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Exercise is more then looking good
Body Works Fitness Tips

Community Columnist

Thursday, July 5, 2007

Why Exercise is About More Than Just Looking Good

Most people begin an exercise program to lose weight. Their jeans have become too tight and they no longer like the way the look. I can respect that. I have been a trainer for 9 years and I have helped a lot of people lose the weight they wanted and get the bikini-ready body they desired. Along the way, I hope that I have taught at least a few people, that exercise and good nutrition mean so much more than just looking good in a pair of jeans. I wear a lot of hats in my life. I am a wife, a mother of four, a daughter, and for a lot of you; you're personal trainer. As a trainer, my education and experience have given me the tools to help you reach your goals to shed those unwanted pounds and inches. The other hats are what have inspired me to help you understand the reasons why exercise means so much more.

Two months ago, my cousin who is obese went to the hospital with chronic nosebleeds which she could not stop. Her blood pressure was well over the standard of 120/80. She was found to be bleeding behind her eyeballs. She is only 35 years old and newly married. If she does not lose weight and begin a healthy lifestyle including exercise and a good diet, she will not live more than 10 years. Being obese more than doubles the risk of developing high blood pressure (hypertension). Obesity research indicates that about 70 percent of obese men and women suffer from hypertension. This chronic hypertension also puts her at great risk for heart disease. Exercise would greatly improve her chances to begin preventing this. Cardiovascular exercise that promotes improves your body's circulation to help your heart, lungs and other organs work together more efficiently. A strong heart does not have to work as hard to circulate the blood through the body because it can pump more efficiently with each beat. It's impossible to prove you will live longer or never have a heart attack if you're in good physical condition. But cardiovascular fitness helps you feel better and can improve the quality of your life.

Closely related, several members of my family battle Type 2 Diabetes, brought on by years of being overweight, having an unhealthy diet, and getting little to no exercise. Being overweight or obese is a leading risk factor for type 2 diabetes. People with type 2 diabetes are more likely to be overweight and to have high blood pressure and high cholesterol. At least one out of every five overweight people has several metabolic problems at once, which can lead to serious complications like heart disease. Exercise helps the body decrease insulin resistance and burn excess glucose. The prevalence of type 2 diabetes has tripled in the last 30 years, and much of the increase is due to the dramatic upsurge in obesity.

In the past 5 years, I have also had 5 members of my family diagnosed with various forms of cancer. 4 of them are now dead. All of them had lung cancer. They were all smokers as well. Again, they all ate poorly and did not exercise regularly. I know that cancer cannot be prevented from simply exercising and having a good diet. But why not give your body a better chance at fighting the disease. Scientists at the University of Florida say that exercise may increase the action of cancer fighting enzymes, or the activity may strengthen our immune system against this disease. Eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables has been proven time and again to help the body prevent the cellular alterations that can lead to some cancers. Smoking, even socially and/or occasionally, will often lead to an earlier death. It will increase your risk of lung cancer by 87% according to the American Cancer Society. Smoking is also a major cause of heart disease, aneurysms, bronchitis, emphysema, and stroke, and it contributes to the severity of pneumonia and asthma.

In conclusion, regular exercise and a healthy diet will certainly help you look and feel better. But if that is not enough of a reason to do it, than how about the possibility of prolonging your life. The choices you make now will affect you for the rest of your life. Make time in your schedules to get regular exercise make the changes necessary to keep your body healthy. Trust me, the people closest to you will appreciate you taking your health seriously.