-medicine and is an NSCA-certified strength and conditioning specialist. He is a former All-American soccer player and still coaches soccer today. In his free time, he enjoys reading, learning, and living the dad life. He has been featured in Shape, Healthline, HuffPost, Women's...

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UPDATED: Aug 25, 2020

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  • Regular exercise improves overall health, but there is a point where too much exercise can be bad.
  • People who are largely inactive are at a much higher risk for obesity, cardiovascular diseases, diabetes, and other maladies.
  • However, each person has a point where increasing exercise will not proportionally increase overall health and well-being.

Decades of scientific research do indeed reinforce the idea that regular exercise improves overall health, but there is a tipping point where additional exercise does not produce any additional health benefits.

As a general rule moderate exercise is recommended by health professionals for 20 to 30 minutes per day, five or six days per week.

Moderate exercise is defined as that which puts just enough stress on the muscles and cardiovascular system to cause them to work measurably harder than they do at rest.

Examples of moderate exercise include brisk walking, casual bike riding, casual swimming, and so on.

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How Does Inactivity Relate to the Idea That the More You Exercise the Healthier You Are?

According to a 2008 report by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, two and a half hours of moderate exercise every week will significantly reduce the risk of such diseases.

There’s even speculation that moderate exercise lowers the risk of several kinds of cancer. Vigorous exercise for the same amount of time reduces those risks even more.

For the person who is largely inactive, any amount of exercise will be beneficial if it’s practiced consistently and on a daily basis.

In other words, 10 minutes of daily exercise is better than none; 20 minutes is better than 10; and 30 minutes is even better!

Just getting off the couch and getting your heart pumping provides cardiovascular benefits which will then translate into other health benefits as your exercise program progresses.

Remaining inactive is a proven ingredient in developing health issues as you grow older.

How Does Excess Activity Relate to the Idea That the More You Exercise the Healthier You Are?

Many of the same studies which link moderate exercise to better health have also determined that most people reach a point where exercise produces diminished returns.

Take a bodybuilder, for example. Good health benefits are achieved in the first 6 to 12 months of a bodybuilding program.

However, the overall health of the bodybuilder will most likely not be significantly improved in subsequent years of bodybuilding.

He will still be healthy, but he won’t be any healthier because he continues to exercise in future years.

The reason behind this is the fact that exercise is not the only factor determining good health. Nutrition, environmental conditions, genetics, and other things all play a role in the overall health of an individual.

Since exercise is but one factor, it can only serve to improve your health to a certain point. After that, continuing the exercise may help you remain at the same level of health, but it can’t increase your health beyond the influence of these other factors.

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Does Your Mental and Emotional Outlook Have Any Relation to Health and Exercise?

Along with the decades of scientific study dedicated to exercise and physical health, simultaneous studies on emotional and mental outlook have concluded that they have as much impact on overall health and exercise.

A healthy outlook on life reduces stress, helps the body’s systems work more efficiently and effectively, and increases the benefits derived from exercise.

Science has proven a strong and direct link between physical health and emotional and mental health and how they both relate to exercise.

Some studies even suggest that a poor outlook regarding exercise may be one of the factors which cause people to give up on their workout program, or not start one at all.

For those who are generally inactive, even the thought of daily exercise can be intimidating or even repulsive.

But researchers contend that pushing through the first 4 to 6 weeks, even if you hate it, will eventually produce a change of attitude.

As you begin to feel better physically, your outlook on exercise and life, in general, tends to improve.

Regular daily exercise is something that provides documented health benefits for just about everyone. If you don’t participate in any exercise regimen, get started by choosing something that is low impact and that you enjoy.

Even at 20 to 30 minutes per day, five days per week, you will experience better overall health for as long as you live. If you want to exercise longer or more vigorously, all the better.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)

Do you need to go to the gym to lose weight?

No! Proper nutrition is a great first step towards losing weight. Movement of any kind is also beneficial. If you can’t afford a gym membership or do not have time to go to the gym, try some bodyweight exercises at home, go for walk or run, or get some movement in at your local park!

What is NEAT?

NEAT is an acronym and stands for non-exercise activity thermogenesis. It refers to the energy used to do everything outside of eating, sleeping, and purposeful exercise. By increasing your neat (taking the stairs, fidgeting, doing the dishes, etc., you can burn more calories throughout the day

How do you get the motivation to exercise?

There are many ways to find motivation to exercise. Here is a great article for more information on the topic.

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