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Benefits of Physical Activity

An active lifestyle is vital to good health. Engaging in regular physical activity and reducing sedentary habits like watching television, can play a key role in achieving a healthy body weight, building and maintaining healthy muscles, bones and joints, and improve mental health related to stress and depression. Incorporating physical activity into your daily routine, even in several 10 minute intervals, can help to lower the risks associated with chronic diseases such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, and some cancers.

Getting started:

If you're not sure about becoming active or increasing your level of physical activity because you're afraid of getting hurt, the good news is that moderate-intensity aerobic activity, like brisk walking, is generally safe for most people.

Start slowly. Cardiac events, such as a heart attack, are rare during physical activity. But the risk does go up when you suddenly become much more active than usual. For example, you can put yourself at risk if you don't usually get much physical activity and then all of a sudden do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity, like shoveling snow. That's why it's important to start slowly and gradually increase your level of activity.

If you have a chronic health condition such as arthritis, diabetes, or heart disease, talk with your doctor to find out if your condition limits, in any way, your ability to be active. Then, work with your doctor to come up with a physical activity plan that matches your abilities. If your condition stops you from meeting the minimum Guidelines, try to do as much as you can. What's important is that you avoid being inactive. Even 60 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity is good for you.

The bottom line is - the health benefits of physical activity far outweigh the risks of getting hurt.

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