In addition to helping to control your weight, research shows that regular
physical activity can reduce your risk for several diseases and conditions
and improve your overall quality of life. Regular physical activity can
help protect you from the following health problems.

Heart Disease and Stroke. Daily physical activity can help prevent heart
disease and stroke by strengthening your heart muscle, lowering your blood
pressure, raising your high-density lipoprotein (HDL) levels (good
cholesterol) and lowering low-density lipoprotein (LDL) levels (bad
cholesterol), improving blood flow, and increasing your heart's working

High Blood Pressure. Regular physical activity can reduce blood pressure
in those with high blood pressure levels. Physical activity also reduces
body fatness, which is associated with high blood pressure.

Noninsulin-Dependent Diabetes. By reducing body fatness, physical activity
can help to prevent and control this type of diabetes.

Obesity. Physical activity helps to reduce body fat by building or
preserving muscle mass and improving the body's ability to use calories.
When physical activity is combined with proper nutrition, it can help
control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.

Back Pain. By increasing muscle strength and endurance and improving
flexibility and posture, regular exercise helps to prevent back pain.

Osteoporosis. Regular weight-bearing exercise promotes bone formation and
may prevent many forms of bone loss associated with aging.

Studies on the psychological effects of exercise have found that regular
physical activity can improve your mood and the way you feel about
yourself. Researchers also have found that exercise is likely to reduce
depression and anxiety and help you to better manage stress.

Keep these health benefits in mind when deciding whether or not to
exercise. And remember, any amount of physical activity you do is better
than none at all.

Source:National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases.
Sreenivasarao Vepachedu, 03/30/98
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