Physical Activity and Chronic Disease. A few older adults working out in a gym.

Regular physical activity helps improve overall health, fitness, and quality of life.  Do you know it also helps reduce the risk of chronic conditions like type 2 diabetes, heart disease, many types of cancer, depression, and dementia?

The World Health Organization (WHO), reported that physical inactivity is the fourth leading risk factor for global mortality, accounting for 6% of deaths globally. This follows high blood pressure (13%), tobacco use (9%), and high blood glucose (6%). The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) says anyone can benefit from physical activity – no matter age, sex, race, ethnicity, or health condition.

How can exercise improve a chronic condition?

• Aerobic exercise can help improve heart health and aid in weight loss

• Strength training helps to improve muscle strength and endurance

• Flexibility exercise can improve range of motion and may reduce the risk of falls

The CDC suggests 150 minutes each week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity for adults, plus at least two days a week of strengthening activities.  A tip for adults – try walking 30 minutes a day, five days a week. 

Managing chronic disease can be challenging. There are many different options available, all with varying degrees of effectiveness. When a retiree finds it troublesome to leave home, in some circumstances, Medicare will pay 100% for us to send a physical therapist to the home. An at-home physical therapy visit can help establish an exercise program that is both safe and maximally effective. Engaging in regular exercise routines can help manage symptoms and improve overall health. 

Learn More:

Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health. Geneva: World Health Organization; 2010. 2, PHYSICAL ACTIVITY FOR HEALTH. Available from:

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Physical activity prevents chronic disease. Retrieved 2021/03/17.

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