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Real-Life Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity

On this page:

Why is physical activity important?

Emotional benefits of exercise.

Exercise and physical activity are good for just about everyone, including older adults. No matter your health and physical abilities, you can gain a lot by staying active. In fact, studies show that “taking it easy” is risky. Often, inactivity is more to blame than age when older people lose the ability to do things on their own. Lack of physical activity also can lead to more visits to the doctor, more hospitalizations, and more use of medicines for a variety of illnesses.

Including all 4 types of exercise can benefit a wide range of areas of your life. Staying active can help you:

Four Types of Exercise infographic. Click to open infographic webpage.

Infographic, Tips To boost Your Health As You Age. Click link for full infographic

Research has shown that exercise is not only good for your physical health, it also supports emotional and mental health. You can exercise with a friend and get the added benefit of emotional support. So, next time you’re feeling down, anxious, or stressed, try to get up and start moving!

Physical activity can help:

In addition, exercise and physical activity may possibly improve or maintain some aspects of cognitive function , such as your ability to shift quickly between tasks, plan an activity, and ignore irrelevant information.

The Mental Health Benefits of Exercise and Physical Activity infographic. Click to open webpage

Here are some exercise ideas to help you lift your mood:

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Content reviewed: April 03, 2020

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Exercise: 7 benefits of regular physical activity.

You know exercise is good for you, but do you know how good? From boosting your mood to improving your sex life, find out how exercise can improve your life.

Want to feel better, have more energy and even add years to your life? Just exercise.

The health benefits of regular exercise and physical activity are hard to ignore. Everyone benefits from exercise, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.

Need more convincing to get moving? Check out these seven ways that exercise can lead to a happier, healthier you.

1. Exercise controls weight

Exercise can help prevent excess weight gain or help maintain weight loss. When you engage in physical activity, you burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you burn.

Regular trips to the gym are great, but don't worry if you can't find a large chunk of time to exercise every day. Any amount of activity is better than none at all. To reap the benefits of exercise, just get more active throughout your day — take the stairs instead of the elevator or rev up your household chores. Consistency is key.

2. Exercise combats health conditions and diseases

Worried about heart disease? Hoping to prevent high blood pressure? No matter what your current weight is, being active boosts high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol, the "good" cholesterol, and it decreases unhealthy triglycerides. This one-two punch keeps your blood flowing smoothly, which decreases your risk of cardiovascular diseases.

Regular exercise helps prevent or manage many health problems and concerns, including:

  • Metabolic syndrome
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Many types of cancer

It can also help improve cognitive function and helps lower the risk of death from all causes.

3. Exercise improves mood

Need an emotional lift? Or need to destress after a stressful day? A gym session or brisk walk can help. Physical activity stimulates various brain chemicals that may leave you feeling happier, more relaxed and less anxious.

You may also feel better about your appearance and yourself when you exercise regularly, which can boost your confidence and improve your self-esteem.

4. Exercise boosts energy

Winded by grocery shopping or household chores? Regular physical activity can improve your muscle strength and boost your endurance.

Exercise delivers oxygen and nutrients to your tissues and helps your cardiovascular system work more efficiently. And when your heart and lung health improve, you have more energy to tackle daily chores.

5. Exercise promotes better sleep

Struggling to snooze? Regular physical activity can help you fall asleep faster, get better sleep and deepen your sleep. Just don't exercise too close to bedtime, or you may be too energized to go to sleep.

6. Exercise puts the spark back into your sex life

Do you feel too tired or too out of shape to enjoy physical intimacy? Regular physical activity can improve energy levels and increase your confidence about your physical appearance, which may boost your sex life.

But there's even more to it than that. Regular physical activity may enhance arousal for women. And men who exercise regularly are less likely to have problems with erectile dysfunction than are men who don't exercise.

7. Exercise can be fun … and social!

Exercise and physical activity can be enjoyable. They give you a chance to unwind, enjoy the outdoors or simply engage in activities that make you happy. Physical activity can also help you connect with family or friends in a fun social setting.

So take a dance class, hit the hiking trails or join a soccer team. Find a physical activity you enjoy, and just do it. Bored? Try something new, or do something with friends or family.

The bottom line on exercise

Exercise and physical activity are great ways to feel better, boost your health and have fun. For most healthy adults, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recommends these exercise guidelines:

  • Aerobic activity. Get at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity a week, or a combination of moderate and vigorous activity. The guidelines suggest that you spread out this exercise during the course of a week. To provide even greater health benefit and to assist with weight loss or maintaining weight loss, at least 300 minutes a week is recommended. But even small amounts of physical activity are helpful. Being active for short periods of time throughout the day can add up to provide health benefit.
  • Strength training. Do strength training exercises for all major muscle groups at least two times a week. Aim to do a single set of each exercise using a weight or resistance level heavy enough to tire your muscles after about 12 to 15 repetitions.

Moderate aerobic exercise includes activities such as brisk walking, biking, swimming and mowing the lawn. Vigorous aerobic exercise includes activities such as running, heavy yardwork and aerobic dancing. Strength training can include use of weight machines, your own body weight, heavy bags, resistance tubing or resistance paddles in the water, or activities such as rock climbing.

If you want to lose weight, meet specific fitness goals or get even more benefits, you may need to ramp up your moderate aerobic activity even more.

Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any concerns about your fitness, haven't exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis.

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  • AskMayoExpert. Physical activity (adult). Mayo Clinic; 2021.
  • Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans. 2nd ed. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. https://health.gov/our-work/physical-activity/current-guidelines. Accessed June 25, 2021.
  • Peterson DM. The benefits and risk of aerobic exercise. https://www.uptodate.com/contents/search. Accessed June 24, 2021.
  • Maseroli E, et al. Physical activity and female sexual dysfunction: A lot helps, but not too much. The Journal of Sexual Medicine. 2021; doi:10.1016/j.jsxm.2021.04.004.
  • Allen MS. Physical activity as an adjunct treatment for erectile dysfunction. Nature Reviews: Urology. 2019; doi:10.1038/s41585-019-0210-6.
  • Tips for starting physical activity. National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases. https://www.niddk.nih.gov/health-information/weight-management/tips-get-active/tips-starting-physical-activity. Accessed June 25, 2021.
  • Laskowski ER (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic. June 16, 2021.

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Benefits of Physical Activity

Obesity and Excess Weight Increase Risk of Severe Illness; Racial and Ethnic Disparities Persist

Food Assistance and Food Systems Resources

Immediate Benefits

Weight management, reduce your health risk, strengthen your bones and muscles, improve your ability to do daily activities and prevent falls, increase your chances of living longer, manage chronic health conditions & disabilities.

Regular physical activity is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Being physically active can improve your brain health , help manage weight , reduce the risk of disease , strengthen bones and muscles , and improve your ability to do everyday activities .

Adults who sit less and do any amount of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity gain some health benefits. Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity.

Everyone can experience the health benefits of physical activity – age, abilities, ethnicity, shape, or size do not matter.

Some benefits of physical activity on brain health [PDF-14.4MB] happen right after a session of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity. Benefits include improved thinking or cognition for children 6 to 13 years of age and reduced short-term feelings of anxiety for adults. Regular physical activity can help keep your thinking, learning, and judgment skills sharp as you age. It can also reduce your risk of depression and anxiety and help you sleep better.

Both eating patterns and physical activity routines play a critical role in weight management. You gain weight when you consume more calories through eating and drinking than the amount of calories you burn , including those burned during physical activity.

To maintain your weight:  Work your way up to 150 minutes a week of moderate physical activity, which could include dancing or yard work. You could achieve the goal of 150 minutes a week with 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week.

People vary greatly in how much physical activity they need for weight management. You may need to be more active than others to reach or maintain a healthy weight.

To lose weight and keep it off: You will need a high amount of physical activity unless you also adjust your eating patterns and reduce the amount of calories you’re eating and drinking. Getting to and staying at a healthy weight requires both regular physical activity and healthy eating.

See more information about:

  • Getting started with weight loss .
  • Getting started with physical activity .
  • Improving your eating patterns .

Benefits of Physical Activity

As you age, it’s important to protect your bones, joints, and muscles – they support your body and help you move. Keeping bones, joints, and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active.

Muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength. This is important for older adults who experience reduced muscle mass and muscle strength with aging. Slowly increasing the amount of weight and number of repetitions you do as part of muscle strengthening activities will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

Everyday activities include climbing stairs, grocery shopping, or playing with your grandchildren. Being unable to do everyday activities is called a functional limitation. Physically active middle-aged or older adults have a lower risk of functional limitations than people who are inactive.

For older adults, doing a variety of physical activity improves physical function and decreases the risk of falls or injury from a fall . Include physical activities such as aerobic, muscle strengthening, and balance training. Multicomponent physical activity can be done at home or in a community setting as part of a structured program.

Hip fracture is a serious health condition that can result from a fall. Breaking a hip have life-changing negative effects, especially if you’re an older adult. Physically active people have a lower risk of hip fracture than inactive people.

See physical activity recommendations for different groups, including:

  • Children age 3-5 .
  • Children and adolescents age 6-17 .
  • Adults age 18-64 .
  • Adults 65 and older .
  • Adults with chronic health conditions and disabilities .
  • Healthy pregnant and postpartum women .

An estimated 110,000 deaths  per year could be prevented if US adults ages 40 and older increased their moderate-to-vigorous physical activity by a small amount. Even 10 minutes more a day would make a difference.

Taking more steps a day also helps lower the risk of premature death from all causes. For adults younger than 60, the risk of premature death leveled off at about 8,000 to 10,000 steps per day. For adults 60 and older, the risk of premature death leveled off at about 6,000 to 8,000 steps per day.

Regular physical activity can help people manage existing chronic conditions and disabilities. For example, regular physical activity can:

  • Reduce pain and improve function, mood, and quality of life for adults with arthritis.
  • Help control blood sugar levels and lower risk of heart disease and nerve damage for people with type 2 diabetes.
  • Health Benefits Associated with Physical Activity for People with Chronic Conditions and Disabilities [PDF-14.4MB]
  • Key Recommendations for Adults with Chronic Conditions and Disabilities [PDF-14.4MB]

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The secret to better health — exercise

Whether you're 9 or 90, abundant evidence shows exercise can enhance your health and well-being. But for many people, sedentary pastimes, such as watching TV, surfing the Internet, or playing computer and video games, have replaced more active pursuits.

What exercise can do for you

Millions of Americans simply aren't moving enough to meet the minimum threshold for good health — that is, burning at least 700 to 1,000 calories a week through physical pursuits. The benefits of exercise may sound too good to be true, but decades of solid science confirm that exercise improves health and can extend your life. Adding as little as half an hour of moderately intense physical activity to your day can help you avoid a host of serious ailments, including heart disease, diabetes, depression, and several types of cancer, particularly breast and colon cancers. Regular exercise can also help you sleep better, reduce stress, control your weight, brighten your mood, sharpen your mental functioning, and improve your sex life.

A well-rounded exercise program has four components: aerobic activity, strength training, flexibility training, and balance exercises. Each benefits your body in a different way.

Fighting disease with aerobic activity

Aerobic exercise is the centerpiece of any fitness program. Nearly all of the research regarding the disease-fighting benefits of exercise revolves around cardiovascular activity, which includes walking, jogging, swimming, and cycling. Experts recommend working out at moderate intensity when you perform aerobic exercise — brisk walking that quickens your breathing is one example. This level of activity is safe for almost everyone and provides the desired health benefits. Additional health benefits may flow from increased intensity.

Protecting bone with strength training

Strength or resistance training, such as elastic-band workouts and the use of weight machines or free weights, is important for building muscle and protecting bone.

Bones lose calcium and weaken with age, but strength training can help slow or sometimes even reverse this trend. Not only can strength training make you look and feel better, but it can also result in better performance of everyday activities, such as climbing stairs and carrying bundles. Stronger muscles also mean better mobility and balance, and thus a lower risk of falling and injuring yourself. In addition, more lean body mass aids in weight control because each pound of muscle burns more calories than its equivalent in fat.

Easing back pain with flexibility exercises

Stretching or flexibility training is the third prong of a balanced exercise program. Muscles tend to shorten and weaken with age. Shorter, stiffer muscle fibers make you vulnerable to injuries, back pain, and stress. But regularly performing exercises that isolate and stretch the elastic fibers surrounding your muscles and tendons can counteract this process. And stretching improves your posture and balance.

Preventing falls with balance exercises

Balance tends to erode over time, and regularly performing balance exercises is one of the best ways to protect against falls that lead to temporary or permanent disability. Balance exercises take only a few minutes and often fit easily into the warm-up portion of a workout. Many strength-training exercises also serve as balance exercises. Or balance-enhancing movements may simply be woven into other forms of exercise, such as tai chi, yoga, and Pilates.

Exercise at a glance

In a nutshell, exercise can:

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what are the benefits of exercise essay

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Essay about Exercise – Benefits

Is exercise beneficial? How is it good for you? And what is exercise? Essays like the one below will help you discover the answers to these questions.

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Do you want to live a good life feeling great with improved mental psyche and energy levels void of some chronic diseases coupled with sound sleep all in one package? Look no further; regular exercising will offer this all-inclusive package of benefits. Many people just know very little about goodness of exercise; regrettably, they do not know how good it can get over time.

The good news is that, exercise delivers results regardless of sex, occupation, physical ability, or age. Exercise results are yours for taking; once you put the input, the output is almost certain.

Unfortunately, people will always find excuses for not exercising and even some will quote myths associated with exercise for them to stay out. Many exercise activities are not strenuous and require very little efforts; for instance, dancing for fun. The truth is; exercise is good because it will help you have good moods, manage chronic diseases, and manage weight giving you good shape.

Goodness of Exercise

Exercise helps in improving one’s mood and mind status. Mood is a state of mind. Physical activity triggers the body to release chemicals known as endorphins. These chemicals enable one to be happy and peaceful. The contemporary society is set in a way that people can work without involving a lot of physical exercise.

Moreover, many people are being forced by circumstances to take jobs that they do not like. Chances that such people will slump into stress, depression, low self-esteem, and insomnia are high.

However, exercising improves all these by improving one’s mood. For instance, during exercise, individuals set goals and by beating the timeline to accomplish these set goals, make one feel good and this improves his or her self-confidence and self-esteem. It is logical that a confident and self-esteemed person will have good moods. Human body is made up of active cells and they need to be kept active; exercise offers these.

As Mayo Clinic Staff posit, “As you exercise, your body gets fitter and stronger, and thus, your mind starts seeing everything, including yourself in a better light” (Para 4). Have you ever heard of people claiming the only thing they do when stressed up is exercise? These few individuals have discovered the secret to let go of in-built pressure. Brain is made up of muscles and exercise is good for brain muscles just as food is good for the body.

Good news to those battling with chronic diseases as hypertension, diabetes and osteoporosis among others; exercise is the way out. Research indicates that regular exercise combats these diseases. According to Hawk, “exercise is the silver bullet for improved health” (Para. 1). In combating heart diseases, exercise strengthens heart muscles, increases High Density Lipoproteins (HDLs), and reduces Low Density Lipoproteins (LDLs). These lipoproteins are cholesterol derivatives and scientists term HDL as ‘good’ cholesterol and LDL as ‘bad’ cholesterol.

Reduction of LDL with subsequent increase of HDL promotes smooth blood flow and replenishes heart functions. In Type II diabetes, the body is insensitive to insulin probably due to weight gain amongst other causes. Exercise helps in shedding weight and this makes the body insulin sensitive. Consequently, this insulin breaks down sugar molecules in the body thus lowering blood sugar levels eventually combating diabetes type II.

Nowadays, poor feeding habits and little or no exercise makes people as young as fifteen to suffer from osteoporosis. However, exercise offers reprieve to this nightmare by strengthening bone tissue formation and maintenance. Finally, research indicates that exercise improves immune system response and this helps to keep minor infections at bay.

Finally, exercise helps in keeping body shape. No one likes obesity or out of shape body. Unfortunately, many people love talking how they hate their over weight bodies without doing anything about it; lip service. Exercise is the way to attaining that elusive figure you have always craved for, over the years.

It is natural that, during physical exercise, the body burns thousands of calories. Body weight results from excess energy, which is converted to fat and stored in different body parts. As one exercises, metabolism rate increases leading to breakdown of fats making your body slimmer and healthy.

Research indicates that, “To lose one pound of fat, you must burn approximately 3500 calories over and above what you already burn doing daily activities” (Buemann & Tremblay 193). These researchers make it clear that normal daily activities are not sufficient to burn the required calories in the body; therefore, exercise is the way out. Fortunately, you do not need to check into a gym to manage weight loss; far from it, 20 to 30 minute walk every day or cycling for fun is enough to keep weight gain under control.

Unfortunately, many people complain that exercise is not good because it is not fun. This is true and it does not apply to exercise alone; it applies to anything that someone does. If you do not enjoy what you are doing, it can never be fun. However, the claims that exercise is not fun are only excuses; not reasons. The fact is, there are many exercise programs, and out of them, every one can find a program that excites him or her. Exercise can be done in a group or individually.

Moreover, most of practices that people do for fun qualify as exercises. For instance, taking a stroll in the neighborhood in the evening is enough to relax one’s mind. Teenagers are fond of cycling for fun; however, even though they do not know it, cycling is a great lot of exercise.

So, what is the way out of these excuses? Identify an exercise that excites you; an exercise that you will do without much hustle. For instance, decide to engage in flexibility training exercises like yoga and sit-ups or even join a dancing group. By doing something that excites you, fun will be inevitable. However, remember to do whatever you are doing on purpose with discipline. Discipline is the key to any successful story you will ever hear.

Exercise is all-inclusive package that will enable you live almost a stress-free life, full of energy with improved self esteem and sound sleep not forgetting how you will be able to combat some diseases like hypertension and diabetes type II. During exercise, the body releases endorphins that restore peace and felicity.

Moreover, nothing equals the thrill that one gets by accomplishing set goals and exercise offers this opportunity to set both short and long-term goals and accomplish them. Again, exercise prompts the body to produce more ‘good’ cholesterol and eliminate the ‘bad’ one thus improving blood flow thus keeping hypertension at bay.

Any good doctor will tell you exercise is as essential as sleep or feeding. Finally, exercise enables you to maintain body shape by shedding those extra pounds. Unfortunately, many people complain that exercise is not fun; however, this is just an excuse, not a reason. There are many exercise programs to choose from, every one can get a program that excites him or her, and as the excitement sets in, fun follows. Anyway, who does not want to live a peaceful and happy life? Not even you, start exercising and start today.

Buemann, Baines & Tremblay, Albert. “Effects of Exercise Training On Abdominal Obesity and Related Metabolic Complications”. Sports Medicine. 2007, 21(1): 191-212.

Hawk, Patricia. “Here’s why Exercise is good for You.” 2009.

Mayo Clinic Staff. “ Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity. ” 2010. Web.

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Importance of Exercise Essay

500+ words essay on the importance of exercise.

We all know that exercise is extremely important in our daily lives, but we may not know why or what exercise can do. It’s important to remember that we have evolved from nomadic ancestors who spent all their time moving around in search of food and shelter, travelling large distances on a daily basis. Our bodies are designed and have evolved to be regularly active. Over time, people may come across problems if they sit down all day at a desk or in front of the TV and minimise the amount of exercise they do. Exercise is a bodily movement performed in order to develop or maintain physical fitness and good health overall. Exercise leads to the physical exertion of sufficient intensity, duration and frequency to achieve or maintain vigour and health. This essay on the importance of exercise will help students become familiar with the several benefits of doing exercise regularly. They must go through this essay so as to get an idea of how to write essays on similar topics.

Need of Exercise

The human body is like a complex and delicate machine, which comprises several small parts. A slight malfunction of one part leads to the breakdown of the machine. In a similar way, if such a situation arises in the human body, it also leads to malfunctioning of the body. Exercise is one of the healthy lifestyles which contributes to optimum health and quality of life. People who exercise regularly can reduce their risk of death. By doing exercise, active people increase their life expectancy by two years compared to inactive people. Regular exercise and good physical fitness enhance the quality of life in many ways. Physical fitness and exercise can help us to look good, feel good, and enjoy life. Moreover, exercise provides an enjoyable way to spend leisure time.

Exercise helps a person develop emotional balance and maintain a strong self-image. As people get older, exercise becomes more important. This is because, after the age of 30, the heart’s blood pumping capacity declines at a rate of about 8 per cent each decade. Exercise is also vital for a child’s overall development. Exercising helps to maintain a healthy weight by stoking our metabolism, utilizing and burning the extra calories.

Types of Exercise

There are three broad intensities of exercise:

1) Light exercise – Going for a walk is an example of light exercise. In this, the exerciser is able to talk while exercising.

2) Moderate exercise – Here, the exerciser feels slightly out of breath during the session. Examples could be walking briskly, cycling moderately or walking up a hill.

3) Vigorous exercise – While performing this exercise, the exerciser is panting during the activity. The exerciser feels his/her body being pushed much nearer its limit, compared to the other two intensities. This could include running, cycling fast, and heavy-weight training.

Importance of Exercise

Regular exercise increases our fitness level and physical stamina. It plays a crucial role in the prevention of cardiovascular diseases. It can help with blood lipid abnormalities, diabetes and obesity. Moreover, it can help to reduce blood pressure. Regular exercise substantially reduces the risk of dying of coronary heart disease, and eases the risk of stroke, and colon cancer. People of all age groups benefit from exercising.

Exercise can be effective in improving the mental well-being of human being. It relieves human stress and anxiety. When we come back from work or school, we feel exhausted after a whole day of work. If we can go out to have a walk or jog for at least 30 minutes, it makes us feel happy and relaxed. A number of studies have found that a lifestyle that includes exercise helps alleviate depression. Those who can maintain regular exercise will also reduce their chances of seeing a doctor. Without physical activity, the body’s muscles lose their strength, endurance and ability to function properly. Regular exercise keeps all parts of the body in continuous activity. It improves overall health and fitness, as well as decreases the risk of many chronic diseases. Therefore, physical exercise is very important in our life.

Exercises can play a significant role in keeping the individual, society, community and nation wealthy. If the citizens of a country are healthy, the country is sure to touch heights in every facet of life. The country’s healthy generation can achieve the highest marks in various fields and thereby enable their country to win laurels and glory at the international level. The first step is always the hardest. However, if we can overcome it, and exercise for 21 days continuously, it will be a new beginning for a healthy life.

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Frequently Asked Questions on the Importance of exercises Essay

What are the benefits of exercising regularly.

Regular exercise helps in the relaxation of the mind and body and keeps the body fit. It improves flexibility and blood circulation.

Which are some of the easy exercises that can be done at home?

Sit ups, bicycle crunches, squats, lunges and planks are examples of easy exercises which can be done at home without the help of costly equipment.

Is cycling an effective form of exercise?

Cycling is a low impact exercise and acts as a good muscle workout.

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Benefits of Exercise: What Is the Real Importance

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