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Exercise

Fifteen In Shape For Summer Tips for Shedding Those Unwanted Pounds


Want to lose those unwanted pounds? If so, you're not alone. Many people begin the summer season with a goal to lose weight. We all know this means eating a healthy, balanced diet. But it also means exercising. And that's where many of us fall short. More than 60 percent of American adults fail to get the minimum recommended amount of exercise: half an hour to an hour of moderate activity most days of the week.

The exercise needed to help you lose weight and keep it off can be as simple as brisk walking. In fact, many people who dislike participating in sports are surprised to find how much they enjoy walking. And you can break up the recommended 30 minutes to an hour into 10-15 -minute sessions scattered throughout the day.

Even a small increase in your physical activity can substantially reduce your health risks, especially if you have been inactive. That's the encouraging news from the fourth edition of the "American Medical Association Family Medical Guide."

According to the reference book, here's what exercise does for your health:

  • Lowers your risk of premature death
  • Reduces your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, type 2 diabetes, and some cancers
  • Makes your heart pump more efficiently
  • Fights depression and anxiety
  • Improves your strength, flexibility, and balance
  • Helps you maintain a healthy weight
  • Tones your muscles
  • Helps control your appetite
  • Keeps your mind sharp
  • Makes you look better
  • Boosts your self-confidence

Find a type of exercise that not only fits your schedule but is also fun and rewarding enough to keep you from getting bored and quit. The Guide offers the following practical tips for incorporating more physical activity into your daily routine:

    1) Get off the bus a stop or two early and walk the rest of the way to work.
    2) Use the stairs instead of the elevator whenever you can.
    3) Go for bike rides with your children.
    4) Take family walks after dinner.
    5) Do your own yard work and gardening.
    6) In bad weather, walk around inside the local shopping mall a few times.
    7) On weekends, plan active outings such as hiking, skiing, or ice-skating instead of going to the movies.
    8) Ride a stationary bicycle or use hand weights as you watch TV.
    9) Take the dog (or an elderly neighbor's dog) for a walk.
    10) Do your own housecleaning.
    11) Wash and wax the car.
    12) Go dancing.
    13) Pull the children around the neighborhood in a wagon or sled.
    14) Park in a parking space farther from the store or office and walk to the building.
    15) Jump rope!

All types of physical activity are good for you, lowering your health risks and possibly helping you live longer-as long as you do them regularly. The more exercise you do, and the more vigorous it is, the greater the health benefits, but even moderate activity is beneficial. The key is to get started.

"American Medical Association Family Medical Guide 4th Edition" is available at bookstores nationwide, major online booksellers


© 2005 Health Resources Publishing