I know of no one who has taken up regular exercise who says that it hasn’t improved his or her life. From Ross Pomeroy at realclearscience.com:
Fewer than one in four Americans get enough physical exercise, defined as at least 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity each week, coupled with two bouts of muscle-strengthening. While this statistic may come across as societal scolding – easily ignored – it has huge ramifications for Americans’ lives and the economy.
Why? It’s simple: exercise may be the most potent and easily accessible tool humans have for improving their lives. If the myriad benefits of exercise could be bottled into a drug, it would be rightfully hailed as a “miracle” treatment. Regular exercise prevents and even reverses type II diabetes, drastically reduces the chances of heart attack and stroke, lowers the odds of developing cancer and dementia, and boosts the immune system, shortening the duration of syndromes like the common cold, influenza, and COVID-19 as well as reducing their severity. There’s more: exercise improves your sex life, prevents or ameliorates depression, helps you sleep, alleviates chronic pain, and makes you less susceptible to all sorts of injuries.
Unfortunately, hundreds of millions of Americans are unable or unwilling to take advantage of these real and tangible advantages. This has consequences. According to a 2018 study conducted by the Centers for Disease Control, 8.3% of yearly deaths in nondisabled adults 25 or older can be attributed to inadequate physical activity. MBA students at the University of North Carolina (UNC) translated these preventable deaths into terms of life expectancy. They estimated that Americans’ lack of exercise cost men 6.2 years of life and women 5.6 years.