Physical inactivity leads to increased incidence of a variety of diseases and it can be regarded as one of the end points of the exercise-associated hormesis curve. On the other hand, regular exercise, with moderate intensity and duration, has a wide range of beneficial effects on the body including the fact that it improves cardio-vascular function, partly by a nitric oxide-mediated adaptation, and may reduce the incidence of Alzheimer's disease by enhanced concentration of neurotrophins and by the modulation of redox homeostasis. Mechanical damage-mediated adaptation results in increased muscle mass and increased resistance to stressors. Physical inactivity or strenuous exercise bouts increase the risk of infection, while moderate exercise up-regulates the immune system. Single bouts of exercise increases, and regular exercise decreases the oxidative challenge to the body, whereas excessive exercise and overtraining lead to damaging oxidative stress and thus are an indication of the other end point of the hormetic response. Based upon the genetic setup, regular moderate physical exercise/activity provides systemic beneficial effects, including improved physiological function, decreased incidence of disease and a higher quality of life.
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