We're unable to sign you in at this time. Please try again in a few minutes.
We were able to sign you in, but your subscription(s) could not be found. Please try again in a few minutes.
There may be a problem with your account. Please contact the AMA Service Center to resolve this issue.
Contact the AMA Service Center:
Telephone: 1 (800) 262-2350 or 1 (312) 670-7827  *   Email: subscriptions@jamanetwork.com
Error Message ......
JAMA Patient Page |

Fitness FREE

Janet M. Torpy, MD, Writer; Cassio Lynm, MA, Illustrator; Richard M. Glass, MD, Editor
JAMA. 2005;294(23):3048. doi:10.1001/jama.294.23.3048.
Text Size: A A A
Published online

Inactivity leads to loss of muscle, obesity, and reduced functional ability. Low physical fitness increases risk for cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and some types of cancer. Individuals who are physically fit can do more things, have better endurance for activities and tasks, and are healthier than persons who have low fitness. Obesity and low physical fitness are often related, but thin persons are not necessarily physically fit just because they are thin. Even small increases in physical fitness can make a big difference to a person's health. Incorporating small changes into daily activities can slowly and gradually improve fitness, leading to better health. The December 21, 2005, issue of JAMA includes an article about physical fitness and its effects on cardiovascular diseases.


Five components of fitness include cardiorespiratory (heart and lungs) endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, and flexibility. Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability to perform sustained physical activity, such as walking, swimming, or running. Muscular strength and endurance are linked and are improved by using weight-bearing exercise, such as weight lifting or using resistance bands. The proportions of muscle, fat, and body water make up body composition. Flexibility is related to range of motion and is improved by gently and consistently stretching muscles and the connective tissues surrounding them.


  • Improved sense of well-being

  • Weight loss (increasing muscle mass increases the metabolic rate, and more calories are burned per unit of exercise performed)

  • Reduced risk of diabetes, heart and vascular disease, some types of cancers, and stroke

  • Reduced risk of osteoporosis (thin bones)

  • Improved management of chronic medical problems, such as diabetes, high blood pressure, cardiac disease, obesity, chronic pain, and lung disorders


  • Walking or jogging

  • Swimming

  • Bicycle riding

  • Weight-bearing exercise (weight lifting, resistance bands, activity involving the whole body)

  • Stretching (including yoga or tai chi exercises)

  • Participation in active sports such as tennis, basketball, soccer

  • Group exercises


  • Park the car in the farthest spot from the entrance and walk the extra distance.

  • Get off the bus one stop before your destination and walk the extra distance.

  • Take the stairs instead of the elevator.

  • Take walking breaks during the work day.

  • Take a 10-minute walk during your lunch break.

  • Walk a dog or play outside with the kids.

  • Dance to your favorite music.

  • Use housecleaning as an exercise opportunity.

  • Ask a friend, family member, or coworker to walk with you instead of sitting down after a meal.



To find this and previous JAMA Patient Pages, go to the Patient Page link on JAMA's Web site at http://www.jama.com. Many are available in English and Spanish. A Patient Page on obesity was published in the April 9, 2003, issue.

Sources: National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention; National Cancer Institute

The JAMA Patient Page is a public service of JAMA. The information and recommendations appearing on this page are appropriate in most instances, but they are not a substitute for medical diagnosis. For specific information concerning your personal medical condition, JAMA suggests that you consult your physician. This page may be photocopied noncommercially by physicians and other health care professionals to share with patients. To purchase bulk reprints, call 718/946-7424.




Also Meets CME requirements for:
Browse CME for all U.S. States
Accreditation Information
The American Medical Association is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Continuing Medical Education to provide continuing medical education for physicians. The AMA designates this journal-based CME activity for a maximum of 1 AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM per course. Physicians should claim only the credit commensurate with the extent of their participation in the activity. Physicians who complete the CME course and score at least 80% correct on the quiz are eligible for AMA PRA Category 1 CreditTM.
Note: You must get at least of the answers correct to pass this quiz.
Please click the checkbox indicating that you have read the full article in order to submit your answers.
Your answers have been saved for later.
You have not filled in all the answers to complete this quiz
The following questions were not answered:
Sorry, you have unsuccessfully completed this CME quiz with a score of
The following questions were not answered correctly:
Commitment to Change (optional):
Indicate what change(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.
Your quiz results:
The filled radio buttons indicate your responses. The preferred responses are highlighted
For CME Course: A Proposed Model for Initial Assessment and Management of Acute Heart Failure Syndromes
Indicate what changes(s) you will implement in your practice, if any, based on this CME course.


Some tools below are only available to our subscribers or users with an online account.

0 Citations

Related Content

Customize your page view by dragging & repositioning the boxes below.

Articles Related By Topic
Related Collections
PubMed Articles

Promoción de la salud en el ciclo de vida