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After reading this chapter, you will be able to:

  1. Explain the words "exercise," "sport," and "physical activity" and the various terminologies used to describe exercise.

  2. Summarize the physical effects of exercise training.

  3. Discuss the effects of exercise on mood and stress reactivity and describe the possible reasons for these effects.

  4. Understand the effects of exercise on sleep and discuss possible reasons for these effects.

  5. Summarize the effects of exercise on self-esteem and body image and list possible mechanisms for these effects.

  6. Explain the effects of exercise on memory and cognitive function and describe possible reasons for these effects.

  7. Discuss the effects of exercise on symptoms of anxiety and depression—both for people diagnosed with mood disorders and for people occasionally experiencing symptoms of these disorders—and explain possible mechanisms for these effects.

  8. Summarize public health recommendations for physical activity and discuss how these may differ from individualized recommendations.


image One fine afternoon in early spring, Melissa leaves her sedentary lifestyle to join a line-dancing class at a local community center. Although her three sons have always been active, playing sports at school and in community programs, Melissa has never felt she could afford the time for or costs of taking an exercise class herself. But, at her last physical exam, her health-care provider pointed out that she has steadily gained weight over the years and is now 20 pounds heavier than she was in her 20s. Melissa realizes she has put her own health on hold long enough. If she doesn't start improving her health now, turning the weight gain around in future years only becomes more difficult. She will be turning 40 in a few weeks, and she has always heard that it gets harder to lose weight as you get older.

Melissa is also ready for a change. Her teenage boys are gone a lot now, with activities after school and work during the summer. Melissa has sometimes thought she should take a walk after work to get more exercise. But her job as an administrative assistant is often emotionally exhausting, so she arrives home too tired to do anything but watch television, catch up on housework, and make dinner. Maybe now is the time to think about losing weight. Melissa's health-care provider has given her a flyer listing the exercise classes at the community center near her. A line-dancing class catches her eye. Melissa has always loved to dance. Maybe dance would not feel like exercise! The class is offered at 5 p.m., so Melissa can go right after work. The center offers the chance to try the class for free before registering. Melissa decides to give the class a try.image

Regular physical activity contributes to physical and psychological health and well-being. Like other species, humans evolved to accommodate, expect, and require a certain level of physical activity. Until about a hundred ...

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