How does physical activity affect the health of the leg and foot?

Humans naturally need to move around to maintain and improve their health. Today, more than 80% of adolescents worldwide—who make up nearly a third of the adult population—do not achieve the basic guidelines for physical exercise needed to sustain good health. The fact that inadequate physical activity ranks closely behind high arterial blood pressure, tobacco use, and high blood sugar levels as the fourth most important risk factor for global mortality speaks to the significance of this issue. There is no disputing the link between physical activity and good health. Promoting physical activity is a major responsibility of doctors and other health professionals.


Physical activity is any activity involving skeletal muscles that causes energy consumption to rise above resting levels (basal metabolism). Each of the factors that determine physical activity—frequency, intensity, time, and type—has an effect on an individual’s general health.

The development and maintenance of bone strength and health depend heavily on physical activity. Bones react to stress and strain, such as circumstances where they must support more weight than usual, in a manner similar to how muscular tissue does. It has been demonstrated that regular physical activity is beneficial. You don’t even need to play any sports; simply jumping, running, or walking quickly would suffice, and doing so every day would be ideal.

Experts advise engaging in 60 or more minutes of vigorous exercise each day because:

  1. Physical exercise improves the health and wellbeing of every body system, but mainly the cardiovascular, muscular, and skeletal systems. You may not think this is significant right now, but as we become older, our bodies will thank us for staying physically active on a regular basis. Physical activity, especially that with a load, impacts the development and higher density of bone mass in addition to the better development and appearance of muscle mass. It’s crucial to have healthy or thicker bones as you become older since they make you less likely to fracture. Better balance, increased strength and mobility, and more energy are some advantages of frequent physical activity.
  2. Exercise has positive effects on mental health in addition to the health of the musculoskeletal and skeletal systems. Exercise can aid with feelings of satisfaction and pride, such as when we complete a goal, as it impacts the release of endorphins, a neurotransmitter generated by the hypothalamus and which makes us feel happy, content, and tranquil. Exercise has been demonstrated to aid in better attention and deeper sleep. Additionally, engaging in physical activity can improve mental health and alter perspective. It can aid those who are depressed or anxious, or perhaps stop the onset of such issues. A person starts to consider other areas of his health, such as nutrition, smoking, and other behaviors, when he starts to exercise regularly.
  3. Staying physically active can improve our appearance and help us maintain a healthy body weight. When the amount of physical activity is matched to the energy intake from the diet, we can attain energy balance and neither gain nor lose weight. Physical activity burns calories gained from digested food. The impact of obesity on the foot can be exceedingly detrimental. When standing, the entire weight is supported by the feet, thus any additional weight might cause pain and edema. One of the biggest causes of foot issues is being overweight. Maintaining this energy balance through regular exercise benefits not just better weight maintenance but also better posture and look, which in turn benefits better satisfaction and general health.
  4. Exercise helps ward off osteoporosis and osteoarthritis. Bone fractures are more common in older persons, especially in women who have osteoporosis (a condition of porous bones). Physical activity is indicated for people who have a high risk of fractures not just to lower that risk but also to enhance balance, strength, and endurance, which lowers the risk of falling. These individuals are recommended to stay away from strenuous activities like running and physical exercise as well as activities like some yoga poses, golfing, etc. that entail changing direction, rotating, or rotating. Exercises that lower the risk of falling and integrate strength, balance, and endurance are advised (strength exercises with your own weight, exercises to develop flexibility, walking, various types of low-intensity aerobics and climbing stairs).
  5. Engaging in physical activity can lower the risk of contracting certain diseases. Regular exercise helps maintain a healthy body weight, which in turn helps avoid type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease (high blood pressure, heart attacks, and coronary artery disease). However, adults are the principal victims of these disorders. Early on in adolescence, the condition becomes more prevalent, primarily as a result of obesity, inactivity, and poor diet. One of the most frequent foot issues is diabetic foot, which is a direct result of diabetes. It is challenging for wounds produced by skin cracking to heal, especially when walking, because of damage to blood vessels and an immune system dysfunction. Blood sugar control and routine checks can help reduce diabetes-related foot complications as well as other problems.

It is implied, nonetheless, that those with diabetes shouldn’t exercise in some circumstances:

  • The presence of peripheral neuropathy and microangiopathy must be considered (damage to nerves and blood vessels in the limbs that ultimately cause diabetic foot).
  • If the function of the sensory nerves is compromised due to the disease, then activities that involve strong contact of the feet with the ground, such as jumping and running, should be avoided – swimming or cycling should be practiced.
  • It is necessary to inspect the feet daily, keep them well lubricated so that the skis glide smoothly.
  • Physical activity should normally be avoided until the issue has healed in this scenario as it could exacerbate the diabetic foot’s condition.
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