Get Moving And Get Healthy
A sedentary lifestyle can be as dangerous to a person's health as smoking, according to the recently-released Surgeon General's Report on Physical Activity and Health. Although physical inactivity is blamed for higher rates of illness and mortality in the U.S., an estimated 25 percent of Americans are physically inactive and fewer than 40 percent exercise regularly. More than 300,000 Americans die each year from illness related to a sedentary lifestyle and poor diet.
Fortunately, according to the report, achieving recommended levels of physical activity are easier than most people realize. "Regular exercise doesn't mean running five miles a day or excessive weight lifting, unless you enjoy those activities," said weight management expert Jenny Craig. "Experts today suggest a moderate approach to physical fitness and recommend that people participate in activities they enjoy and that fit comfortably with their lifestyles."
With this moderate approach in mind, Jenny Craig recently introduced a series of exercise videos specifically geared for people who haven't exercised in a while. In the tapes, she offers the following advice that can be applied to any form of exercise:
For more information on Jenny Craig's Personal Fitness videos or to learn more about weight management, call 1-800-43-JENNY.(NAPSI)
- Set mini-goals. Do as much as you can, and take pride in what you accomplish. Maybe it's ten minutes the first time...and 15 minutes the next. As your endurance and fitness level improve, you'll be able to extend your workout comfortably. And if you don't have a lot of time, break up your exercise into "mini-workouts" throughout the day. They all add up!
- Warm up and cool down. To prepare your body for exercising and help prevent injury, warm up by walking in place and stretching your muscles. Do the same when you're finished, to safely slow down your heart rate.
- Listen to your body. Do a "talk test" to see if you're exercising too hard. If you can carry on a conversation without breathing too heavily, you're right on target. If you're panting or having difficulty catching your breath, slow down by taking smaller steps or decreasing the intensity of your movements.
- Drink plenty of water. Before, during and after your workout -- not just when you're thirsty. This will help keep your body and muscles well-hydrated.
- Have fun. This is your time, so enjoy it. If you're walking, listen to upbeat music or chat with a friend. Feel your body getting stronger by the minute. Tell yourself how terrific you are. Remind yourself that whatever happens today, you've accomplished your goal of being more active.
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