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Exercise Comes in Many Forms

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I was reading an article by the Daily Herald in Chicago which talked about how exercise doesn't have to be unpleasant. Many people think exercise is all about sweating in a gym or training for a marathon, but it's not. You just have to find something you enjoy. It doesn't have to be endless climbs up StairMaster machines, screaming music in crowded aerobics classes filled with skinny people and wet floors in strangely smelly locker rooms.

The potential benefits of exercsise may be enough to propel you off the couch and out the door. Everyone knows exercise is good for your heart, your bones and your joints. The article goes into talking about how it also lessens dementia associated with Alzheimer's and Parkinson's disease. It can prevent diabetes and its common complications like kidney and eye damage. And it may reduce your risk for some cancers, including those of the breast, colon, prostate and pancreas.

The article also quotes Dr. Eric Coris, director of Primary Care Sports Medicine at the University of South Florida, who says physical activity is one of the most powerful tools we have to prevent, improve or treat at least 47 health problems ranging from cancer to menstrual cramps. Exercise works by improving blood flow, reducing inflammation and promoting weight loss. Just reducing body fat hinders the production of hormones like estrogen that feed certain cancerous tumors.

Coris says walking, dancing, skating, cycling and paddling a canoe all count. So do the more mundane activities of daily living like vacuuming, washing and waxing the car, and raking leaves. It's even better if you make it a family affair and jump rope or play tag with the kids, throw a Frisbee for the dog or plan an active vacation. "Whatever it takes that makes exercise less objectionable," Coris says.

Find the physical activity you like to do and make it fun and enjoyable. If you hate spin class, then don't go. If you love roller blading then make that your 30 minutes of physical activity a day. Exercise is not a scary word like most people think. It's actually a word that could save your life, so find it in your day!

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We value and respect our HERWriters' experiences, but everyone is different. Many of our writers are speaking from personal experience, and what's worked for them may not work for you. Their articles are not a substitute for medical advice, although we hope you can gain knowledge from their insight.


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