Exercise is not just for Olympic athletes or supermodels. In fact,
you're never too unfit, too young or too old to do it. Regardless of your
age, gender or role in life, you can benefit from regular physical
activity. If you're committed, exercise in combination with a sensible diet
can help provide an overall sense of well being and can even help prevent
chronic illness, disability and premature death. Some of the benefits of
increased activity are improved health, increased efficiency of heart and
lungs, reduced cholesterol levels, increased muscle strength, reduced blood
pressure, and reduced risk of major illnesses such as diabetes and heart
disease, weight loss.

Aerobic and strengthening exercises can result in weight loss when
combined with a calorie-reducing diet. Without exercise, dieting can cause
the loss of muscle as well as fat. An aerobic exercise regimen burns fat,
while at the same time building muscle. This may mean less dramatic weight
loss, but since muscle tissue burns more calories than fat tissue, the
result is longer lasting. Exercising for 20 to 30 minutes three times a
week can reverse years of cardio-neglect. Regular exercise strengthens the
heart, resulting in more blood and oxygen flow throughout the body. At the
same time, aerobic exercise lowers blood pressure and cholesterol levels,
both major health risks for many. Physical fitness helps you look young and
be healthy. It keeps your body in top shape and provides you with the
energy and stamina you need to pursue all your interests. It can prolong
life, and most importantly exercise will help you stay fit and trim. You
can control your weight and preserve a youthful shape with regular physical
exercise. You'll burn more fat and, over time, bring your body fat
percentage into a healthy range. You'll also increase your muscle mass.

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With more muscle mass your body burns more calories both while you are
exercising and while you are at rest. With a little research you can learn
which exercises will best help you to firm and shape specific areas of your
body. Remember to maintain a balanced routine so as not to overwork or risk
injury to a specific muscle group. As you shape and strengthen your muscles
they are better able to help support your spine, a key factor in good
posture. By stretching you can improve your flexibility and contribute to
the smooth functioning of your joints. Together, healthy bones and muscles
help you to keep your balance, move with agility and grace, and maintain a
healthy and youthful appearance. Regular physical activity fortifies your
immune system and helps you to avoid or recover more quickly from colds and
other minor maladies. It can also help to prevent and in some cases reverse
many chronic conditions we associate with aging: coronary artery disease,
high blood pressure, diabetes, some cancers, arthritis, osteoporosis, and
depression. Fitness results in better coordination of muscles and an
increase in strength, flexibility and stamina. While improvements in these
areas certainly help athletic performance, they also help reduce the risk
of injury -- stronger, limber muscles are less susceptible to strain and
sprain. If you are inactive, you lose muscle tone and strength. Your bones
lose density making them fragile and prone to the debilitating fractures of
osteoporosis. You might also be overweight, adding stress to both your
heart and your skeletal support structure while increasing your risk for
coronary heart disease, high blood pressure, and diabetes.

Regular exercise helps to burn fat, build muscle and restore bone
strength. As muscle and bone take up their support positions, the strain on
your cardiovascular, respiratory and skeletal systems is decreased. The
efficiency of your heart and lungs increases and the energy formerly used
to simply maintain your body is now available to use in daily activities.

Add flexibility exercises to your routine and you can regain some of
youth's elasticity by increasing your joint mobility and range of motion
while relieving back and joint pain. When we restore muscle tone and
strength, fatigue melts away as our energy level increases. Regular aerobic
exercise improves the health of your heart, lungs and circulatory system.

Strength training increases your metabolism and builds lean muscle mass.

The net result is increased stamina and endurance that allows you to play
longer and harder while comfortably enjoying your daily activities without
stress and strain.

To obtain optimal health, you should ideally engage in exercises that
will strengthen the heart, a strong heart helps reduce the risk of coronary
heart disease, and lungs. You should participate in exercisesthat
strengthen and tone muscles, as well as increase your energy level.

Exercising regularly can help you maintain a healthy weight and simply help
you feel and look better. A good exercise program has the ability to add a
couple of years to your life. Those who exercise regularly, tend to be
happier and laugh more, because exercise alleviates stress and anxiety.

And, when a person attains better health through exercise, that person will
generally have a healthier, more optimistic outlook on life. A keeping fit
regimen offers many psychological benefits, but the biggest payoff comes
from an improved self image and sense of well-being. An improved sense of
well-being can create, more energy ,less stress, improved quality of sleep,
improved ability to cope with stress, increased mental acuity Achieving
fitness goals leads to self confidence, improved body image, self awareness
and esteem. In addition, the discipline necessary to accomplish personal
fitness goals can have a positive effect on professional careers.