Why Should I Work Out?

by: Lisa Ritchie

Being a couch potato can kill you.  That’s a bit dramatic but it sums up the U.S. Surgeon General’s Vision for a Healthy and Fit Nation report. In essence the government is putting a warning label on a sedentary lifestyle. So what are the benefits of regular exercise and what does it mean to you? The report, commissioned by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control, the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports, and the Office of the Surgeon General lays down some specific guidelines.

It advises that every one accumulate AT LEAST thirty minutes of moderate intensity exercise on most, preferably all, days of the week. What’s “moderate intensity”? The report defines it as using 150 calories of energy per day, or 1000 calories per week. That can translate into thirty minutes of brisk walking, fifteen minutes of running, swimming laps for twenty minutes or washing and waxing the car by hand. Remember its thirty minutes of accumulated exercise a day, so you can break it up into three ten-minute sessions or two fifteen-minute workouts. Consider that one pound equals 3500 calories.

But wait, you say, you already work out! Though the report was designed to get sedentary folks off the couch, it doesn’t mean that more vigorous exercisers can take it easy. The report shows that more strenuous exercise has a correspondingly greater health benefit. The report doesn’t want to unintentionally reduce the level for people that are already fit, but it hopes to inspire and convince those who don’t workout to start a moderate program. Studies reveal that over 25 percent of American adults don’t participate in ANY leisure time physical activity.

The findings of the Surgeon General’s report are confirmed in a study published by the “Journal of American Geriatrics Society”. It states that men and women over the age of 65 who walk more than four hours per week have a lower risk of cardiovascular disease than those who walk less than one hour per week. Over 1600 subjects were studied and hours spent fitness walking, running errands and activity working were all counted. So what are the benefits to you?

  • Exercise can cut in half the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease.
  • It improves blood lipid levels and reduces the risk of high blood pressure.
  • It reduces the risk of colon cancer.
  • It reduces anxiety, stress and depression and encourages a general feeling of well being.
  • It improves self esteem and self confidence.
  • Exercise can help you sleep better.
  • It reduces the risk of obesity and helps normalize body weight and body fat percentage as well as increases metabolism.
  • It helps build strong bones and fights osteoporosis.
  • It improves insulin sensitivity and helps diabetics better manage their disease.
  • It improves circulation.
  • It reduces the overall death rate.

Two-third of American adults and nearly one in three children are overweight or obese. Making physical activities fun can affect how children and teenagers respond to changes in their routine. Programmed, repetitious exercise may work for adults, but it rarely works for children. Look for ways to add physical activity throughout the day. When possible, parents should walk with children to and from school, and children should have scheduled time to play. All of us, adults and children alike, could use more activity in our day and when that movement is fun the workout becomes easier. Some examples can include dancing, Frisbee, bike riding, swimming, even interactive video games like Wii.

Because safety is a real concern in many neighborhoods, citizens should talk with their local elected officials and members of law enforcement to find ways to improve safety so everyone can walk or play outdoors by getting lighted sidewalks and designated bicycle paths. For a complete copy of the report visit  http://www.surgeongeneral.gov



© 2011 by AlkalineLifestyle.com.  All rights reserved




These statements have not been evaluated by the food and drug administration.  The preceding information and/or products are for educational purposes only and are not meant to diagnose, prescribe, or treat illness. Please consult your doctor before making any changes or before starting ANY exercise or nutritional supplement program or before using this information or any product during pregnancy or if you have a serious medical condition.

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