Published 12:00 am Wednesday, June 13, 2007

By Rene Hogan
For the Kannapolis Citizen
We have all heard from the professionals how we benefit from exercise. But have you ever really thought about exactly how we benefit?
Yes, the most common benefit that we think of and notice is our appearance ó the weight loss and muscle tone that we get from regular exercise.
I have always thought of weight loss as an extra perk to our exercise. I feel the most important is the health benefits we acquire from regular exercise.
Regular physical activity ó defined as at least five days per week for 20 to 30 minutes ó reduces the risk of developing or dying from some of the leading causes of illness and death in the U.S.:
– It reduces your chances of developing diabetes.
– It reduces your chances of developing high blood pressure, or if you already have high blood pressure, exercise can reduce the problem.
Daily physical activity reduces body fat which is associated with high blood pressure.
– It reduces the risk of developing colon cancer.
– It helps you psychologically. Doctors have found that exercise is likely to reduce depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.
– It reduces the chance of heart disease and stroke.
Daily physical activity strengthens your heart muscle, lowering your blood pressure, raising your HDL (your good cholesterol) and lowering your LDL (or bad cholesterol), which improves blood flow and increases your heart’s working capacity.
– Helps build and maintain healthy bones, muscles, and joints.
By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving flexibility and posture, you can prevent back pain.
Likewise, regular weight-bearing exercise increases bone density and improves ó and may prevent ó bone loss that comes with aging.
It also helps older adults become stronger and better able to move about without falling.
With all these facts showing that exercise is the number one way to stop the aging process and improve our daily lives, both mentally and physically, it is time to get started on your exercise program.
For more information on how to get started on an exercise program that is right for you, contact Rene Hogan or Debbie Green, Kannapolis YMCA @ 704- 939-9622 Ext. 218 or Ext. 214 or email @ rhogan@ymcacab.org or dgreen@ymcacab.org.

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