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Physical Activity

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the leading causes of death in Arkansas are heart disease, cancer and stroke, which can all be caused by unhealthy behaviors. The most common chronic conditions diagnosed are hypertension, cancer and diabetes. Physical inactivity, poor eating habits and use of tobacco products all lead to the development of chronic diseases.

According to the National Business Group on Health, studies done by Knoops et al and Rimm and Standford indicate that between 65 and 85 percent of heart disease, 60 percent of cancers and 91 percent of diabetes in the US are caused by modifiable healthy behaviors that, if adapted, would likely result in a 50 percent reduction in all-cause mortality.

The benefits of regular physical activity according to WebMB are listed below:

Prevention of heart disease and stroke. Daily physical activity can help prevent heart disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your HDL ("good" cholesterol" and lowering LDL cholesterol ("bad" cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working capacity.

Reduction in high blood pressure. Regular exercise reduces blood pressure in people with high blood pressure. (Hypertension).

Controlling diabetes. By reducing body fat, physical activity can help to prevent and control type 2 diabetes.

Alleviating back pain. By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, regular exercise can prevent back pain.

Prevention of osteoporosis. Regular weight bearing exercise promotes bone formation and may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Regular physical activity can also improve mood and the way you feel about yourself. Exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.