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Why Exercise?


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Studies reveal that regular exercise not only adds years to your life, but also life to your years. Regular physical activity is a very important component of a healthy lifestyle. And there are so many ways to keep fit - walking, cycling, swimming, jogging, working out in a gym or whatever you enjoy doing. And those who enjoy the physical activity in which they engage, gain the most benefit. 

Furthermore, there are many fitness centers and plenty of sports equipment for home use to challenge the couch potatoes in our society. We must plan our schedule to include some type of exercise every day. It is important that we engage in physical activity for about 30 minutes a day. And remember, the slower the activity, the greater amount of time one needs to engage in that activity. 

Unfortunately, four out of every five adult Americans either don’t exercise enough or just don’t exercise at all. They say they don't have enough time. And since children are not exercising enough, we have produced a generation of overweight adolescents.

Brisk walking is the activity of choice for many people. Walking does not require any expensive clothing or footwear, can usually be done anywhere, at any time of the year, can be enjoyed by all ages, and is not associated with any significant risk of injury. In severe weather conditions, one has to choose an alternative indoor activity. 

The benefits of a regular exercise program includes:

  • helps to lower blood pressure
  • lowers LDL cholesterol levels, while raising the good HDL cholesterol levels
  • decreases the risk of blood clots
  • improves the heart rhythm
  • protects against heart disease
  • reduces the risk of colon and other cancers
  • increases bone mineralization and decreases the risk of osteoporosis
  • helps better regulate blood sugar levels and improves insulin sensitivity
  • boosts the immune system
  • improves management of one’s body weight
  • decreases anxiety and depression
  • improves mental capacity, blood circulation and digestion
  • reduces stress levels; boosts self-confidence
  • improves the quality of sleep
  • delays fatigue
  • decreases death rates from all causes.
Studies conducted by Steven Blair at the Institute for Aerobics Research in Dallas showed that the health benefits of exercise are achieved by regular, moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking. Blair also stresses that the total amount of activity is more important than the type or intensity of the activity. Health benefits can be achieved without having to resort to high-intensity, Olympic-style training. Furthermore, if exercise is enjoyable and is done with a friend, it is more likely to part of our regular lifestyle.

By Winston J. Craig, R.D. Copyright © 2015 by GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines.

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