Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Exercise Makes a Difference

You may already know that exercise can improve your health and help prevent conditions like heart disease and diabetes. But did you know it may also make you look and feel younger?

Staying fit may help you walk taller, control your weight, stimulate circulation and feel more energetic – all of which could mean a younger-looking you.

A Look at the Benefits

  • Regular physical activity has been shown to:
  • Decrease the risk of heart disease and stroke, diabetes, and certain cancers, including breast and colon cancer
  • Help prevent osteoporosis and slow bone mass loss in women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis 
  • Improve balance and flexibility, which can lead to fewer injuries
  • Help prevent or control high blood pressure
  • Help reduce "bad" and improve "good" cholesterol levels
  • Reduce symptoms of depression and anxiety
  • Increase energy 
  • Improve sleep

But I Don't Have the Time…

Women are masters at making time for their families, jobs, volunteer activities – just about everyone but themselves. In fact, only four in 10 American women engage in recommended levels of physical activity.*

However, you don't need to spend hours at the gym each day to increase your fitness level. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, just 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, five days a week, can bestow considerable health benefits. Some simple ways to incorporate exercise into your life include:

  • Turn off the television and take a walk. Or consider using an exercise machine or doing yoga while watching your favorite show.
  • Make exercise fun by involving friends and family. Consider an early-morning walking club or an evening stroll with your spouse.
  • When running errands or shopping, choose a parking space far from the store.
  • At work, take the stairs instead of the elevator. Use your lunch hour to take a walk rather than stopping by a fast-food restaurant.
  • Buy and wear an inexpensive pedometer and shoot for 10,000 steps a day. You may be surprised at how motivating it is to watch the steps add up.

Get Started Today

Exercise helps girls and young women build the bone mass that will carry them throughout their lives. Middle-aged women benefit by helping preserve their health and stave off certain diseases and conditions. And exercise helps postmenopausal women maintain their strength, balance and flexibility.

Before starting an exercise program, talk with your health care provider. He or she can help you plan an appropriate program that includes aerobic activity and strength training.

* Source: The National Women's Health Information Center,

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