Physical exercise - Benefits

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Exercise is an essential part of a healthy, balanced life. Indeed, being active will not only make you feel fitter and more energetic, but also help to prevent many chronic diseases. Active people improve their overall health and boost their healthy life expectancy.

Doing 15 minutes of exercise daily has been shown to increase life expectancy by several years as well as increase healthy life expectancy.

The benefits of exercise are many. Here are a few of them:

  • Helps prevent chronic diseases, including cardiovascular disease, several cancers, and type 2 diabetes
  • Decreases fatigue, increases energy, attention, concentration and other cognitive functions
  • Helps maintain good mental health
  • Improves sleep
  • Reduces stress
  • Decreases tobacco use
  • Improves endurance, muscular strength and flexibility
  • Decreases blood pressure
  • Helps you lose weight and maintain weight loss
  • Regulates blood sugar and lipid levels
  • Helps prevent osteoporosis

"As little as 15 minutes of walking a day can reduce total mortality by about 15 %."

– Dr. Martin Juneau

What you do doesn’t matter. What matters is being active daily, be it at work, as a means of transport or in your free time. If time is short, try interval training, which consists of alternating between short periods (about 30 seconds) of maximum effort and equivalent rest periods. 

"Sixteen minutes of interval training has been shown to be more effective than 30 minutes of continuous exercise." – Dr. Martin Juneau

The time it takes before health benefits are felt depends on two factors: the frequency and intensity of physical exercise. It’s essential to dial up the intensity of your physical efforts and to feel that you're working hard, while still having energy and being able to chat briefly or whistle. In this way, you maximise the benefits, while maintaining a safe pace.

The recipe is simple: the more you move your body with some intensity, the more you will feel the benefits of exercise.


Many things can maximize exercise's health benefits. Here are a few tips to put into practice:

  • Be active as often as possible, ideally every day.
  • Walk every chance you get.
  • Once you get used to it, make sure you reach a good intensity during your workout by listening to your body.
  • Try interval training (HIIT).
  • Include activities to strengthen your muscles and bones, especially those in your legs.
  *Sources : Visit the Government of Quebec’s Portail santé mieux-être and the Observatoire de la prévention of the Montreal Heart Institute (MHI) website for more information on adopting a healthy lifestyle and risk factors.  


The following resources are available to help you adopt an active lifestyle: