Physical Activity: The Best Medicine!

August 17, 2020 ,

The many benefits of physical activity on your physical and psychological health no longer need to be proven. Exercise helps control the effects of aging including the loss of cognitive function, improves your functional capacities, quality of life and even your life expectancy. So that you can live longer and live better!

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Physical activity and heart function

Physical activity leads to positive changes in your cardio-respiratory endurance. You will be able to notice these benefits after only a few weeks of regular exercise, such as:

  • Maintaining or improving the heart’s force of contraction
  • Reduced heart rates during rest and effort
  • Reduced shortness of breath
  • Decreased blood pressure
  • Better oxygen consumption and therefore heart capacity
  • Improved lipid profile

What is physical activity

Gone are the days when you had to sweat hard to get into shape! Physical activity must be demystified.

The World Health Organization defines physical activity as any movement produced by skeletal muscles, responsible for an increase in energy expenditure. Thus, every movement is considered exercise and every step counts!

The good news is that there does not appear to be a threshold below which physical activity would not have a positive effect on health; every increase, however small, is beneficial. These benefits are even more important for your health if you are sedentary. So, it’s never too late to introduce a little exercise and we are all capable. You just have to find the right exercise for you. It must be easy, simple and fun!

Just move and have fun

Several of the daily life tasks or leisure activities ask you to move (cleaning, shopping, or babysitting your grandchildren). Try to do a little each day and you will see, your energy will increase. This notion of energy expenditure in your lifestyle is what is called thermogenesis related to non-sporting activities or NEAT, meaning “Non-Exercise Activity Thermogenesis”.

It is enough to simply introduce more movements into your daily life, such as standing longer and more often, taking short steps, or parking your car a little bit further away. For example, you could do 3 chair lifts before each meal, walk to your corner grocery store, try to climb up and down a level of stairs a day, or simply walk in place (while sitting or standing) during commercial breaks of your favorite show. Be imaginative!

The heart is a muscle: Train it

When you think about it, what behaviour is most harmful and risky to your health: moving or staying sedentary?

Stop being afraid of movement! The risks of exercising are low and, above all, less harmful than not doing so. Regular physical activity is part of the treatment plan for congestive heart failure and helps slow the progression of the disease. Physical activity is therefore recommended for YOU and for all people with congestive heart failure.

The essential rules

Moving while staying safe means: starting your exercise slowly with a low-intensity warm-up, being able to speak at all times during exercise (speech test), and taking breaks and rest if necessary.

If you are sedentary, set for yourself a realistic goal. Don’t hesitate to break up your exercise into smaller sections during the day. Your 30 minutes of aerobic exercise can be done in 2 x 15-minute sessions. If you’re just starting out, it’s even best to begin with 10-minute segments but you could also do 15 x 2 minutes. The important thing is to move and a little is already a lot!

The biggest secret: It’s consistency!

You have to do a little bit every day. It is the effect of regularly activating our body that brings the benefits of exercise. Don’t get discouraged! The results arrive slowly. There will always be excuses or solutions, it’s up to you to choose. It’s your decision and you have the power to say today is DAY 1 of starting to be healthier and active. One step and minute at a time will make all the difference!


  • [1]Donald H. Paterson, Gareth R. Jones et Charles L. Rice, Le vieillissement et l’activite´ physique : donne´ es sur lesquelles fonder des recommandations relatives à l’exercice àl’intention des adultes âgé, Appl. Physiol. Nutr. Metab. 32(Suppl. 2F), 2007 / Can. J. Public Health 98(Suppl. 2F), 2007
  • [2] Ducharme, Anique, Mieux vivre avec l’insuffisance cardiaque, Société québécoise d’insuffisance cardiaque(SQIC), 2018.
  • [3] Rose G et al. Circulation 2014; 798-810.
  • [4] OMS
  • [5] Thibault, G., Quantité d’activité physique requise pour en retirer des bénéfices pour la santékino-quebecMinistère de l’Éducation, Bibliothèque nationale du Québec, 1999
  • [6]Levine JA, Non-exercise activity thermogenesis (NEAT), Best Pract Res Clin Endocrinol Metab. 2002 Dec;16(4):679-702.
  • [7] Riedbe, D. et al., ACSM’S Guidelines for exercice testing and prescription, tenth edition, 2016, p. 239
  • [8] Fondation des maladies du cœur et de l’AVC, BC’s heart failure network, Quality care for quality life9
  • [9]  L’exercice physique et l’insuffisance cardiaque, Institut de cardiologie de l’Université d’Ottawa, Santé Canada.
  • [10]


Federation des kinesiologues du Quebec
Kinesiology is defined as the use of muscle testing to identify imbalances in the body's structural energy. Kinesiologists undertake years of training to be able to help their clients maintain and regain physical fitness. Headed by the FKQ, kinesiologists write about rehabilitation, prevention and performance.

2 comments to “Physical Activity: The Best Medicine!”

August 22, 2020 Clarisse said:

Je veux à tout prix avoir une bonne hygiène de vie et surtout garder la forme pour pouvoir profiter au mieux de ma vie. Ce texte m’a appris différents avantages de pratiquer une activité physique de manière régulière. Le sport est donc actuellement mon allié pour un bonheur hors du commun.

Cinzia Cuneo
August 27, 2020 Cinzia Cuneo said:

Bonjour Clarise,
Je vous invite à lire la version en français de cet article:

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