Physical fitness, health, and quality of life


Physical and

is one of the most effective (and enjoyable) to promote health and Physical fitness and maintain functional capacity. It may be a specific weapon for the prevention or treatment of a particular symptom or disease. But above all, it is a generic drug that, when properly administered, can have a beneficial effect on almost all functions of the body.

Exercise experts often talk about physical fitness and health. Physical fitness refers to good performance, especially endurance and muscle strength. Examples of important health issues include low blood pressure and blood cholesterol, ideal weight, musculoskeletal health, and joint mobility. 

When exercise is used to achieve better physical fitness, it is about physical activity, and when the primary goal is health fitness, we are talking about health exercise.

Exercise and sports, but also brisk exercise related to hobbies or work, and physical work at home and summer cottage are most often good health exercises. 

The condition is that the exercise is repeated often enough and for a long and that the load on the body caused by it is at least moderate but not excessive. 

Very light exercise, such as slow walking, may not meet the conditions for healthy exercise, but it may also promote health. Recent research shows that even light exercise reduces the health effects of immobility.

The effects of exercise on health

Health exercise has dozens of beneficial effects on body functions. It improves impaired sugar metabolism, strengthens bones, facilitates stress management, lowers high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and reduces overweight. It prevents cardiovascular disease, type 2 (adult) diabetes and musculoskeletal disorders. Health exercise is especially important for the elderly. 

It improves balance, reduces falls, promotes functional capacity and independent survival, and reduces the likelihood of dementia and Alzheimer's disease. Moderately strenuous exercise enhances the body's defense reactions and seems to prevent viral diseases, the “flu”.

Regular exercise has beneficial effects on mental health and mental well-being. Lack of exercise is associated with poor sleep quality and daytime fatigue. Physically active people manage stress better than little exercise. Exercise improves mood and fights depression.

Exercise, nutrition and obesity are intertwined in many ways. It has been said that exercise is part of nutrition and nutrition is part of exercise. Being overweight is most effective when you exercise more and eat less. If, for one reason or another, weight loss is not successful, the health effects of obesity can be reduced by adequate exercise. You can also trade: those who move a lot can eat more freely without gaining weight.

Quantity and quality of exercise

The recommended amount of health exercise is energy consumption, which is about 1,000 kilocalories (4.2 MJ) per week. This means that about a half an hour fairly strenuous physical exercise (e.g. brisk walking) 5-7 days per week or strenuous physical exercise (e.g. jogs) from 20 to 60 minutes three times per week. 

Daily exercise can be put together into smaller pieces, as three times 10 minutes a seems to produce the same health benefits as once 30 minutes. The greatest possible health effect is achieved with quite moderate exercise. After that, physical fitness can be further improved, but the health benefit no longer grows slowly, if at all.

Different forms of exercise have slightly different effects on body functions. Endurance sports (walking, jogging, skiing, swimming and ) consume energy, lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol, and improve sugar tolerance. Strength and gym training strengthens the bones in particular and enhances sugar metabolism. 

Gymnastics, ball games and aerobics strengthen bones and improve balance. However, the differences are relatively small and it is easy to achieve adequate health with most forms of exercise. The most important thing is to choose a form of exercise that you like. Then exercise becomes a pleasure, a positive addiction without which there can no longer be.

The effects of high-intensity interval training (HIT) on fitness and health are currently being studied around the world. It improves physical fitness, but it may also be useful in rehabilitation and treatment of diseases (heart patients, type 2 diabetes). The method is not suitable for beginners. Patients who exercise little and should always talk to an exercise physiologist or doctor before using the method.

Wise to avoid disadvantages

Like all effective medicines, exercise can also have side effects, “side effects.” Sports accidents are the largest accident category in Finland. Excessively strenuous exercise can damage tissues and cause and months of overload symptoms and sometimes, thankfully, very rarely, even sudden death. 

Therefore, the workload should be increased gradually and avoiding “overdose”. Senior citizens and people with poor basic fitness should work with their doctor to develop a healthy exercise program to maximize the benefits and minimize the risks.

Does the disease prevent exercise?

Ani rare illness is an obstacle to health exercise. After a febrile flu, you should take a break for a few days and reduce the amount of exercise if you feel sick, have abnormal tiredness, or feel dizzy. After a heart attack or cerebrovascular accident, it is important to find the right balance between efficacy and safety.

 For this reason, all cardiac patients should receive in-depth exercise counseling and the opportunity to participate in a guided exercise in order to develop an appropriate exercise program and encourage continuous exercise. Properly dosed, exercise is also suitable for most patients with heart failure and cardiac arrhythmias.

Health exercise as a way of life

The positive effects of exercise are typically short-lived, lasting days and weeks. Exercise is therefore not useful as “cures” or other casual activities. To maintain health, exercise must be a regularly recurring, lifelong lifestyle.

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