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Exercise improves quality of life
Scripps Howard News Service


October 11, 2006

Do you buy into the, "We're all going to die anyway, so why bother exercising," mentality? It's a familiar viewpoint, ranking right up there with, "I don't have time to exercise," "the dog ate my workout shoes" and "sweating makes me wet."




The problem with the fatalistic outlook of "why bother" is that it focuses on the wrong issue. The issue is not whether or not you're going to die, but rather how you're going to live.

If you choose to live a sedentary lifestyle, you are choosing to increase your risk of obesity, adult on-set diabetes, premature aging, bone mass loss and susceptibility to, heart disease and the gradual, continual loss of physical ability and vitality.

And while choosing to exercise and lead an active lifestyle is not a promise of immortality, it is a self-empowering choice that enriches the quality and dimension of your life.

Without movement you hasten the deterioration of your physical and mental wellbeing, but when you exercise you increase your energy, vitality and ability to live life to its fullest.

Studies reveal many benefits of exercise and the practical application of such research has many doctors prescribing exercise as a means of managing and averting many ailments.

Heart Disease: Exercise and diet have proven to reverse existing heart disease and play a decisive role in minimizing other heart disease risks factors such as high blood pressure, high cholesterol and obesity.

Stroke: Studies show that physical activity significantly lowers the risk of stroke. Because your activity reduces two of the biggest risk factors for stroke - high blood pressure and heart disease - you automatically reduce your risk of stroke as well when you exercise regularly.

High Blood Pressure: As the non-symptomatic stepping-stone to heart disease, high blood pressure in mild-to-moderate cases can be controlled without drugs when patients exercise regularly. In addition to medication, doctors also encourage exercise for more severe cases.

Diabetes: Individuals at risk of diabetics can significantly reduce the risk of developing full-blown diabetes when they exercise. Additionally, those who have been diagnosed with diabetes can reduce their need for medication as well as prevent and delay serious vascular complications by exercising.

Arthritis: Exercise, such as water aerobics, stretching and strengthening, can help maintain joint mobility, relieve stiffness, increase your flexibility and strength, reduce joint pressure by keeping weight down and help keep you strong and fit.

Stress: The pressure to do it all and be it all often spreads us too thin and results in our suffering physical and emotional consequences. Exercise, however, gives us the outlet needed to cope with life stressors without the typical fallout.

Simply put, when you're healthy you have the physical ability to enjoy life and exercise is the means of laying claim to good health. If you already exercise regularly, kudos to you! If you'd like to get started, talk to your doctor about an exercise routine that includes cardio, strength and flexibility training.

Start today - no matter how young or old - to take the best possible care you can of the health you've been blessed with. Will you still get sick even when you exercise? Yes. Will you at some point die even if you exercise? Yes. Will you at some point regret staying active and making exercise a routine part of your life? Never!



Wellness specialist Eugenie Jones writes for The Kitsap Sun in Bremerton, Wash.,
and may be reached by email at eugeniek(at)
Distributed to subscribers for publication by
Scripps Howard News Service,

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Ketchikan, Alaska