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Be Active: Keep Your Body Healthy

Jul 27, 2008
When you are physically active, your body will become more fit and will look fantastic. Exercise is extremely important to keep your body healthy. It becomes even more important as we get older. Physical activity promotes health and helps reduce your risk of disease. It lowers your risk of heart disease and obesity; helps your bones stay healthy and strengthens muscles and joints. Exercise is also important for your mental health by improving memory and concentration.

Physical activity reduces the risk of diabetes and colon cancer, and helps to lower high blood pressure. It helps to improve mood swings and instills confidence. And, that's just the tip of the iceberg. Already, you can see how important it is to keep your body moving.

More and more people are becoming more active. This lifestyle choice is keeping mortality rates at a lower level. Estimates show that 40% of women in the United States are now engaged in some type of regular exercise. If you're one of them, keep up the good work! If not...get moving!

How much exercise is needed?

You don't have to be an all-star athlete to get healthy benefits from exercise. It takes a smaller amount of activity that you'd think to keep your body healthy. So, if you're not exercising because you don't have enough time for long workouts, find another excuse! You only need to exercise for 30 minutes three times a week. And, it doesn't have to be all at one time. You can break it down to 10 minute workouts several times a day.

You also don't need to go to a gym or have fancy equipment for exercise to be effective. Go for a walk or ride your bicycle. Play tag with the kids. Just start moving. I don't believe a "formal" exercise program is necessary as long as you're active. Gardening, walking, climbing stairs, swimming and jogging can all improve your health. For beginners, 5 to 10 minutes of exercise a few times a week is a good place to start.

There are three types of exercise.

A complete fitness program includes three different types of exercise according to the American Council of Exercise.

1. Aerobic exercise uses large muscle groups in a continuous, rhythmic fashion for sustained periods of time. The exercise has to be for a long enough period to get the heart and lungs pumping blood and oxygen throughout the body. Dancing, swimming and running are all aerobic activities.

2. Muscular strength and endurance conditioning includes the use of weights or weight lifting. All major muscle groups (arms, chest, back, stomach, hips and legs) are used. These types of weight-bearing exercises are especially important for strengthening bones and preventing the development of osteoporosis. Walking is considered a weight-bearing exercise as well as an aerobic exercise, so you get "two for one" just by taking a walk!

3. Flexibility means stretching that involves all major muscle groups. You should stretch your muscles before and after each aerobic activity to warm up (and cool down) your muscles. This helps prevent painful cramping.

If you haven't been physically active for a while, start out slow and work your way up to more vigorous exercises. You can prevent injuries by taking this precaution. But, DO start moving! The sooner you start, the sooner you will see results.
About the Author
Jude Wright is the owner of DietersCookbook.com Stop by for more tips on weight loss and exercise and find low fat recipes to try.
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