Exercise & Fitness

Regular physical activity is the closest thing to a miracle drug! Whether it’s walking, taking the stairs instead of the elevator or running a marathon, it is the closest thing to a miracle drug.

Research has shown that exercise:

  • Helps prevent heart disease and stroke.
  • Lowers blood pressure.
  • Helps control diabetes.
  • Lowers stress levels.
  • Reduces symptoms of anxiety and depression and improves your mood.
  • Prevents obesity.
  • Reduces the risk of certain cancers, including colon cancer.
  • Improves brain function.
  • Helps fight of the common signs of aging, such as arthritis, loss of bone density and memory loss.

Despite the benefits of being fit, over half of Americans get less exercise than they should. Twenty-five percent of Americans get no exercise at all.

Kinds of exercise

Aerobic exercise involves increasing your breathing and heart rate and keeping them at higher levels than normal for an extended period of time. It strengthens the heart and helps burn fat. Examples of aerobic exercise include:

  • Fast walking
  • Running
  • Hiking
  • Biking
  • Swimming
  • Basketball

Anaerobic exercise involves short periods of intense exercise followed be a rest period. This builds muscle and strengthens bones. Weight lifting and sprinting are examples of anaerobic exercise.

How much should you exercise?

Before you get started, it is important to discuss any exercise program with your physician.

If you have not been very physician active you need to start off easy – you may only be able to do five minutes per day and that’s okay. Gradually increase your time until you can manage 20 minutes or more per day. The goal is to increase your heart rate and breathing, you want to feel slightly out of breath. Don’t become overwhelmed with reaching this goal. You can spread exercise out over the course of your day. Research shows that even walking quickly for as little as 30 minutes a day decreases your risk of having a stroke, heart disease and diabetes.