The Benefits of Exercise
Studies show that exercise lowers blood pressure and can help prevent type 2 diabetes. It has also been found to decrease low-density lipoprotein (LDL) cholesterol, otherwise known as bad cholesterol. Exercise helps to improve your emotional well-being, reduces your appetite, improves sleeping and increases flexibility.
Exercise helps you keep and add lean body mass, or muscle tissue, while promoting fat loss. It increases the rate of weight loss when combined with a healthy eating plan, because muscle tissue has a higher rate of metabolism; muscle tissue burns calories faster than fat. To burn fat and build muscle, exercise should include both strength training and cardiovascular training, activities that raise your heart rate to its target.
Walking is an excellent cardiovascular exercise for all people, including those who are obese; it is easy to do and prevents stress on the joints. A walking program should begin slowly. Start with a 30-minute walk three or more times per week and gradually increase things like walking speed, distance, duration and number of walks per week.
You Are Never Too Busy to Exercise
A typical day for most adults in the United States includes a sedentary lifestyle — too much driving or riding in a car and working seated at a desk restricts activity. Watching television also contributes to an inactive lifestyle for many Americans.
Below are simple steps you can take to increase daily activity and exercise:
- Take the stairs instead of the elevator or escalator.
- Park your car at the far end of the parking lot.
- Walk to the store or office.
- Get off the bus one stop early (if you are in an area safe for walking).
- Turn off the television, computer or video game and instead work in the garden, rake leaves, wash the car or take a walk.
- Find activities your family will enjoy, such as tennis, rollerblading or hiking.
- Make exercise a family activity.
Review your daily routine; it may be easier than you think to add more activity into your day in addition to regular exercise. Dividing 30 minutes of exercise into smaller blocks throughout your day (such as three 10-minute walks up the stairs, from your car, etc.) can have the same benefit as 30 minutes of continuous exercise. Work some exercise into your daily schedule and you will see its healthy effects.