Fitness

Exercise is just as important a part of overall health as nutrition. The less active we are, the more health problems we are likely to develop. People often find it difficult to fit exercise into their schedule. However, even the busiest of people can exercise for 10 minutes a few times over the course of the day. This approach can be effective to improve fitness.

Exercise doesn’t have to be hard, expensive, boring or inconvenient. Find an activity that suits your lifestyle and your comfort level. This may be walking with a friend, riding a bike, doing water aerobics or even playing with children.

Sneaking in a little extra effort throughout the day is also beneficial. Taking the stairs in a building instead of riding the elevator or parking at the back of the parking lot will add up over the course of a week. Breaking exercise down into small, manageable segments of time makes it seem much easier to accomplish. This is why it is important to make good exercise habits a part of your daily routine.

If you’re ready to start an exercise routine but aren’t sure where to start, we suggest the Mayo Clinic’s guidance. You can find more information at http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/fitness-training/HQ01305.

Also, there are plenty of free workout techniques, plans and information online. Check out www.fitnessmagazine.com, www.self.com and www.womenshealthmag.com.

Body Mass Index and Your Weight

Your weight is more than just a number on a scale or something you lose simply to look better. Weight is directly related to your health, and keeping it under control will be healthier in the long run.

Being overweight is strongly associated with type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, heart disease and many other health complications. Where you carry your weight is also important. Extra weight that is carried in the abdominal area is a bigger threat to your health than excess fat carried on the hips. Non-pregnant women should have a waist circumference of 35 inches or less, and men should have a waist circumference of 40 inches or less.

The body mass index, or BMI, is a tool designed to help you determine your percentage of body fat. While the tool isn’t 100% accurate, it will give you a good idea of your body composition. There are three ranges of weights on the BMI chart; these are “underweight” (BMI of less than 18.5), “normal” or “healthy weight” (BMI of 18.5–24.9) and “overweight” (BMI of 30 or higher). It is important to know your BMI so you can monitor your weight and body fat over long periods of time. Your goal weight should be in the healthy weight range; however, if you are overweight or obese, losing 10% of your weight can be beneficial to your health.

If you are interested in your BMI, the National Institutes of Health has provided a BMI chart at www.nhlbi.nih.gov/guidelines/obesity/bmi_tbl.pdf.

If you want to lose weight, these websites may be helpful:

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