Be Active

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Forget the images on TV of fantastically "buff" and beautiful bodies running, lifting or cycling with joy and ease. For most of us, exercise resembles "work," which is why we are not as active as we should be. However, what the advertisements don't tell you is that exercise makes you feel good, from the inside out, even on your "bad" days, when the last thing you want to do is put on your sweats and get going.

No matter how we "feel" about exercise or regular physical activity, the reality is that we need it - physically, mentally and financially. The cost of treating chronic diseases, like diabetes and high blood pressure, is on the rise, along with the number of overweight and obese people in America. We must begin to be more active if we are to avoid a health care disaster.

Man on Mountain Bike in Southern Utah

So, read through the following recommendations from the American College of Sports Medicine, pull on your sweats and go be active!

Start slowly - listen to your body and your doctor...
For moderate endurance exercise, simply walk a little further each time you exercise and gradually increase the pace of your walks as the weeks pass. For strength exercise, lift a weight that you usually lift but do it more times than normal. Before beginning an aggressive exercise program, you should see your doctor or an exercise professional for screening tests and program advice.
The biggest risk to exercise is not starting...
You should consider several factors when choosing an aerobic activity for your personal fitness program:
Impact
Some activities involve jumping or pounding that may be uncomfortable or can lead to injury. Swimming, cross country skiing, in-line skating, cycling, and rowing are easier on the joints.
Convenience
Some aerobic activities require expensive equipment, are seasonal, or are not readily available in certain locations.
Skill
Activities that require a lot of skill may discourage you. Try to avoid activities that do not fit with your skill base, and don't quit before you've developed the skills you need for the activity to become enjoyable.
Social factor
Exercising with a group can be fun and beneficial. Sometimes exercising with other people is such fun that you're more likely to continue your fitness program. For safety reasons, some aerobic activities are best done with a group.

You should always be able to catch your breath and speak comfortably while exercising. It is also normal to sense effort, and maybe even discomfort, but you should never sense pain. Learn to use a Rating of Perceived Exertion Scale. Always remember to warm up slowly and to cool down gradually. If you use a trainer, be sure to check credentials. The exercise industry is not well regulated, so be sure to ask questions and seek ACSM certified individuals.

Calories Burned per Hour during Common Physical Activities

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