Copyright 2008 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
Why Exercise?

Exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle. It plays a key role in preventing many medical disorders and health conditions.

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People who exercise regularly are less likely to experience:

  • Depression
  • Weight gain
  • Sleep disturbance
  • Obesity-related medical conditions (diabetes, high cholesterol, high blood pressure)
  • Cancer

You cannot control the risks for medical disorders passed on by your family — like your risk for high blood pressure — but you can control your activities, diet and smoking habits. Exercise is a lifestyle choice that can help improve your overall health.

Preventing Medical Conditions

Heart disease and stroke are leading causes of death in the U.S. Regular exercise reduces your risk for these conditions by strengthening your heart and improving your blood flow. This results in lowering your blood pressure and improving your cholesterol levels.

Exercise helps to control your weight and prevent obesity. Being overweight puts you at risk for many medical conditions, notably noninsulin-dependent diabetes and high blood pressure. Because it increases the load on your joints, obesity can aggravate bone and joint conditions, such as back pain and knee problems. Regular exercise can improve the symptoms of these conditions by increasing muscle strength and flexibility, and reducing body fat.

Effects on Mental Health

Exercise is well known for its mood-lifting effects. Studies have also found that people who exercise are less likely to be depressed or feel anxious. Plus exercise can help you manage stress, feel less agitated and improve your sleep patterns.

The physical benefits of regular exercise often create psychological benefits. Being stronger and more flexible helps us to do all the activities we would like to. And this results in feeling better about ourselves and our lives.

Last reviewed: February 2008

Co-developed by the American Orthopaedic Society for Sports Medicine

AAOS does not endorse any treatments, procedures, products, or physicians referenced herein. This information is provided as an educational service and is not intended to serve as medical advice. Anyone seeking specific orthopaedic advice or assistance should consult his or her orthopaedic surgeon, or locate one in your area through the AAOS "Find an Orthopaedist" program on this website.
Copyright 2008 American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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The American Academy of Orthopaedic Surgeons
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