Daily Physical Activity

For many of us working long days in the office, we tend to forget the importance of exercise and the health benefits of physical activity associated.  We make excuses to avoid going to the gym, and we place exercise at the bottom of the priority list most times.  Even as little as 15-30 minutes per day can make a huge difference in our health and happiness. Think about it, are you getting enough exercise? Exercise is especially important in treating both diagnoses that I specialize in – OSA and TMJ disorders. Aerobic exercise in particular helps to keep blood flowing to all the cells in the body that need it. A good, moderate exercise regiman assists healthy sleep, which reduces pain and increases energy levels.

Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is structured, planned and repetitive, with an objective in line. Physical activity in daily life is categorized as either sports, occupational, conditioning, household, or other activities.  According to the World Health Organization, the definition of physical activity is “any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure” (1985 – “Global Recommendations on Physical Activity for Health”).


daily physical activity

The different recommendations for physical activity in various age groups are as follows:

Ages 5-17

  • 60 minutes daily of moderate to vigorous activity
  • Focus on aerobic activity

Benefits for children in this age range include a healthy cardiovascular system, improved motor function and neurological awareness, healthy tissues, bones and joints, and weight maintenance.

Additionally, psychological benefits include lessened anxiety and depression, increased self-confidence and social awareness/interaction, and high academic performance.

Children who develop healthy habits early on tend to stay away from tobacco, alcohol and drug use as well; they do not have a tendency to become influenced by the “wrong” group of peers.

physical activity at school

Ages 18-64

  • 150 minutes weekly of moderate activity, or, 75 minutes of vigorous activity
  • Combination of moderate & vigorous activity is optimal
  • Muscle-strengthening activities recommended 2 days/week

The health benefits of physical activity for adults in this age range include lower risk of cardiovascular and coronary disease, less chance of stroke and diabetes, lower blood pressure, higher metabolism, lower risk for cancer, and better weight control.  Chances of bone fractures are lessened as well as neck/back problems and arthritis.  Psychological benefits are also found in adults in this age range, including greater mental stability, lower incidence of anxiety, depression, insomnia and other sleep disorders.

physical activity at work

Ages 65+

  • Moderate physical activity 3 days/week
  • Muscle-strengthening activities recommended 2 days/week

Enhancing balance and preventing falls/injuries is the main benefit for adults in this age range.  Depending on a person’s condition, they can be as active as their body allows.  Improved heart and lung function, lower rates of heart attack and stoke, and enhanced bone health are all direct results of increased physical activity.  Improvement in cognitive function is also noticeable in older adults who are physically active.

benefits of physical activity

A common benefit of physical activity for ALL age groups is an improvement in sleep quality/quantity, and a decreased chance for developing OSA (or another sleep disorder).  It is well established that obesity is linked to OSA, so staying physically fit is one sure way to reduce your chance of an OSA diagnosis.

We need to make sure that we incorporate physical activity into our daily routines and place more value on taking care of ourselves.   If we start imparting physical activity as a symbol of longevity, hopefully we can attain longer life expectancy, less diseases/disorders and greater focus on overall prevention.  Make it something that you enjoy, so it’s less of a task and more of a fun activity.

For tips on how to make physical activity a part of your daily living, please contact the Michigan Head and Neck Institute at (586) 573-0438.


Silva KS, Garcia LM, Rabacow FM, de Rezende LF, de Sa TH. Physical Activity as Part of Daily Living: Moving Beyond Quantitative Recommendations. Prev Med. 2017 Mar; 96:160-162. (Epub 11/10/2016)

(PDF Download Available):


Caspersen CJ, Powell KE, Christenson GM. Physical activity, exercise, and physical

fitness: definitions and distinctions for health-related research. Public Health Rep.


World Health Organization – Global recommendations on Physical Activity


Centers for Disease Control & Prevention