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No substitute for tried and true exercise

No substitute for tried and true exercise

WANT to feel better, have more energy and perhaps even live longer? Look no further than old-fashioned exercise.

The merits of exercise – from preventing chronic health conditions to boosting confidence and self-esteem – are hard to ignore. And the benefits are yours for the taking, regardless of age, sex or physical ability.

Exercising will help lower blood pressure, increase levels of good HDL cholesterol, cut heart attack, keep bones and joints strong, control weight, promote better sleep and ease depression.

The older you are, the more important exercising becomes.

Sixty minutes of physical activity every day is one of the “golden rules” for good health. That includes incidental activity (the calories we burn in our everyday activities) and planned exercise. To make a real difference, it must be regular and some of it needs to get the heart pumping.

Examples of everyday activities that count include, walking up stairs instead of using lifts, walking up moving escalators, walking instead of driving for short journeys, DIY and gardening.

Planned exercise doesn’t mean a gym. The key is to find some activities you enjoy, and to do them regularly such as aerobics, exercise classes, dancing, weight training , kayaking, cycling, swimming, tennis, and exercise like yoga, pilates, and tai chi.

There are many ways to exercise that are simple, easy and rewarding like just walking.

New research links brisk walking to a significant risk reduction for developing type 2 diabetes.

People are cutting excesses, and that includes trips to the health club. In an American Heart Association survey, a quarter of the 1,000 people questioned had axed their gym memberships sometime in the previous six months.

But no matter where you live, there’s a place you can pound the pavement or trek a trail, and 150 minutes of moderate-intensity walking a week can help manage stress and prevent heart disease.

Walking briskly for just 30 minutes, five days a week can significantly lower your risk of suffering a stroke, according to University of South Carolina researchers. After studying 46,000 men and 15,000 women over the course of 18 years, those with increased fitness levels associated with regular brisk walking had a 40 percent lower risk of suffering a stoke than those with the lowest fitness level.

It can save your mind. Italian researchers enlisted 749 people suffering from memory problems in a study and measured their walking and other moderate activities. At the four-year follow-up, they found that those who expended the most energy walking had a 27 percent lower risk of developing dementia than the people who expended the least.

So why not walk your way to health; it’s certainly a cheap way to keep fit.


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