The Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

Keith R. Miller, Stephen A. McClave, Melina B. Jampolis, Ryan T. Hurt, Kristine Krueger, Sarah Landes, Bryan Collier

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

8 Scopus citations


Physical inactivity is a modifiable risk factor (similar to dyslipidemia and hypertension) for a variety of chronic diseases, including cancer and cardiovascular disease. Exercise provides a clear health benefit, which serves in the primary and secondary prevention of these disease processes (the most important being a reduction in cardiovascular disease and premature death). The physiologic mechanisms for such a benefit occur at both a cellular and multisystem level. Prolonged periods of occupational or leisure-time sitting have adverse health effects independent of exercise performed before or after. Almost any form of physical activity (PA) is beneficial, whether part of a regular exercise program or as a series of intermittent, incidental, non-purposeful, lifestyle-embedded activity (causing non-exercise activity thermogenesis or NEAT). The health benefits of exercise appear to be dose-dependent. Physicians should recommend near daily exercise which includes at various times strength training, stretching, and aerobic activity in addition to emphasizing adjustments that allow for reduced sitting and increased activity during daily routines. Patients should understand that for optimal health, exercise is no longer optional.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)204-212
Number of pages9
JournalCurrent nutrition reports
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 1 2016


  • Energy expenditure
  • Exercise
  • Inactivity
  • Non-exercise activity thermogenesis
  • Physical activity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Food Science
  • Nutrition and Dietetics


Dive into the research topics of 'The Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this