Engaging in regular exercise is one of the primary therapeutic lifestyle changes I recommend for optimal health and well-being.
My rationale behind this is simple: If the health benefits of regular exercise could be put in a pill, you would have the most powerful anti-aging medicine available.
The Dangers of Inactivity
Most everyone is aware of the benefits of regular exercise. What many people don’t realize, however, is how detrimental inactivity can be. According to a 2010 summary of 40 published studies, physical inactivity increases the risk of 25 health conditions, including:
- Heart disease,
- Alzheimer’s disease and dementia,
- Erectile dysfunction
- And some types of cancer.
Furthermore, other research suggests that “screen time” entertainment, which includes watching TV, playing video games, and surfing the Internet or engaging in other computer-related activities, can have some of the greatest adverse effects on your health.
How Much Exercise Do You Need?
Simply put, engaging in regular exercise means doing some type of physical activity most days of the week. To reap the health benefits of regular exercise you should also build up to at least 30-45 minutes each time you exercise. It’s also important to do both aerobic and resistance exercise because each type provides different health benefits.
One word of caution: If you are older than 40 or have a history of medical problems, talk to your physician before beginning an exercise program. Chances are your doctor will be delighted you want to exercise, but in some cases he or she may want you to take a simple exercise stress test first to check your heart function.
You can’t control all disease risk factors, but exercise is one that you can—and must. Although it may seem hard at first, once you start exercising you’re going to begin seeing and feeling startling changes, not only in your body but also in your life. And it’s never too late to get started. Action is the key, and the benefits of regular exercise are amazing.
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