Interesting facts about exercise and health

The National Center for Health Statistics has found that a quarter of all Americans get virtually no exercise at all, putting them at higher risk of having a heart attack, diabetes and cancer.Levels of education, income and marital status seem to affect whether or not someone exercises. 1 in 4 adults with an advanced degree do high levels of exercise compared with only 1 in 7 with less than a school diploma. Men are more likely to exercise than women. People from the Southern States of America do the least exercise. The poorer you are the less exercise you do. Adults with incomes below the poverty level are 3 times less likely to exercise than adults in the highest income group.

Research undertaken at the University of Colorado has found that obese people have more trouble dissolving blood clots. A clot-busting agent called 'tissue plasminogen activator' is produced and released less in obese people who are inactive, leading to a greater likelihood of heart attacks or strokes. The study found that around half the obese participants who walked 40 to 45 minutes 5 times a week for 3 months began releasing the chemical t-PA needed to lessen their chances of getting a blood clot.

Your sex life and exercise:

A German study from Cologne University Medical Center has found that physical exercise can be as effective as Viagra in dealing with erectile dysfunction. Over 80% of their participants with mild to medium circulatory problems reported better erections compared to 74% taking Viagra!

You've made the decision to do more exercise, so what's next?

Consult an expert? It may be a good idea to consult a qualified expert if:

  • You have a long-standing or recent serious heath problem or

  • You are very overweight. Go see your doctor first to get his expert opinion on any exercise restrictions you may need to observe. You will get the most out of exercise plan if you feel confident about your abilities.

  • You just need guidance on a good exercise regime tailored just for you or...

  • you find it difficult to keep to an exercise program. it might be worth getting a personal trainer either at your home or at a gym, or both! It could be that by combining exercise with a bit of social interaction you will keep up your motivation. Fitness experts need not be expensive, choose one that is qualified and experienced.
  • Exercise and your heart

    Get a heart workout. Your heart is most important muscle in your body and you must keep it in shape. It is this organ that you start with to build up your levels of stamina and strength. One of the most effective ways to do that is do regular aerobic exercise. That is exercise that works the large muscle groups. Cycling, swimming, stepping, brisk walking are the easiest and cheapest.

    Use your pulse as a monitor to maximize the effect of your workout with the minimum input. Using a wrist monitor that displays your pulse rate makes this easier. Calculate your cardiac training range (CTR) by Firstly getting your maximum cardiac rate (MTR), something that you should not exceed during any form of exercise. To do this subtract your age from 220. Your Cardiac training range is between 70 and 85 per cent of your maximum training range. For example, if you are 40 years of age the MTR is 180 (220 minus 40)- your CTR is 126 to 153 (70 to 85 per cent of 180.

    Knowing this you can adjust your workouts to get the most from the time you spend exercising. It is this area that you may need to adjust if you have a medical complaint and you should ask your doctor what range you should be aiming for.

    Upping your metabolic rate

    If weight loss is a major part of your exercise programme then your aim is to maximize the calories you burn up. This will depend on the amount of effort you put in. Examples are, brisk walking burns up 200 to 250 calories an hour, jogging-about 400-600, cycling 200-650.

    Regular exercise can increase the amount of energy you burn up during rest. Regular exercise increases your metabolic rate for about 8 hours after each workout.

    Get good equipment

    There is a lot of equipment around for exercising the dollar as well as the body. Certainly the most important piece of equipment that you should invest is a good pair of trainers, even if you do not intend to jog. Exercise bikes, rowing machines, bar bells are all excellent. Anything that gets you going is good, but it is not essential. Getting fit does not have to cost you anything. Pulse rate displays are an inexpensive investment and it makes monitoring your pulse rate easy.

    Monitor your progress and reward yourself

    Keeping up your motivation is essential. Exercise tones up your muscles, burns up calories, helps you loose fat from different parts of your body, not just the bits you are targeting and can increase your metabolic rate. If you think you will stick to your fitness regime if you combine it with a social outing then a health club or gym is for you. Think about rewarding yourself with special treats when you meet certain goals that you set yourself, i.e. 2 weeks sticking to a fitness program, 4lbs weight loss, better body shape, etc, etc.

    Your biggest reward is a long term investment in health, longer life and greater wellbeing.