Take Charge of Your Health
Proven health benefits of exercise:
Think about it. A 30-minute walk every day can probably do more for
your health than all the efforts of dozens of doctors and ten different types of medication. Not only does exercise improve
your health, even if you have already been diagnosed with something, but it can go a long way to prevent the onset of several
life-threatening conditions, such as heart disease, diabetes and cancer. And exercise can make you look great - younger, fitter,
thinner. Who needs more convincing? We have scrutinized the medical journals. Here's a summary of the ten proven health benefits
- It's good for your heart. "Even a moderate amount of exercise helps
your heart", says Dr. William Kraus, associate professor of medicine at Duke University Medical Centre in an article published
in The New England Journal of Medicine. "Some exercise is better than none and more is better than less."
- Exercise promotes weight loss - Research has shown that to have an
effect on weight loss you need to exercise for 30 minutes a day. You can also do an hour of intensive exercise every second
day if this fits into your schedule more easily. Be consistent and be regular. Do those one hour exercise sessions three to
four times every week, not just once a month, and you will achieve the result you desire - to lose weight and keep it off,
says Dr. Ingrid van Heerden, registered dietician.
- Exercise prevents osteoporosis - Exercise, together with a healthy
calcium intake, builds strong bones. Weight-bearing exercises, like running, walking and weight-lifting, help lower your odds
of getting osteoporosis as you grow older, according to experts.
- Exercise lowers high blood pressure - Exercise is good for your blood
pressure - no matter your age, weight, or gender. And it really doesn't matter whether you get exercise from a brisk walk,
a fast run or a few laps in the pool; the results are equally as good.
- Exercise is an excellent de-stressor - Exercise counters stress and
- Exercise prevents colds - Health experts believe that exercise spikes
the immune system for a few hours each day, helping to ward off colds. Thirty minutes of brisk walking is enough to make you
reap the benefits of exercise.
- Exercise reduces the severity of asthma - Sports Medicine specialists
say it's possible for asthmatics to continue exercising if they use preventive medications wisely and avoid certain triggers
that exacerbate attacks. Exercise-induced asthma can be made worse by cold, dry air or air containing and high levels of pollen
or pollutants. The extra effort made to stay fit pays off in fewer or milder asthma attacks overall and a need for less medication.
Experts recommend swinning as one of the best exercises for people who have asthma.
- Exercise reduces diabetic complications - Lifestyle factors have
a huge impact on certain conditions - and diabetes is one of them. Exercise can help to reduce insulin requirements, lower
cholesterol levels and high blood pressure and in the long term can reduce the development of heart disease or stroke.
- Exercise promotes a healthy pregnancy - Relaxation exercises, Kegel
exercise that strengthen the pelvic muscles and back exercises are all important for pregnant women.
- Exercise plays a role in preventing cancer - At least 35% of all
cancer deaths may be related to overweight and lack of activity, a recent study from a Seattle Cancer Research Centre has
found. Exercise is believed to speed the passage of food through the colon, thereby reducing the amount of time that any toxins
are in contact with the body. Overweight people also tend to have more insulin, which promotes the growth of tumors. For women,
exercise reduces the level of oestrogen, a hormone linked to breast cancer.