Choose Your Exercise Routine

By Dr. Jean Harvey, Ph.D., R.D., Joyce Hendley, M.S., EatingWell Editors, "Choose Your Regimen," The EatingWell Diet (2007)

Tips to help work exercise into your daily life.

In case you need more convincing…

If losing weight, having more energy and looking and feeling great aren’t incentive enough to get you moving more, just think about how happy it will make your doctor. There are literally dozens of medical reasons why exercise is probably one of the most important things you can do for your health. Studies show that regular physical activity can:

  • Keep your heart healthy by strengthening your heart muscle and making it more efficient, lowering blood pressure and boosting your levels of heart-friendly HDLs (high-density lipoproteins).
  • Help reduce risks of some types of chronic diseases, including breast cancer and some aggressive forms of prostate cancer. If you have diabetes or are “borderline,” regular exercise can improve your blood-sugar control. Got arthritis? Strength training and aerobic exercise might help boost flexibility and strength.
  • Keep your brain sharp. Regular exercise helps improve blood flow to the brain, and regular exercisers tend to do better in maintaining cognitive ability as they age.
  • Help you live longer. A recent report from the long-term Framingham Heart Study—which has been gathering health data from more than 5,000 people for almost six decades—found that those participants who had moderate or high levels of activity lived 1.3 or 3.7 years longer, respectively, than those who were mostly sedentary.

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