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Fitness: Getting and Staying Active - Why Should You Be More Active?

No matter what your size or shape, being active:

  • Makes you feel better.
  • Helps you fall asleep and sleep well.
  • Gives you more energy.
  • Helps you think better and faster.
  • Helps you handle stress.
  • Makes you healthier.
  • Helps you live longer.

Fitness benefits everyone. Learn about fitness in children and teens, in older adults, and during pregnancy.

Your health will thank you

The more active you are, the better your heart and lungs work. You're less likely to get many of the diseases that can shorten your life, including:

If you already have any of these problems, staying active may help you to have better control over them, feel better, and live longer.

Your body will thank you

Being fit includes keeping your muscles, bones, and joints as active and healthy as possible. You can:

  • Make your muscles stronger. Lifting weights—even small ones—is a good way to do this. Weights also increase bone density, which is especially important for older adults.1
  • Stay flexible and coordinated. Stretching slideshow.gif will help you do this. As you become more flexible, you will find it easier to reach things on high shelves, look under a bed, or perhaps tie your shoes. You will also have a better sense of balance and coordination.

Your bathroom scale will thank you

Being more active burns calories. That can help you get to and stay at a healthy weight. Getting regular exercise:

  • Helps your body burn more calories even when you're resting.
  • May lower your percentage of body fat and increase muscle strength and tone.

To find out how many calories you burn during different activities, use this Interactive Tool: How Many Calories Did You Burn?

bob.jpg

One Man's Story:

Bob, 79

"My doctor said, 'It's about time you lose weight.' That's when I got my bike."—Bob

Read more about Bob and how he became more active.

You'll thank yourself

The best thing about being active and fit is a better quality of life. You're able to do things you enjoy for longer periods of time, like playing with children, gardening, dancing, or walking.

    This information is produced and provided by the National Cancer Institute (NCI). The information in this topic may have changed since it was written. For the most current information, contact the National Cancer Institute via the Internet web site at http:// cancer .gov or call 1-800-4-CANCER.

    WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

    Last Updated: September 26, 2013
    This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.
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