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Exercise for a Healthy Heart
by Louise Roach

Do you exercise every day? If you want to live a long, healthy life, maybe you should.

A recent study by Timothy Wessel, a physician at the University of Florida, indicates one of the strongest risk factors for developing heart disease is inactivity — even more so than being overweight. During the four-year study of 906 women, Dr. Wessel documented those who were moderately active were less likely to develop heart disease than sedentary women, no matter how much they weighed. The study concluded: "These results suggest that fitness may be more important than overweight or obesity for cardiovascular risk in women."

(Article continued below.)

In January, the updated U.S. Dietary Guidelines strongly urged that everyone should take part in "at least 30 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity" on most days, above whatever activities they do at home or work. To lose weight or to avoid gaining weight as we age, 60 minutes of daily moderate to vigorous exercise is recommended. And those who have already lost weight and are attempting to keep weight off need 60 to 90 minutes of daily exercise.

A study of 9,611 adults by the University of Michigan Health System, found that people in their 50s and 60s who participated in daily exercise were 35 percent less likely to die within the next eight years than their inactive couch potato counter parts.

Convinced that it's time to add exercise to your day?

The Basics — Make Exercise a Life Priority:

  • If you're not used to exercising, check with your doctor before beginning any strenuous fitness routine.
  • Start slow. If 30 minutes of exercise is too much, start with 15 minutes and add a few minutes each day.
  • If you don't have time for 60 minutes of exercise, break it up into two 30-minute sessions throughout the day.
  • Schedule a specific time to exercise everyday — then keep to your schedule!
  • Take part in more intense activities that can improve your heart health, such as: running, dancing, swimming, cycling, and climbing stairs.
  • Find exercise that you enjoy. You will be more likely to continue and improve your daily performance if you look forward to a favorite activity.
  • Wear proper clothing and footwear. This has two functions. Clothing and shoes that are suited to your activity will enhance performance and offer the right kind of support for your body and feet. They will also place you in a better frame of mind for exercise. When you wear your favorite running outfit and slide into your special running shoes, your mind says "it's time to get out the door and put my feet in motion!"
  • Add everyday activities to increase your overall fitness level, such as gardening, housework, walking to the store, take the stairs instead of the elevator, and raking leaves.
  • Always drink lots of water.
  • If you feel discomfort or pain after an activity, use ice therapy immediately to reduce swelling and numb pain. Always have a cold pack in your freezer, ready and waiting. Most aches and pains attributed to exercise respond well to icing and will melt away within 24 hours after applying ice for several 20-minute sessions. Using cold therapy reduces down time, getting you back on schedule fast. (If the pain does not lessen within 48 hours after using ice therapy, is intense or becomes worse, see your doctor.)

Exercise every day... take care of your heart... live long!

Disclaimer: This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical treatment or consultation. Always consult with your physician in the event of a serious injury.

About The Author:
Louise Roach is a health and fitness editor, marketing specialist and product development consultant. She helps others find pain relief through the use of SnowPack Cold Therapy products. Learn more about the benefits of cold therapy at http://www.snowpackusa.com. Sign up for Ms. Roach's free health/ fitness e-newsletter at: http://home.netcom.com/~newsflash.

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