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Which physical activity for which health benefit?

Published: November 16, 2018

Is running good for you?
Is running good for you?

You know regular physical activity is good for your health, but whether you have been physically active for years or are a new participant in physical activity you may be confused about which type of physical activity is best for you.

Rarely a week goes by without a headline highlighting some aspect of physical activity.
Take running and jogging for example.
A recent study suggests that strenuous running may be as harmful for your health as being sedentary, but light jogging reduces your risk of mortality (death).
If you are a recent adoptee of jogging/running you may now be considering whether you should rethink your mode of physical activity.
Headlines which show particular physical activities in a less than favourable light may also deter people from adopting a physically active lifestyle altogether. 
What do you need to know about physical activity and health if you are to make informed decisions about incorporating physical activity into your life and reap the associated health benefits?
This article provides an overview of general health and fitness guidelines and benefits as well as providing information about health specific physical activity.
For more specific information about physical activity, exercise and various types of physical activities follow the links embedded in the article.
General health and fitness
Decades of research have identified many health benefits associated with being regularly physically active, and it has long been accepted that people can get many of these health benefits though everyday activities as well as scheduled exercise sessions.
Recommendations for health suggest participation in 150 minutes/week of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise, and 2-3 sessions per week of resistance and flexibility activities.
Since being sedentary for several hours a day is associated with a range of adverse health effects, people are also encouraged to move as much during the day particularly if they have a sedentary job.
Moderate to vigorous physical activity refers to activities that raise your heart rate above its normal rate when you are at rest, and makes you breath faster and deeper.
Activities are usually those which use your large muscles such as leg muscles.
Many of these activities are aerobic activities and include brisk walking, jogging, running, cycling, swimming, hiking, stair climbing, aerobics, Zumba, soccer, basketball...link to the full article to learn more.


CSEP (2013) Physical Activity Training for Health Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology
Corbin, C.B. & Lindsey, R. (1994). Concepts of Physical Fitness. Dubuque, IA: Wm. C. Brown Communications Inc.
CSPI June 2011, October 2011, April 2011, March 2011, Nov 2011, January/February 2011 April 2015, December 2014, January/February 2014, September 2014, July/August 2014, June 2012, July/August 2012, January/February 2012, May 2012, October 2012, April 2012
Schnohr et al.(2015). Dose of Jogging and Mortality. JACC 65(5) 411-419