HEALTHY LIVING: A basic exercise program provides many benefits

By Tim Rockwell

For The Courier-Herald

How can you increase your energy, reduce your stress and health care costs, and have a more pleasurable life at the same time? Begin a basic exercise program.

Embracing an exercise routine is one of the best things you can do for yourself. It can take as little as three hours per week and produce many benefits, such as:

• Stronger heart and lungs

• Improved blood pressure

• Better sleep

• Less stress

• Weight loss

• Improved memory

• Overall sense of well-being

• Reduced risk for osteoporosis and joint pain

• Decreased risk of cancer

• Reduced risk of stroke

• Reduced risk of depression

Set aside 30 to 45 minutes, three to four times each week, for new activities or for those you already enjoy. Bicycle or walk with a friend or spouse. Swim or enroll in a water or low-impact aerobics class at the senior center, YMCA or health club. Play tennis or racquetball. Dancing also is a fun way to get aerobic exercise.

Before beginning any exercise routine, talk with your doctor or health care provider. When you begin exercising, it’s important to start slowly and gradually build your stamina and endurance. Remember to stretch before and after exercising. For safety and comfort, make sure you use the proper clothing and equipment for the activity you choose.

Exercise and physical fitness are the keys to a longer, happier life. So get going – and have fun on your journey toward better health.

Tim Rockwell is a physical therapist with the Franciscan Health System, which includes St. Elizabeth Hospital in Enumclaw. E-mail your questions to


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