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Closest Thing to a Wonder Drug? Try Exercise

The New York Times reports that exercise is the closest thing to a wonder drug. That exercise provides countless benefits is well-known, but it is important to emphasize that exercise does much more than just help you shed weight. 

Exercise is a critical component of a healthy lifestyle. It lowers your risk of disease, boosts your immune system, enhances brain function, is an effective sleep aid and of course can help you maintain a healthy weight. The key to obtaining the benefits of exercise is to find a program and stick to it. My fitness plan is an excellent guide and includes a printable exercise table that can be used to track your progress. 

You must be careful with your exercise as, if it is done improperly, it may actually worsen your health.  So, if exercise worsens your symptoms, modify your program or, if need be, stop. Because even though your body desperately needs exercise to improve, you will only get worse if you violate your current limitations. So you may have to start with as little as one or two minutes a day, and work your way up from there. As your energy and health improve, you will be able to tolerate larger amounts of exercise, which will lead to weight loss and increased energy.

Walking is a great starting point if you are overweight. If you are starting out in poor shape, slow-paced walking will produce benefits, but if you are starting out in better condition, you will need to walk faster and/or farther to see any results. Regardless of your starting level, the more vigorous your walking pace, the more dramatic the conditioning effects will be. When walking for exercise you should walk at a steady pace that is fast enough to cause your heart rate to rise.

The major problem with walking, however, is that many people become fit relatively rapidly but don't increase the intensity of the workouts as they raise their fitness level. Once you become comfortable with a routine, it is important to increase the intensity in order to continue benefiting.
 
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