Health> Vol.5 No.7, July 2013

Transition to adulthood: A critical role for exercise in building overall well-being

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ABSTRACT

A growing number of multidisciplinary studies have reported the beneficial effects of physical activities towards the development of overall well-being and the reduction of chronic illnesses. Physical inactivity is a serious worldwide problem and is considered the key lifestyle factor that negatively influences health and function of individuals. Here we propose that growth kinetics of body and mind and associated disproportionate physical activity may have considerable effects on the increased physical and mental illnesses and premature death rates currently observed in mid to late adulthood people. Children and young adults, being in exponential growth phase and self-motivated to engage in physical activity, possess more cognition, resilience, and mind-body-emotion-spirit integration. In contrast, as our body transitions into adulthood, there is a decline in the growth of body and mind. Furthermore, in this period, adults experience the increased stressors of career and financial demands, time pressure, and family responsibilities. The decline in growth combined with prolonged stress appears to result in reduced cognition, resilience, and mind-body-emotion-spirit integration, leading to sedentary and other faulty lifestyles, which could further lead to a predisposition to maladaptive behaviours and various chronic diseases at a later stage. In agreement with this, currently more than two thirds of the adult population across the world are physically inactive and are failing to perform the daily recommended guidelines of moderate to vigorous exercise. As negative changes and faulty lifestyles begin to occur during and after adulthood transition, creating awareness in people between 29 to 35 years of age about mindful exercise should be considered a national priority. This would allow adults to achieve overall well-being, and increased productivity and life expectancy, reducing health care-associated economic burden placed on the nation.

Cite this paper

Umeshappa, C. and Punambolam, R. (2013) Transition to adulthood: A critical role for exercise in building overall well-being. Health, 5, 1158-1163. doi: 10.4236/health.2013.57156.

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