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Exercise Can Save Lives

According to Stephen T. Sinatra, M.D., in his book Heart Sense for Women, “there is no other lifestyle modification with such immediate and long-lasting benefits on your health and well-being than regular exercise.” A daily exercise routine has been linked to lowered cancer risk, lowered blood pressure, minimized risk for stroke, improved muscle strength, beating depression and balancing blood sugar, thus lessening the risk for diabetes. Another benefit is the ability, with regular exercise, to get a good night’s sleep.

Just 30 minutes of exercise will keep a body’s metabolic rate elevated for another hour. However, the National Academy of Sciences Institute of Medicine has raised the recommendation to 60 minutes of exercise daily. Regular exercise started as early in life as possible and continued throughout life helps to maintain a normal or lower than normal heart rate, according to J.E. Williams in Prolonging Health. This is important because it can help prevent an early death from cardiovascular disease.

The kind of exercise that is right for an individual depends on the individual’s state of health. Before beginning an exercise program, it is recommended that an individual check with their primary care physician to determine what type of exercise is best.

Many people enjoy running. However, for heart patients, running may not be a good choice. According to Sinatra, studies have shown a connection between heart attacks and sudden exertion. Other exercises that derive the same benefit can be chosen. For example, walking is something just about everyone can do. It is kinder to the joints and a brisk walk at least three hours a week can be the same as jogging or aerobic dancing.

In a September 2016 Harvard Medical School Harvard Health Letter, Dr. Clare Safran-Norton, a physical therapist, says that cycling is another good-for-you exercise. “It’s socially oriented, it’s fun, gets you outside and moving,” says Safran-Norton. There are five top benefits that can be derived from cycling. Number one on the list, it’s easy on the joints. It also provides an aerobic workout—good for the heart, brain and blood vessels. Aerobic exercise also triggers the release of endorphins, the feel-good chemicals. Cycling builds muscle in legs, buttocks, abdominals and arms, it can help with balance and everyday activities like endurance and climbing stairs, and it builds bone. As a resistance activity, when pedaling, the muscles pull on the bone, which increases bone density, says Safran-Norton.

To prolong health and extend life span, exercise every day. Get out there and get moving.

Stephanie Jack, Ph.D. is a holistic health coach and natural health consultant. To schedule a consultation or class, call 717-881-3962 or email For more information, visit

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