Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Exercise Lite

Newspaper article St Louis Post-Dispatch (MO)

Exercise Lite

Article excerpt

If you really hate to exercise, why not skip the gym? Instead, tend to your garden, mow the lawn or go for a leisurely walk with a friend.

Even a little bit of physical activity can produce important health benefits. And while experts recommend that you exercise at least 30 minutes every day, just 10 minutes at a time is a plus.

Researchers have produced new evidence that short bouts of daily physical activity can produce long-term health benefits. Health experts used to think that exercise needed to be sustained for at least 20 minutes to produce beneficial effects. They no longer do. Scientists have confirmed that short, 10-minute bouts of moderate exercise make a difference for the better.

Obviously, extending that time improves cardiovascular strength and burns more calories. People who can perform vigorous activities for at least 30 minutes at a time are still encouraged to do so. But a panel convened by the national Centers for Disease Control and the American College of Sports Medicine recommends a more relaxed approach to working out.

Researchers have suspected for decades that exercise provides a protective factor against heart attacks and strokes. New studies have proven that a regular exercise program can lower a person's blood cholesterol level. It can raise the HDL (high-density lipoprotein) the so-called "good cholesterol" and lower the levels of LDL (low-density lipoprotein).

Exercise can also lower blood pressure, reduce the chances of suffering a dangerous blood clot, decrease risk of diabetes and lower the effects of stress hormones such as adrenaline on the heart muscle.

People who exercise "may lose weight, and that is desirable for many people. They burn more calories," says Marjorie Sawicki, who teaches nutrition and exercise at St. Louis University School of Medicine. "For people who have diabetes, their blood sugar control will improve."

New studies at UCLA have shown that people who have mildly elevated blood pressure (mild hypertension) can effectively treat their problems through regular exercise. Researchers say it may be possible to measure and prescribe exercise for specific patients in the way it is now done with drugs. …

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