People tend to think of an “elixir of life” as medicine in a bottle, a “magic bullet” as some kind of a pill, and the “fountain of youth” as mystical waters. But exercise may come closer than anything else we know as the best way to become and stay beautiful, strong, healthy, energetic, and happy. It may be the single best route to a long and active life.
YOUTHFUL APPEARANCE:Exercise helps keep your body trim, your muscles toned, your posture straight and tall, your complexion clear and glowing.
STRENGTH: Exercise helps build strong muscles and bones and maintains healthy joints.
ENERGY, STAMINA: A regular exercise program, rather than exhausting you, gives you more energy and staying-power—not only physically, but also mentally and emotionally.
MOBILITY: Exercise helps keep you moving. The ability to move about is critical for living independently and remaining able to do what you want, when you want.
SAFETY:Exercise keeps your reflexes alert and your muscles ready to respond so you might avoid and recover quickly from accidents, falls, injuries, and illnesses.
DISEASE TREATMENT AND PREVENTION: Exercise can help prevent or treat many diseases such as stroke, heart disease, diabetes, cancer, arthritis, and osteoporosis. Check with your doctor to make sure your exercise program is right for you.
WEIGHT CONTROL:Exercise not only burns calories, it also tunes up your metabolism to better use nutrients. Studies show that in the long run exercise may be even more effective than diet in weight loss. In addition, exercise helps you look better, regardless of how much you weigh.
ATTITUDE: Regular exercise goes a long way toward imparting a strong sense of well-being, a positive outlook and a feeling of “can-do” confidence.
EMOTIONAL RESILIENCE, PSYCHOLOGICAL BALANCE:Ever feel so frustrated or angry you just want to punch the wall or run the other way? Channel that impulse into exercise. Exercise is a great way to cool off and get a grip when you’re stressed out.
MENTAL ALERTNESS: As is evident in any heated basketball game, tennis match or dance performance, exercise tunes up your reflexes, reaction time, and ability to process information. Exercise helps you wake up in the morning and stay awake until bedtime.
FLEXIBILITY:Physical activity enhances your ability to bend and stretch and avoid strains and stiffness.
Picking the right activity for your exercise program is important. In fact, if you find the activity that’s perfect for you, you will get fit, become happier, and stay active for a lifetime. Take a moment to think about these points when you start planning your exercise routine.
Check with your doctor before you begin to exercise or dramatically change your exercise levels. If you have any medical conditions—such as heart disease, diabetes, arthritis/joint problems, osteoporosis (brittle bones), dizziness, epilepsy, pregnancy—make it a point to get in touch with your doctor before getting started.
Any amount of regular exercise is better than none. And exercise doesn’t have to be strenuous or exhausting to be beneficial.
No one can exercise for you—you have to do it for yourself. Even if you hire a personal trainer to show you what to do and to help you do it, you’re the one who has to expend the effort if you hope to collect the rewards.
Consider the following possibilities as your main or supplemental exercise choices:
Exercise can only do you good if you do it. It’s important to choose an exercise regimen you can follow on a regular basis, several times a week, year in and out. The Surgeon General suggests “moderate” exercise for people of all ages at all fitness levels. This includes, for example, gardening, stair-walking, or washing your car for 10 to 15 minutes here and there. That’s moderate exercise.
American Council on Exercisewww.acefitness.org
Centers for Disease Control and Preventionwww.cdc.gov
©2014 Wellness Councils of America
The information contained in this brochure has been carefully reviewed for accuracy. It is not intended to replace the advice of your physician or health care provider.
An Independent Licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.