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Get a Move On: Five Reasons to Exercise


by Judith Fertig


The research is in. Getting off the couch and moving away from TV, video and computer screens pays off in more ways than one.


Helps maintain a healthy weight: Everyone knows that the more active we are, the more calories we work off, and the more our weight stays at a healthy number on the scale.


Improves brain function: “The de- cline the brain experiences late in life is not inevitable; it can be affected by things like habitual exercise,” asserts Dr. Eric Larson, of the Group Health Research Institute, in Seattle. Larson and his team of researchers pub- lished a pivotal study in the Annals of Internal Medicine showing that older adults that exercised at least three times a week were 38 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. The theory is that exercise not only in- creases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, it may also reduce the abnor- mality known as brain plaque that has been associated with Alzheimer’s.


Helps prevent diabetes: A study in The New England Journal of Medicine found that moderate exercise led to a 50 to 60 percent reduction in the risk for developing diabetes, and delayed the onset of Type 2 diabetes among those already at high risk.


Lowers blood pressure: After review- ing 15 studies on exercise and high blood pressure, the American College of Sports Medicine concluded that moderate exercise decreased blood pressure in approximately 75 percent of individuals with hypertension.


Keeps us going: The good news is that exercise—especially the short, intense bursts in circuit or interval training—helps maintain and develop muscles, strength and stamina, ac- cording to a recent study in the British Journal of Sports Medicine.


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Another way to be and stay merry, suggests Cardillo, is to take part in some kind of volunteer work. “Volunteering has long been touted as a great way to give back and make a positive contribu- tion to the world,” she remarks. “While all that is true, numerous studies, includ- ing the recent Do Good Live Well Study, by UnitedHealthcare, have shown that people who do volunteer work for two or more hours a week exhibit lower rates of depression and heart disease, live happier more fulfilled lives and have greater self-esteem and greater function- ality, especially older adults.”


MOVE. Butler promoted mod- erate exercise to help improve cardiovascular function, elevate mood and keep men fit longer, and his conclusions are sup- ported by studies by the Uni- versity of Maryland Medical Center, Arizona State University, and the Erasmus M.C. University Medical Center in Rotterdam, the Netherlands. He found that, “One of the most frightening disabilities of old age, aside from dementia, is frailty.” His pre- scription? Maintain strong thigh muscles, which is what we use to get up out of a chair or bed, and do squats daily. Yoshiro Hatano, Ph.D., popularized the use of pedom- eters and the 10,000 Steps a Day program in Japan that also


Recommended Anti-Angiogenic Foods


According to the researchers at The Angiogenesis Foundation, many easily eaten foods help starve commonly occurring microscopic cancer cells and keep them from becoming a problem. This list, starting with green tea, contin- ues to grow over time as scientists verify the efficacy of various foods based on a body of research.


Green tea Strawberries Blackberries Raspberries Blueberries Oranges Grapefruit Lemons Apples


Pineapples Cherries Red grapes


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Red wine Bok choy Kale


Soybeans Ginseng


Maitake or other Asian mushrooms Licorice Turmeric Nutmeg Artichokes Lavender


Pumpkin Sea cucumber


Tuna, halibut, flounder, salmon Parsley Garlic Tomato Olive oil


Grape seed oil Dark chocolate Emmental, Jarlsburg, or Gouda cheese


spread to this country. Wearing a small counter is a simple way to keep track of how many steps we take in a day. Such monitoring devices indicate how active or inactive we really are, which can be a bit of a surprise. Hatano and his researchers found that most people take 3,500 to 5,000 steps a day. Raising that to 10,000 steps a day will burn more calories, promote better heart function and keep weight under control.


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