FIT Connection: The Role of Move

How does physical activity and exercise tie in with being fit?

From the WebMD Archives

Regular physical activity is a cornerstone of a healthy lifestyle and overall fitness. That's why MOVE is one of the four parts of the FIT Platform along with FOOD, MOOD, and RECHARGE. When families work together on all four of these areas, everyone's health improves.

You already know how regular activity benefits your health. Exercise helps to:

But you may not be aware of how moving affects your overall fitness -- that balance between mind, body, and spirit. Moving your body every day has a positive effect on the other components of the FIT platform, too.

MOVE Balances the Energy You Get From FOOD

To stay at a healthy weight, you need to balance the number of calories you eat with the number of calories you burn each day. Being physically active helps you do that. When you are active, your body uses more calories than when it is at rest.

And did you know that being inactive and eating unhealthy foods can actually increase your appetite? Not moving every day and eating unhealthy foods both decrease the hormone leptin in your body. "Leptin is what tells you you're full," says Jenna Johnson, MS, a diabetes center and cardiac rehab manager with Sanford Health. "It tells you that you no longer need more food." In fact, extremely obese people tend not to respond to leptin and may never feel truly satiated.

By moving more and eating healthfully, Johnson explains, you can reset your body chemistry so that you have less of a hunger response.

To learn more about the FIT Platform and weight, read FIT Connection: Weight Management.

MOVE Regularly to Improve Your MOOD

Looking to cure a bad mood? Move your body! Studies have shown that exercise is good for your emotional well-being. Exercise is a known mood-booster and stress-reliever. It will leave you feeling relaxed and in a better mood.

"People who exercise regularly tend to feel they deal better with stress and tend to sleep better," says David Ermer, MD, child psychiatrist with Sanford Health. "Moving your body is a very positive, pro-health way to deal with stress."

Being active helps improve your mood and outlook in more than one way. The sense of accomplishment from being active helps build self-esteem. Exercise also increases the amount of mood-enhancing brain chemicals that our bodies produce. So physical activity is a natural way to help improve your overall outlook. That means when families make everyday activity a priority, kids learn healthy ways to ease anxiety and boost their mood.


MOVE Every Day to Help You RECHARGE

Studies have shown that regular physical activity helps reduce fatigue, increase energy, and ease stress and anxiety.

Plus, want to improve the quality of your shut-eye? Then get out and move your body every day.

How to Make Moving a Priority

Use the articles, slideshows, and interactive evaluators in the MOVE section to help you learn how to boost your family's everyday activities.

The best way to help kids stick with fitness, says Johnson, is to explore different activities until you find what interests them. Children need something they can do and have access to their entire life, she says. Help your child find some kind of a lifetime sport that they can grow with, whether it's bicycling, cross-country skiing, martial arts, swimming, or something else.

When you are active with your kids, you help them have positive exercise experiences. And kids who have positive experiences with exercise are more likely to be active, healthy adults.

WebMD Feature Reviewed by Roy Benaroch, MD on February 03, 2012



Jenna Johnson, MS, exercise physiologist; manager, diabetes assessment and cardiac rehab, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.

David Ermer, MD, child psychiatrist, Sanford Health, Sioux Falls, S.D.

American Heart Association: "Physical Activity and Children."

CDC: "Physical Activity for Everyone," "Balancing Calories."

Martins, C. "A Review of the Effects of Exercise on Appetite Regulation: An Obesity Perspective," International Journal of Obesity, September 2008; vol.32: pp 1337-1347.

Morrison, C. "Interaction Between Exercise and Leptin in the Treatment of Obesity," Diabetes, March 2008; vol. 57, no. 3: pp 534-535.

Kalra, S. "Circumventing Leptin Resistance for Weight Control," Proceedings of the National Acadamy of Sciences of the United States," April 2001; vol. 98, no. 8: pp 4279–4281. "Depression and Anxiety: Exercise Relieves Symptoms."

Ace Get "Exercise Can Help Control Stress."

University of Georgia, News Release: "UGA Study Finds That Regular Exercise Plays a Consistent and Significant Role in Reducing Fatigue, Increasing Energy."

American Cancer Society: "Calorie Counter.”

Family "What It Takes to Lose Weight."

Graham, D. "Adolescents' Attitudes Toward Sports, Exercise, and Fitness Predict Physical Activity 5 and 10 years later," Preventive Medicine, February 2011; vol. 52, no. 2: pp 130-132.

Reid, K. Sleep Medicine, October 2010.

National Sleep Foundation: “Diet, Exercise, and Sleep.”

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