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If you're thinking about starting a fitness program, but need an extra "push" to get started, consider the following benefits you can expect by including a healthy diet and moderate exercise program into your lifestyle:

Benefit

Source

Preventive medicine. The evidence is overwhelming: a balanced diet combined with moderate exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body. It bolsters the immune system, and lowers the risk of heart disease, cancer, high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and osteoporosis.

American Cancer Society
American Heart Association
US Surgeon General

Improves strength at any age. In a study of 90-year old men and women who used weight machines three times per week for 8 weeks, the subjects' strength increased by 174%.

US Department of Agriculture Research Center on Aging at Tufts University

Slashes risk of heart disease. 120-160 minutes per week of aerobic activity can help control cholesterol, high blood pressure and diabetes.

American Heart Association

Boosts brain power. Keeps brain sharp in old age and may help prevent Alzheimer's Disease

Carl Cotman, Ph.D., University of CA at Irvine

Maintaining or reducing your weight increases longevity. People who gain 20-40 pounds since the age of 18 are 2-1/2 times as likely to die from coronary heart disease.

Harvard Study in the New England Journal of Medicine

Exercise significantly reduces depression and improves sleep.

Journal of Gerontology

Relieves symptoms of PMS (premenstrual syndrome). In a 14 week study, aerobic exercise three times a week for 45 minutes was shown to significantly relieve premenstrual depression and anxiety.

George Washington University, Washington, DC

May reduce breast cancer risk. 3.8 hours of exercise per week reduced risk by 58%. 1-3 hours per week reduced risk up to 30%.

Journal of the National Cancer Institute.

Improves mood and feelings of well-being. A 10-minute walk can boost mood quickly and the after-effects can be long-lasting.

Robert Thayer, Ph.D., California State University

Reducing total fat can also help you lose weight. If you're overweight, cutting back on saturated fat cholesterol and losing as few as five to 10 pounds can double the drop in LDL's. Regular aerobic exercise, which aids weight loss, has also been shown to raise HDL's and lower LDL's.

Adrienne Forman, Environmental Nutrition

Exercise boosts memory. Adults who exercise aerobically increase significant amounts of blood flow to the brain which leads to better memory

Judy Tatelbaum, CA Psychotherapist/Author

Even moderate exercise works to stimulate the brain. Researchers put half of a group of sedentary people ranging in age from the mid-20s to early 60s on a walking or jogging program three times a week. After 10 weeks, the active group reported more mental alertness and vigor,

Duke University study

Exercise gains are extremely comprehensive, thoroughly generating both physical and mental benefits. "People who exercise regularly tend to sleep better, and use less sugar, caffeine, alcohol, nicotine, and other drugs. Above all, exercise makes you feel good about yourself. For most people, exercise is one of the most obvious self-respecting behaviors. Each time you jog, visit the gym, or play a game of squash, you are building your positive self-image -- a physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual foundation for your growing self-esteem."

Richard Earle, Ph.D. & David Imrie, MD,
"Your Vitality Quotient"

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