Walk the Talk

Published January 1, 2005

Is the most important benefit of exercising to lose weight? Improve heart functions? Look your best? Build strong bones? Reduce stress?

This may not be a question on “Double Jeopardy,” but it’s one some of us don’t answer correctly. The answer is–“All of the Above.”

We all make excuses for not exercising, but there are many things you can do to incorporate exercise into your everyday life. Instead of taking the elevator, take the stairs. Carry your own shopping bags and create a longer walk by parking at the back of the lot when you go to the grocery store.

Whether you’re already in good shape, at risk for heart disease, or have survived a heart attack, 30 minutes of physical activity a day can be very helpful. Biking, raking leaves, or gardening can get your heart rate up and give you a good workout.

And, to have an even more positive impact on your health, combine an exercise plan with improved eating habits. Stick to a diet that’s low in fat, cholesterol, and salt, and high in fruits, vegetables, grains, and fiber. If you need to lose weight, eat smaller portions and cut out the sweet stuff. It’s never too late to start exercising and eating smart.

Want more info? Call the Federal Citizen Information Center, toll-free, at 888/878-3256, and ask for the free Fitness and Exercise package.

IT’S YOUR HEALTH is written by Conrad Meier, senior fellow in health policy at The Heartland Institute. This program is produced as a public service by Radio America. Meier passed away unexpectedly on March 18, 2005.