Does Exercise Improve Your Health

My case study is about finding out whether doing exercise can improve your health or lead to health problems. There are different views expressed which may suggest that not all exercise is good for you. I will present the evidence clearly and will have reference to their sources in the bibliography. But what does being healthy actually mean? Being healthy means having organs which work efficiently helping to prevent illness and disease. It is also gives a feeling of well being. Everything has risks to it including exercise, these risks can be dangerous and life threatening. My case study will find out whether exercise is a risk or beneficial to all.

My report contains scientific evidence from a trustworthy source; evidence for and against the case study from numerous sources; a detailed conclusion showing comparisons between the evidence and my interpretation of my findings, and a bibliography. Scientific Evidence “Good health is one of the most important things in life. It allows a person to lead a happy, useful and successful life. There are certain factors which help us to stay healthy. We should eat a balanced diet of the right kinds of food, and drink plenty of water. We should take regular exercise.

Good health is a priceless treasure. It is worth trying to keep it.” The Government recommends to be healthy you need to eat a balanced diet and to do 30 minutes of exercise a day. However, this varies for each person and how does one recognise if they are healthy? BMI (Body Mass Index) charts work out the total amount of body fat within your body using body weight and height. There is a link between calories consumed and the calories burnt. Often, more calories are consumed than burnt. This is a particular factor in Western societies, such as the USA and Europe, where food is cheap and is easily obtained. Unfortunately, modern lifestyles do not require the same physical demands as it did many years ago. Therefore, exercise is used to increase the amount of calories burnt, which helps to control your weight and allegedly improve your health.

Evidence For 1. According to Sir Liam Donaldson, Chief Medical Officer, “one hour of exercise a day was necessary to prevent obesity.” He also said in the Telegraph on the 5th May 2004; we should encourage children to participate in sport and leisure activities; “Children and young people should achieve at least an hour of moderate exercise. At least twice a week this should include activities of muscle strength, flexibility and high physical stress to improve bone health.”

In the same article the Government stated “Every adult and child should exercise five times a week to halve their prospects of developing a chronic disease.” This evidence from Sir Liam Donaldson’s Department of Health Report, is reliable because it states what should be done to improve health. Sir Liam Donaldson has his own opinion which can be supported by scientific evidence. His findings are stated in his report, indicating “physically active people reduce their risk of developing ailments such as heart disease and stroke by up to half. The risk of early death falls by up to a third.”

2. Irish Scientists found that exercise increased patients’ consumption of oxygen in 1 minute by a large amount. The graph shows that through doing exercise the patients’ blood was able to increase its oxygen carrying capacity, which enabled more oxygen to flow to the organs, allowing them to work better and lower the risk of disease. This information is not very reliable because even though it comes from a good source, we are not told how long the research was carried out for, what age the patients were, their health conditions or what exercise they took part in. It shows that each patient increased their oxygen consumption after the period of exercise.

3. The blood pressure research council state that even though many epidemiological studies have not show a correlation between exercise and blood pressure, they have concluded that exercise decreases blood pressure. They carried out an analysis on 105 overweight study groups which had their blood pressure monitored before and after they completed a course of weight training. The training showed “significant net reductions of resting and day time blood pressure of 3.0 to 2.4 mm Hg.”

This evidence is reliable because the researchers carried out their research on a large amount of participants who all had the same physical condition – high blood pressure. The findings show that over a period of time where exercise was brought in the participants saw dramatic changes in their blood pressure. The evidence shows that if you are overweight, exercise can help you to loose weight and decrease the risk of developing diseases such as heart disease.

Evidence Against 1. Linda Bishop-Bailey, director of operations at the Institute of Sport and Recreation Management, stated in the Telegraph on the 8th December 2004, “Over-exercising can damage muscles and bones, and knock people’s confidence.” A physiotherapist also featured in the article stating “People who have not exercised all year suddenly think they can run five times a week without giving their body time to adjust. They are far more likely to injure themselves.”

This evidence shows that when exercise is performed occasionally you can develop muscle strains, fractures, depression, etc. It is not very reliable evidence, because the study carried out was only for people who “binge exercise” after Christmas. 2. Guidelines from the NHS state “Over-exercising can weaken the immune system, making it harder for the body to fight off infections. This is because non-stop exercise means the body is using up all of its energy to work out, leaving little power to fight off colds and flu.”

The immune system protects the body from potentially harmful substances. This evidence is reliable because it comes from the NHS who are supposed to be looking out for the public’s health and provide information to help improve health. It gives an outcome from a decisive factor. 3. Fiona Stedman writes in Exercise Mania – “Compulsive over-exercising and exercise addiction; exercising for long durations, multiple work-outs per day, exercising six to seven days of the week, and /or high intensity aerobic work-outs.” The website also stated “There are many problems associated with over-exercising. Too much exercising, like too little food can slow down your body’s metabolism.

For women, the effects of over-exercise and food reduction can lead to amenorrhea, which is defined as less than three menstrual periods a year. A woman who is not menstruating regularly suffers from a depletion of female hormones, especially oestrogen.” This information comes from an online magazine which is worried that exercise has become a thing of image instead of health. It is reliable but the information could be used as an opinion which is trying to scare people out of exercising.


‘Evidence for 1’ can be compared to ‘Evidence against 1’, because they both talk about aspects of bone health and how exercise can improve or deteriorate bone health. ‘Evidence for 1’ suggests that through physical activity which consists of high stress and strength, you are improving bone health. ‘Evidence against 1’ however, proposes that over-exercising can damage bone growth and increase risk of long term injury. It also causes muscle strains and fractures.

‘Evidence for 2’ can be compared to ‘Evidence against 2’, because together they conflict on the effect of exercise on the immune system. ‘Evidence for 2’ shows that exercise improves respiration allowing more oxygen to flow around the body, whereas ‘Evidence against 2’ states that over-exercising can weaken the immune system dramatically, making you more likely to become ill, because the energy which would have been used to fight disease is being used to increase fitness.

‘Evidence for 3’ can also be compared, to ‘Evidence against 3’ because collectively they refer to the effects of exercise on the blood – blood pressure and menstrual cycles. ‘Evidence for 3’ suggests that exercise carried out regularly can decrease blood pressure and improve health by lowering risk of heart disease. In spite of this, ‘Evidence against 3’ shows that over-exercise can lead to less than three menstrual periods a year, decreasing the amount of female hormones in the body, especially oestrogen.

In my opinion and by summarising the information, I conclude that regular exercise can improve your health, by decreasing the risk of heart disease, stroke and other major diseases. It can improve your chances of living for longer and being happy throughout your life. It decreases depression. However, over-exercising or little spurts of exercising can deteriorate health and cause you to become more susceptible to disease. It can cause long and short term injuries which can cause depression and create the idea that exercise is not for you, increasing weight and risks of major diseases.


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