Beneficial Effects

C Boreham and M H Murphy, University of Ulster at Jordanstown, Jordanstown, UK

© 2005 Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved.

This article examines the roles that physical activity, exercise, and fitness may play in the regulation of energy balance and in the etiology of major diseases such as coronary heart disease, cancer, and osteoporosis. Before proceeding, it is necessary to define the key terms of reference. 'Physical activity' can be defined as ''any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure.'' 'Exercise' (often used interchangeably with 'physical activity') is defined as ''physical activity which is regular, planned, and structured with the aim of improving or maintaining one or more aspects of physical fitness.'' 'Physical fitness' is ''a set of outcomes or traits relating to the ability to perform physical activity.''

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