Thursday, February 2, 2012

Adding Exercise for Lifelong Health

Medical and fitness authorities emphasize that exercise for health and should include three components: cardiovascular fitness and stamina, muscle strength, and flexibility. A good blood and oxygen supply is essential for maintaining good health and healing disease.

Aerobic Exercise or endurance exercise increases stamina and heart rate, improves heart, lung, and circulatory systems. As a muscle, the heart gets stronger with exercise. A stronger heart also improves circulation and lung function, delivering more oxygen to all parts of the body. This form of exercise can delay diseases associated with aging and diabetes, heart disease, and stroke. Examples of aerobic exercises include swimming, running and brisk walking.

Weight-bearing Exercise is an activity practiced on your feed working bones and muscles against gravity. Bone is living tissue that constantly breaks down and reforms. When doing regular weight-bearing exercises, bones adapt to the impact of weight and pull of muscle by building more cells and becoming stronger. Examples of weight-bearing exercise include team sports such as soccer, baseball and basketball, dancing step aerobics and tennis.

Strength Exercise builds muscle and bone, increases metabolism, and can decrease weight and blood sugar. Examples of strength exercise include weight work, Pilates, and cycling.

Balance Exercise helps prevent falls, a major cause of broken hips and other injures that can decrease independence in older adults. Examples of balance exercise include posture exercise like yoga and tai chi, and walking.
Flexibility Exercise keeps the body limber by stretching muscles and tissues that support the structure of the body. An example of flexibility exercise includes exercising using stretch bands.

More information on Health and Wellness and many other researched-based Family and Consumer Sciences related topics can be found in Living Well- More Than a Cookbook. A publication produced by the National Extension Association of Family and Consumer Sciences. Information can also be found at

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