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A little exercise could mean a lifetime of health

   By Harry Sneider Page 1 Plain Truth July, 1977

The right kind of exercise can add years to your life and dollars to your wallet!


Bo you always feel tired? Get winded climbing a short flight of stairs? Have trouble sleeping nights? Is your waistline a worry?

If you answer yes to any of these questions, a basic program of simple, inexpensive exercise would almost certainly be of benefit to you.

You say you can't afford the time to exercise? The truth is, unless you have a special health problem, you can't afford not to exercise! Scientific research and experience prove that the human body needs exercise to maintain good health. No one can totally neglect it without paying a penalty. Millions suffer unnecessary ills and die prematurely because they are living inactive or sedentary lives for which their bodies were not designed.

Medical and health specialists around the world emphasize the importance of physical fitness, particularly in our modern world where riding and sitting are a way of life.

Dr. Paul Dudley White. noted Boston heart specialist who has helped presidents and other leading Americans achieve better health and productivity through exercise, has stated: "Physical fitness is vital for the optimal function of the brain, for retardation of the onset of serious arteriosclerosis, which is beginning to appear in early adult lives, and for longevity, and a useful and healthy life for our older citizens."

Dr. Theodore G. Klumpp of New York maintains that "remaining active is the key to staying alive. Exercise opposes the effects of stroke or heart attack. Blood clots form when blood flow is sluggish rather than when it is vigorous. Yet many people won't exercise for fear it will provoke a heart attack."

Dr. Ian Adams, a leading British medical expert, adds that "middle-aged adults need regular exercise for the maintenance of good posture and joint mobility, for the preservation of strength and stimulation of the circulators' system. It is a basic biological principle that stimulation maintains and disuse accelerates the deterioration of mind and body."

And finally, one noted heart specialist warns: "The average executive drives his car to work, sits at his desk all day, then watches TV at night. The heart is a muscle and when you don't exercise it, it's just like putting your arm in a cast. It deteriorates. Through exercise you can build it up."

As a physical fitness trainer, I always emphasize the simple adage "What you don't use, you will lose!"


Mind and Body Inseparable

I have worked with all age groups, with overweight as well as handicapped people. I have witnessed great transformations, not only physical, but mental and emotional, as a result of a sound program of physical fitness tailored to individual needs.

Again and again these people have demonstrated that the mind and the body are inseparable. Physical stagnation results in mental and psychological stagnation, and vice versa. And while this applies specifically to the infirm and those well past middle age, it is a universal principle.

I have seen ego-battered business executives restored to greater productivity and self-assurance as the result of a good exercise program. By being able to work more and produce more, these men were able to earn more — and they became much more valuable to their employers.

I've seen overweight women and girls gain new self-confidence and poise, develop a more positive self-image and change their personalities for the better because they became more physically fit.

I've seen handicapped people, even those in wheelchairs, find that they can achieve much greater use of their bodies than they ever imagined possible. All these people found that following the basic rules of good health, plus carrying out a tailored program of exercise greatly improved the quality of their lives.

I have also noticed that the leaders in nearly every field are the ones who engage in a regular exercise program to protect their health, skills and productivity. Studies have shown that exercise can even help students improve their grades.


How Else Could You Get All These Results?

Aware that modern sedentary lifestyles result in deteriorating physical health, millions are now beginning to reap the benefits of a regular exercise program: greater strength and endurance, reduced tensions, increased self-reliance and the added enjoyment of a more active life. Approximately fifty percent of American adults are now participating in supplementary forms of exercise such as walking, bowling, bicycling, golf and swimming. What about you?

Here are some of the results you can gain from a good physical fitness program:

•     You'll develop strength and endurance which will help you perform daily tasks with greater ease and economy of movement.

•     Good muscle tone and posture will help protect you from back problems.

•     Your appetite and weight will be more controllable. When you are inactive, the appetite, normally a marvelously precise guide of how much you should eat, no longer functions accurately. In other words, you will eat more calories than you actually expend. The result is creeping overweight. Some overweight is not the result of eating too much, but of exercising too little.

•     Your blood and lymph system will function better and won't get clogged up easily. Coronary arteries will become wider; blood will flow easier and faster. Many doctors believe proper exercise reduces cholesterol levels in the blood. And active people have fewer heart attacks and better recovery rates than inactive persons.

•     The efficiency of your heart and lungs will rise sharply. The total effect is that all your body's systems will be strengthened, and you will feel much better overall.

•     Enjoyable exercise provides relief from tension and serves as a safe and natural tranquilizer. And sleep will come easier.


Exercise Regularly

Health and exercise specialists will differ in what they feel is the minimum amount of exercise necessary for the best results. Obviously, a regular exercise program in any reasonable amount is better than none at all. I personally feel that around 45 minutes a day is the most beneficial — especially if your daily routine doesn't include much physical activity. However, I realize the circumstances of many do not permit spending this much time in exercise. But don't let this discourage you. A vigorous program three, four or five times a week for lesser periods of time can also bring many beneficial results.

Exercise does not need to be boring. Variety is the key once you've gotten into basic shape. Perhaps you might encourage your mate and children to join you. Choosing a definite time for exercise and sticking with it can also be helpful.

There are many forms of exercise to choose from: walking, bicycling, swimming, jogging, calisthenics, tennis, skating (roller and ice), basketball, handball, and racquetball to name a few. Each type of exercise provides benefits others may not. The publications referred to in the suggested reading list in the box (above right) offer many time-tested suggestions on how to develop the right program for yourself, depending on your age, health and present fitness, plus ways to avoid harmful pitfalls.

Some with special health problems may need trained help to develop a fitness program. Exercise, however, doesn't normally require special instructors or expensive health clubs with complicated equipment plush carpets, mirrors, etc. It can be done in your own home or backyard.

The Creator designed the human body to function best with a moderate amount of vigorous physical activity. Increased vigor, health and happiness can be yours if you faithfully carry out a balanced program of exercise.