What are the benefits of physical activity for youth, teenagers and seniors?

Megan Smith
 min read

What are the benefits of physical activity are often the subject of studies, and it is reliably known that getting off the couch is a great way for both physical and mental health.

What are the benefits of physical activity for youth, teenagers and seniors?It’s not about scaling Kilimanjaro. Any sort of activity, as long as it is slightly challenging, can bring immense benefits.

Physical activity is a one-size-fits-all tonic that promotes beauty, physical health and a wonderful mindset. Age and money are not a barrier. You don’t need to spend money to be physically active, all you need is to start with baby steps until it becomes as much a part of you as having a shower.

Read on for an overview of benefits of physical activity per age group.

What are the benefits of physical activity: Introduction

The beneficial effects of regular activity are numerous and favorable at any age.

Think of it being aimed at:

  • the quality of life;
  • cardiovascular, respiratory, immune, neural, metabolic, and muscular systems;
  • bones; and
  • some types of cancer.

If you want to look at it differently, people who did not exercise at all had a significantly increased risk of mortality compared to those who exercised regularly.

Insufficient physical activity or sports

Despite these recognized benefits, the physical activity deficit remains major in the United States and worldwide.

More than 52% of the U.S. population fails to maintain the minimum recommended level. The higher a country’s development index, the less physical are its inhabitants.

Regular physical activity decreases with time and age. Among young adults, fewer women than men are currently exercising regularly.

You’ve all heard the reasons why: a lack of time, not liking sports, health reasons, age or professional constraints.

To combat this, the authorities need to think about multiple strategies at all levels: organization, equipment, and safety, all aimed to develop the need and love for physical activity and sport.

Then again, you don’t need an authority to get you going.

By making it a part of our daily practices and rethinking physical activity or sports from a different angle will allow us to take those first steps.

The health benefits of physical activity

The association between physical activities and health is well documented.

What you get out of it will depend on genetic and environmental factors, how much and how often do you engage in physical activity and the effort’s duration.

Regular and moderate exercise is associated with a clear reduction in mortality in both women and men.

In contrast, no activity at all is definitely harmful to our health.

Even the negative impacts previously associated with the high intensity demanded by high-level athletes over the long term are now refuted by numerous studies.

Athletes who have competed at international levels usually live longer.

High-level athletes live about 6 years longer than the general population, with a noticeable decrease in cardiovascular, respiratory, neurodegenerative and cancer pathologies.

This naturally excludes issues brought on by extreme sports such as boxing.

At all ages

It is important to practice physical activity or sport from a young age, and do this constantly. It will become ingrained if encouraged from an early age.


In children, regular physical activity started at an early age plays a major preventive role by exerting a considerable influence on many adult chronic diseases.

Physical activity strengthens the skeleton and builds up valuable bone strength from childhood, the benefits of which will be reaped in adulthood.

For example, osteoporosis is significantly reduced in active persons (who walk, swim or jump on a trampoline for example).


In adolescents, the increase in cardiorespiratory and metabolic capacity (characterized by the level of maximal oxygen consumption) through physical activity maximizes physical potential.

This increases overall endurance and an enhances motor skills, especially strength, speed, flexibility, balance and skill.


In seniors, regular physical activity delays or slows down certain harmful processes related to aging and that’s why an active vacation like going camping is an excellent idea for seniors. For example, it helps to fight against the loss of muscle mass and promotes the maintenance of mobility in the elderly.

It has a positive role in maintaining balance and preventing falls.

Physical activity also slows the age-related decrease in bone mineral density, helping to reduce osteoporosis-related fractures, and with beneficial effects on mental health, well-being and quality of life.

Related postPhysical activity for older adults: Effects and benefits

Correlation between biological age and physical abilities

There is a very strong correlation between biological age and physical ability. The aging process has a natural progressive decline in adaptive capacities and a decrease in the effectiveness of regulatory mechanisms.

These changes in biological and physiological functions can have major consequences on autonomy and are responsible for functional limitations.

Maintaining one’s abilities is essential to maintaining one’s independence and quality of life at whatever age.

In long-term athletes, training can be continued while considering the evolution of their abilities, the discipline and intensity having to be adapted.

Unless otherwise advice by a physician, it is always possible to resume or start a physical activity or sport, whatever the age.

You’ll reap the benefits associated with a better quality of life much quicker than you ever thought possible.

Good for your mental health

Regular physical activity is a major factor to slow down cognitive impairment.

Those getting on in age will find it especially beneficial for reaction, memory and reasoning skills.

It improves in self-esteem and reduces anxiety and depression, whatever the age.

Related post: How to identify your emotions and why it’s useful

Contrary to popular belief, high-intensity sports do not damage mental health.

High-level athletes suffer less often from psychopathological disorders than the general population. And when they do occur, time and gender play the same roles as in the rest of the population.

The risk of depressive episodes increases with age, for both women and men, with a female/male prevalence ratio identical to that of the general population.

The most frequently identified disorder is general anxiety, and it affects only 5% of athletes compared to 13% of the general population of the same age.

Constraints due to training and regular competition helps athletes cope better with stressful situations.

What are the benefits of physical activity: Conclusion

You may have heard this time and time again, but it’s too important to let it slide by.

Physical activity is a free tonic for physical and mental health and is essential in prevention and cure of issues.

It doesn’t have to cost the earth, and you don’t need to be an expert. Just start.

Related post: Be careful not to overdo it and have adequate periods of rest in between physical activities. Check out our best plus size furniture page for comfortable furniture to enjoy your well-earned recovery.

About Megan Smith

Megan has been fighting overweight and her plus size since her teenage years. After trying all types of remedies without success, she started doing her own research. Megan founded Plus Size Zeal to share her findings. She also developed various detailed buying guides for plus-size people in order to make their lives easier and more comfortable. Read More