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How Important is Exercise?

  • The combination of physical inactivity and a poor diet contributes to 300,000 preventable deaths each year in the United States, second only to tobacco. 
  • To be healthy, adults need 30 minutes of physical activity every day; children and teens need 60 minutes of physical activity every day. 
  • We lose ½ pound of muscle per year after the age of twenty. 
  • People who do not exercise at all have the same health risk as smokers. 
  • Thin people can have more body fat than heavier people who exercise. 
  • Astronauts lose 15 percent of their bone and muscle after 14 days in space. 
  • Moderate daily exercise can substantially reduce the risk of developing or dying from cardiovascular disease (heart attacks, strokes), type 2 diabetes, gallbladder disease, and cancer. 
  • Daily exercise also helps to lower blood pressure and cholesterol, helps prevent osteoporosis, and helps reduce obesity, symptoms of anxiety, depression and arthritis. 

Benefits of Exercise

  • Simulates brain function 
  • Decreases blood pressure 
  • Dramatically decreases blood sugar and insulin levels by literally burning up sugars 
  • Expands the size of coronary arteries 
  • Greatly decreases the incidence of repeat heart attacks 
  • Improves digestion, absorption, and elimination of food 
  • Increases bone strength and bone density 
  • Provides excellent therapy for depression 
  • Decreases addictive cravings 
  • Improves sleep 
  • Builds self-esteem and confidence 
  • Increases stress tolerance 
  • Reduces risk of chronic diseases including diabetes, osteoporosis, hypertension and some cancers 
  • Increases level of good cholesterol; decreased total cholesterol 
  • Increases heart and lung strength 
  • Increases metabolism - helps maintain lean body mass and revs up energy production in the cells 
  • Improves mental outlook, feeling of satisfaction and self-worth 

Tips for Exercise Success

  • If you've been sedentary for a long time, are overweight, have a high risk of coronary heart disease or some other chronic health problem, see your doctor for a medical evaluation before beginning a physical activity program. 
  • Choose activities that are fun, not exhausting. Add variety. Wear comfortable, properly fitted footwear and comfortable, loose-fitting clothing appropriate for the weather and the activity. 
  • Find a convenient time and place to do activities. Try to make it a habit, but be flexible. If you miss an exercise opportunity, work activity into your day another way. 
  • Use music to keep you entertained. 
  • Surround yourself with supportive people. Do you want them to remind you to exercise? Ask about your progress? Participate with you regularly or occasionally? Allow you time to exercise by yourself? Go with you to a special event, such as a 10K walk/run? Be understanding when you get up early to exercise? Spend time with the children while you exercise? Try not to ask you to change your exercise routine? 
  • Share your activity time with others. Make a date with a family member, friend or co-worker. Be an active role model for your children. 
  • Don't overdo it. Do low-to-moderate-level activities, especially at first. You can slowly increase the duration and intensity of your activities as you become more fit. 
  • Keep a record of your activities. Reward yourself at special milestones. Nothing motivates like success! 

Source: The Plan B Diet by Greg Westbrook