By Lu Han, MD
All Americans should be regularly physically active to improve overall health and fitness and to prevent many adverse health outcomes. The benefits of physical activity occur in generally healthy people, in people at risk of developing chronic diseases and in people with current chronic conditions or disabilities.
Regular physical activity plays a role in many health outcomes, including; preventing premature death and diseases, such as; coronary heart disease, stroke, some cancers, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis and depression, decreasing risk factors for disease, such as high blood pressure and high blood cholesterol and preventing injuries or sudden heart attacks. And, of course, regular physical activity improves physical fitness, such as aerobic capacity, muscle strength and endurance.
The following tips can help you get active:
- Aim for at least a total of three hours of moderate activity a week. This includes fast walking, dancing or biking.
- Do muscle-strengthening activities at least two days a week. Be sure to strengthen all major muscle groups including the legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders and arms.
- Remember to warm up before beginning with 10 minutes of light walking, jumping jacks or light stretching including neck, low back, arms and legs
- Don’t overdo it if you haven’t been active recently; gradually increase the intensity of activity over time.
Dr. Han is medical director of Raritan Bay Medical Center’s Physical Medicine and Rehabilitation Services. For more information about services provided, including; care of disabilities, injuries or diseases associated with neurological, musculoskeletal, cardiovascular, or pulmonary systems, delivered through its Perth Amboy, Old Bridge, Matawan and Medical Pavilion at Woodbridge locations, call (732) 324-5042 or visit www.rbmc.org/medical-services/rehabilitation.
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