Physical exercise is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, as well as for the purpose of enjoyment. Frequent and regular physical exercise boosts the immune system, and helps prevent the "diseases of affluence" such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes and obesity. It also improves mental health, helps prevent depression, helps to promote or maintain positive self esteem, and can even augment an individual's sex appeal or body image, which is also found to be linked with higher levels of self esteem. Childhood obesity is a growing global concern and physical exercise may help decrease some of the effects of childhood and adult obesity. Health care providers often call exercise the "miracle" or "wonder" drug—alluding to the wide variety of proven benefits that it provides
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The Compendium of Physical Activities was developed for use in epidemiologic studies to standardize the assignment of metabolic equivalent of task (MET) intensities in physical activity questionnaires. The Compendium is list of physical activities and the associated energy cost of each activity. The original Compendium was published in 1993, the first update in 2000, and the most recent update in 2011.
MET (Metabolic Equivalent): The ratio of the work metabolic rate to the resting metabolic rate. One MET is defined as 1 kcal/kg/hour and is roughly equivalent to the energy cost of sitting quietly. A MET also is defined as oxygen uptake in ml/kg/min with one MET equal to the oxygen cost of sitting quietly, equivalent to 3.5 ml/kg/min.