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Exercise Benefits Everyone //

Exercise is important to everyone.  It helps to reduce the risk of most diseases, improves your sense of wellbeing, and helps to treat or prevent many illnesses.  There is strong evidence that exercise improves heart and muscle fitness in all ages, and it improves bone health with a lower risk of fractures in adults.  

Adults who exercise regularly have a reduced risk of heart attacks, strokes and hypertension.  It also reduces falls & injuries, and reduces depression.  Sleep and memory are both improved in adults.  When combined with a lower calorie diet, exercise can help with weight loss. Studies show that the risk of death is reduced by up to 40% when vigorous activity is increase from 30 minutes a week to 420 minutes a week.  Most of the benefit is reached with just 150 minutes a week.

Children and adolescents need 60 minutes or more of exercise a day.  This should be a vigorous aerobic exercise that increases their breathing and pulse.  Muscle and bone strengthening exercise should three or more times a week.  Muscle strengthening exercises include pull-ups, push-ups, climbing, weight lifting, and exercises using resistance bands.  Bone strengthening exercises are high impact activities that include running, jumping, and basketball.  If anyone faints during exercise or does not seem to be able to exercise, they should be evaluated by their physician before encouraging them to exercise further.

Adults should exercise at least 150 minutes of vigorous activity a week, such as brisk walking.  Muscle strengthening exercise should be added at least twice a week.  Adults often remember their abilities during their school years and try to restart aggressive activity after being inactive for a long time.  It is not uncommon for a high school basketball star, who has been in a sedentary job for ten years, to get injured trying to play basketball with his adolescent son.  After being inactive, adults should start an exercise program at a lower level of duration and intensity than want they were able to achieve before being inactive.  It is important to spend time before and after vigorous exercise to warm-up and cool-down.  Stretching is important way to improve flexibility, but should be done after warm-up. 

Older adults should remain active too.  Even low levels of activity are important.  The goal is to have 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous activity.  Exercise improves balance and reduces falls in older adults.  Older adults with chronic conditions should discuss exercise with their medical provider before starting an exercise program if they are inactive.

Physical activity provides health benefit to every age, but can pose a risk of injury.  Muscle and tendon injuries are common when starting a new exercise program because of lack of physical conditioning, and can be prevented by slowly increasing the length of time and the strength of exercise.  In Seward, serious injuries can occur when exercising on roads without reflective clothing at night or bright clothing during the day.  We have great access to water sports with a swimming pool, rivers, lakes and the ocean.  All water sports carry the risk of drowning.  Even strong swimmers can be overwhelmed when adverse weather overtakes a kayaker, or a canoe is overturned in a lake.  

Summer activities can be enjoyable, but only when the proper safety measures have been taken.  So get out there, strap on a helmet, wear your life vest, stretch before exercise, and let others know when you’re venturing out.  

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