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Exercise Benefits

By Lynne Bailey and Hester B. Golden

Exercise is the most natural form of health care. As human beings, we are built to move. Our body's design seems to dictate a need to walk or run for long distances. Because of this design, no other mammal can match our endurance level.

With consistent exercise, we can increase our stamina and improve our health dramatically. Studies have shown that exercise can raise our I.Q., prevent illness and even reverse some diseases.

Here are some known exercise benefits:

* Stretching exercises are the best prevention and treatment for low-back pain and runners cramps. Stretching will even eliminate some cramps and knee problems.

* Long walks alleviate leg circulation problems and benefits the entire vascular and the cardiovascular system.

* Exercise tones all the muscles - your heart too.

* Exercise strengthens your immune system.

* Exercise builds stamina.

* Exercise puts a bounce in your step and a sparkle in your eyes!

* Stretches for the pelvic area will greatly relieve and sometimes eliminate menstrual cramps. (Editor's note: yoga is excellent for gaining relief and hormonal and glandular balance).

* Range of motion exercises will prevent areas affected with arthritis and bursitis from locking up.

* Exercise will help relieve hay fever and some other allergy symptoms.

* The exercise involved in playing a wind instrument can help an asthmatic child.

* Emphysema can be helped by stationary cycling.

* Exercise helps you to relax more during the day and to sleep better at night.

* Exercise helps you to lose and then maintain desired weight by burning off fat, balancing your metabolism and decreasing your appetite.

* Exercise can enhance your self-image and sense of aliveness.

* According to recent research, exercise greatly increases the possibility of living a longer, happier, higher quality life!

Also, a growing body of evidence shows that exercise, coupled with a diet high in vitamins, trace minerals, complex carbohydrates, and lower in fat are essential for optimal health. So, if you want to look better and feel better - EXERCISE!

"How do I start?" SLOWLY - start by doing some simple stretches. Make up your own or rent or buy a video. There are many exercise videos on the market. There's a variety of styles and levels; making it easy to find what you need. Richard Simmons has a "Sweatin' to the Oldies" video that's a lot of fun. There are a lot of work-out videos to choose from. This may be the very thing you need to motivate you!

Fitness experts agree that it's best to do aerobic exer- cise at least three times a week at 60 to 80 percent of your target heart rate. Here's an easy way to determine this heart rate from Robert Hackman, Ph.D, University of Oregon, an exercise, diet specialist:

1. Before getting up in the morning, measure your pulse rate for one minute to determine your resting heart rate.

2. For your maximum heart rate, subtract your age from 220.

3. For your adjusted heart rate, subtract your resting heart rate from your maximum heart rate.

4. To get your exercise addition, multiply your adjusted heart rate by 0.6 to 0.8.

5. Add this exercise addition to your resting heart rate to discover your target rate.

You might like to start out at a fitness center. If this interests you, watch your paper for special, new membership offers. Before you join one, perhaps you could go as a guest with a friend to their "center." This is a great way to look the place over before committing. You may decide that it's just the thing for you.

How about roller skating? Check out your local roller rink! It costs less than four dollars for admission and roller skate rental ("quads" - skates with four wheels) and a bit more for roller blades. You can also skate outside. Many sport shops rent roller skates and roller blades. My husband, Jeff and I have been roller skating for about a year now. Just a few months ago, Jeff was clutching onto the rails and now he's doing spins and jumps! It was funny to see the look on his face before he went into the rink for the first time. I thought he was going to spin around, get in the car and drive off!

He soon discovered what I already knew - skating is great fun! Our friend Roger, put on his first pair of skates at age 83! And, there are three couples ranging from ages 63 - 73. So, no matter what age or shape you're in, roller skating is a fun way to get exercise. At our adult skating sessions, there is usually an equal mix of singles and couples from age 25 - 85. Skating can be VERY aerobic or very leisurely, depending on your pace, time and how much you do.

The usual skate sessions last two hours. Our rink has adult sessions which are quieter and less crowded than the "all skate" sessions. You might call your local rink to see if they offer the same. Roller skating is a perfect couples activity, too. There are many graceful and simple dances you can do together. You can just skate around and enjoy the freeing, gliding feeling of the skates rolling across the floor or you can take skating lessons and get real technical with it.

How about downhill skiing? Too intimidating for you? Then consider cross country skiing. Doctors and fitness ex- perts agree that cross country skiing may be the most aerobic work-out available. Also, it's very inspiring and exhilarating to be in the mountains. Ask your local YMCA about cross-country ski classes. They combine instruction with an actual cross-country skiing experience. They make it easy and fun to learn. It's really fun and a nice way to meet people with similar interests.

For you non-athletes, an easy and gentle way to start an exercise program is to get out and walk! This can be as leisurely or as vigorous as you want it to be. Wherever you walk, whether town or country, you will be inspired by nature's beauty and gain many benefits. For variety, city dwellers can walk around a sports field, the local parks, in the quieter neighborhoods - use your imagination!

We find that walking in the woods is very nurturing and inspiring. It is also better for you mentally and physically. Besides the cleaner air, the natural variety of the surface and it's softness are better for your feet, legs and back. There are usually more ups and downs and walking up a steep hill is a great way to warm up and wake up on a cold morning!

While walking or hiking, take some slow, deep breaths. It is important to bring oxygen to your body and brain. You will find this will relax as well as stimulate you. During your walk, untie any mental knots you might have. We have has some amazing business ideas come to us on our hikes together! And, we have fun too. Walking can help bring you back into a more amused, accepting attitude. It also strengthens the heart, lungs, tones muscles and lessens anxiety and depression. (please note: all exercise brings you these benefits. During moderate physical activity, the body sends endorphins and other similar mood-elevating hormones to our entire system - leaving us feeling lighter and happier.)

Consistency is important in any exercise program. Many fitness experts agree that a brisk 20 minute walk three times a week is the best way to begin. Be sure you have high quality, supportive shoes for this. For moral support, walk with a friend! You can also get caught up on the latest news and get in shape at the same time. You might going to need some quality hiking insoles from https://www.globosurfer.com/best-hiking-insoles/ in order to have a more comfortable walking or hiking experience.

Here's some things you can do while walking:

* For those of you who like to do more than one thing at a time, jot down a specific concern or consideration you have. Expect a solution during the course of your walk. As solutions come to you, jot them down. This way you can be productive and get your exercise at the same time!

Please note: Sometimes, walk alone with NO objective and NO thing on your mind. Just bring yourself to the present moment - deeply absorb and breathe in the sights and sounds around you. You need solitude, too! Some of my most "productive" moments have been during a long walk in the woods near our home. Being in the woods nourishes my entire being. It also rejuvenates, inspires and calms me mentally.

Suggestion - perceive productivity differently. For me, time spent in meditation, relaxation or at leisure is very productive! Some of my most creative ideas have come to me during these "non-activities." Also, being non-active gives me the deep rest that I need.

* While walking, you can also focus on sending thoughts of relaxation, release of painful joints or muscles, or simply for sending messages of health and happiness to your body.

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