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April 3, 2011 at 1:00 PMComments: 0 Faves: 0

7 Health Conditions Exercise Can Improve

By Smarty More Blogs by This Author

Most people realize that regular exercise is important for weight management and cardiovascular health. However, as The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is pointing out, exercise is good for more than our figure. Targeted exercise regimens can help with everything from physical to mental health conditions!

Here are just some of the conditions exercise can help with and specific exercise recommendations for each one:

#1. Rheumatoid Arthritis

How Exercise Helps: For arthritis patients, movement helps to restore flexibility into joints and muscles. In addition, the muscles are strengthened and provide more stability, as well as support for the body.

Recommendation: Low-impact exercises, including walking, bicycle riding, and swimming are particularly effective in relieving the pain and stiffness of arthritis.

#2. Low Back Problems

How Exercise Helps: Contrary to popular belief, physical activity is generally more successful in rehabilitating chronic back problems faster than bed rest! Stronger back muscles decrease the amount of pain associated with lower back problems.

Recommendation: Endurance training, specifically for the back muscles, core muscles, and lower body, is emphasized on the website to maintain the back's mobility.

#3. Asthma

How Exercise Helps: The main focus of asthma patients is breathing and cardiovascular health. Certain forms of interval exercises could be a way to reduce exercise-induced asthma.

Recommendation: Swimming might be a better choice than jogging, for example, because of the high air humidity.

#4. Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD)

How Exercise Helps: Conventional treatment and physical exercise are combined to reduce dyspnoea. Plus, they could make it easier to control the symptoms of COPD.

Recommendation: Overall, exercise is considered an important element in the rehabilitation for COPD patients.

#5. Mental Health

How Exercise Helps: Physical activity is known to boost optimism and have a positive effect on the outlook of life. This is especially significant in the reduction of stress, anxiety, and/or depression.

Recommendation: Improved cognitive ability in older people might be another benefit of both endurance and strength training.

#6. Sleep

How Exercise Helps: Having seven to eight hours of sleep each night is necessary for protecting the body from illnesses and encouraging optimal brain functioning. Some of the short-term and long-term effects of routine exercise are the increase of deep sleep duration, a greater total sleep time, the lessening of rapid eye movement, and sleep onset latency. Also, physical activity could lead to better sleep quality, and raise daytime alertness for people who are working nights or might be experiencing jet lag.

Recommendation: To prevent sleep issues, make getting your 30 minutes of recommended exercise a priority each day.

#7. Cancer

How Exercise Helps: Cancer remains a serious threat and is being extensively researched. The Guidelines Clearinghouse website offered the following explanation: "Physical activity may prevent colon cancer and also postmenopausal breast cancer (Thune & Furberg, 2001). Correlation between the risk of premenopausal breast cancer and physical activity is weaker. The beneficial effect may partly be mediated by the decrease in adipose tissue that in turn leads to decreased production of oestrogen hormones." Besides possibly preventing and treating the above conditions, exercise enhances a person's quality of life in many ways. It can be a strong ally in dealing with the prognosis of a disease or illness.

Recommendation: Consult with a doctor to learn more about which fitness program would be right for your individual goals.

Sources:

http://www.guideline.gov/content.aspx?id=12795&search=anxiety

http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/11427781?dopt=Abstract

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676

http://www.mayoclinic.com/health/exercise/HQ01676/NSECTIONGROUP=2

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