U.S inactive

Many Americans don’t get enough exercise. A survey recently commissioned by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports has indicated that 45 percent of adult Americans, roughly 49 million men and women, do not engage in physical activity. These sedentary Americans tend to be less educated, less affluent, and older than those who do exercise. Would you want to be categorized as such? I hope not. Leading a sedentary life is linked to many diseases and premature deaths.

Exercise is movement designed to improve muscular strength, increase flexibility, and maintain heart muscle. Exercise is a valuable adjunct to dietary control in the prevention and treatment of obesity because it increases energy expenditure and improves energy balance. Regular exercise may even reduce mild hypertension. Many studies of coronary heart disease have shown a positive association between high levels of physical activity and a low incidence of disease; exercise may therefore reduce the likelihood of death or disability due to a heart attack. Exercise can make you feel more alert and produce a sense of being more alive. You will be less irritable and “jumpy”, you’ll be able to work harder and play with greater enjoyment. Most exercise is good for you; however, aerobic exercise is one of the best. Aerobic exercises should not be confused with some others that may be strenuous but are not rhythmic and steady. For example, when someone is jogging, bicycling or swimming, enough oxygen is taken in to meet the demands of the heart and lungs. Other activities such as weight lifting or softball may have benefits, but are not aerobic. Excellent aerobic exercise can even consist of walking or running as long as they are continuous and at a steady pace.

The intensity of an exercise refers to the amount of exertion put into the activity_how hard one is working? You find the exertion level by using your target heart rate (THR). The simple formula of calculating your THR can be found in many health texts or at the Wellness Center on campus.

To achieve maximum aerobic benefit when exercising, keep your pulse within your THR for twenty to thirty minutes for three to four times per week.

Before starting an exercise program, make sure you are physically sound (consult your doctor). A warm_up should begin each session and consist of about five minutes of the same activity you’ll be doing at a low intensity level. After exercising twenty to thirty minutes, end with five to ten minutes of a cool down before stopping completely.

Many people struggle to keep exercising regularly. Many people fail because they try to do too much too soon. Go slowly and progressively. Try to work variety into your exercise activity and encourage a friend to work with you. You’ll help keep each other motivated. So try it and see how you like it. I guarantee you it is fun and it is worth it.

Zanthe R. Griggs

Community Health