The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services offers an even longer list of health benefits attributed to exercise. For example, physical activity has been shown to reduce the risk of developing or dying from heart disease, diabetes, colon cancer, and high blood pressure. On average, people who are physically active outlive those who are inactive (1).
A good exercise program, in combination with a healthy diet, (one that is balanced and contains a variety of nutritious foods), can increase life expectancy by keeping the heart and body healthy, and preventing many long-term illnesses. Body weight can be kept to an acceptable level leading to a lifestyle that can be active and an improved quality of life - an ability to do things you enjoy for longer periods of time.
U. S. Department of Health and Human Services. Physical Activity Fundamental To Preventing Disease. U. S. Department of Health and Human Services, 2002.
Kerksick, C., A. Thomas, B. Campbell, L. Taylor, C. Wilborn, B. Marcello, M. Roberts, E. Pfau, M. Grimstvedt, J. Opusunju, T. Magrans-Courtney, C. Rasmussen, R. Wilson, and R. Kreider. Effects of a popular exercise and weight loss program on weight loss, body composition, energy expenditure and health in obese women. Nutrition & Metabolism. 6:23, 2009.