Better Choices, Better Results

More About Exercise

I’ve written about my struggles with exercise lately.  I know – like everyone else – that exercise is so important for weight loss and maintenance.  I also knew that exercise is generally just good for the body.  I didn’t know that exercise could decrease my chance of developing certain illness and conditions by as much as 40%, though.

The Nutrition Action Health letter is one of my favorite little magazines.  It’s thorough and intersting and quick to read; it also hits on a lot of subjects that interest me.

I’ve copied the information below directly from the December 2009 edition of the Health letter.  For more information about this publication, visit www.cspinet.org.

Nine Other Reasons to Exercise
Printed from Nutrition Action Health Letter

  1. Stroke– Aerobic exercise lowers the risk of stroke.  In one study, women who walked

    Get moving!

    at least one hour a day had a 40% lower risk than those who walked less than one hour a week.

  2. Heart Disease – Aerobic exercise cuts the risk of heart attack by 20 – 35 percent in most studies.  In one study of 73,000 women, those who walked briskly for 30 minutes a day, five days a week, had a 30 – 40 percent lower risk of heart attack or other cardiovascular event than sedentary women.
  3. Broken Bones – Weight-bearing aerobic and strength-training exercise three to five days a week can increase – or slow the decrease in – the density of spine and hip bones.  In one study, women who walked at least four hours a week were 40% less likely to break a hip than those who walked less than an hour a week.
  4. Diabetes – Moderately active people have a 30 to 40 percent lower risk of type 2 diabetes and the metabolic syndrome than inactive people.  In one study, normal-weight women who were sedentary had twice the risk of diabetes, and obese women who were sedentary had 16 times the risk of diabetes, compared to normal-weight active women.
  5. Depression – Active people are 15 – 25 percent less likely to be diagnosed with depression than inactive people.  in people with depression, moderate-to-vigorous aerobic exercise (30 minutes three times a week) improves symptoms.
  6. Blood Pressure – Forty minutes of moderate to vigorous exercise three to five times a week lowers systolic blood pressure by 2 to 5 points.  That may not sound like much, but it would save and estimates 11,800 to 27,600 lives per year.
  7. Mitochondria – Aerobic exercise increases the size, number and activity of mitochondria, the fuel-burning centers of your muscle cells.  (Mitochondria don’t function as well in people who are older, obese or diabetic.)
  8. Arthritis – If you have arthritis, moderate-intensity, low-impact exercise to 30 – 60 minutes three to 5 times a week can reduce pain and disability.  Both aerobic and muscle strengthening help. 
  9. Falls – Older adults who are physically active have about a 30 percent lower risk of falls.  In most studies, people participate in balance and moderate-intensity strength training for 30 minutes three times a week and are encouraged to walk for 30 minutes at least twice a week.  Tai chi may also work.
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