Exercise Introduction

When’s the last time you changed the channel without using the remote? Walked to the store for milk instead of driving? Took the stairs instead of the elevator, or parked at the far end of the parking lot instead of circling around for five minutes looking for a closer space? If you’re like most Americans, it’s been awhile.

Desk jobs, television addiction, and convenience devices like remote controls and riding lawn mowers, coupled with our fixation on cars, have created a sedentary nation, with more than 6 of 10 American adults either inactive or underactive. Small wonder that this country is in the midst of an obesity epidemic.

What does this have to do with your heart? Everything. Moderate exercise alone isn’t going to lower your cholesterol significantly, but it will help you avoid a heart attack—most likely the reason you wanted te lower your cholesterol in the first place. Exercise is a virtual panacea for the cardiovascular system, lowering blood pressure, reducing resting heart rate (so your heart doesn’t have to work so hard to pump blood), making the blood less likely to form dangerous clots, and slightly dropping LDL and increasing HDL. It also helps your body utilize insulin and glucose, so you’re less likely to develop metabolic syndrome or ciabetes.

The link between exercise and heart disease has been clear for years, with lack of physical activity running second only to cigarette smoking as a risk factor for coronary heart disease,  published in the November 7, 2002, New England Journal of Medici showed for the first time that exercise by itself has beneficial effects on chalesteral, even without any accompanying weight loss, In the study the participants did the caloric equivalent of walking briskly or jogging 12 or 20 miles a week, exercising either vigorously or moderately. In terms of cholesterol benefits, the intensity made no difference; what was important was the amount of exercise. The more participants moved, the larger and fluffier their cholesterol particles became. Recall that it’s the smaller, denser LDL particles that are most likely to burrow into the lining of the artery wall and cause plaque.

You simply cannot follow the Plan without exercising because exercise is so vital to the overall health of your heart and blood vessels. It also facilitates weight loss, which reduces your a  triglyceride level. Even if you don’t lose weight, physical activity can still help you live longer. Research from the Cooper Institute in Dallas found that being physically use a pedometer to track your fit significantly protects against premature steps, aiming for  regardless of your weight. In fact, showed that obese people who were fit had  our one-third the risk of premature death as their heavy but unfit counterparts—roughly he same risk as fit, lean men.

Equally important are the benefits of @ Stretching to maintain flexibility. physical activity to your mental state. Our Clean-and-Stretch Series is so simple you can even do it in the shower. Numerous studies point to aerobic exercise (like walking) as one of the best remedies for anxiety and depression, capable of boosting mood, self-esteem, and mental functioning. It can also help you deal with stress, which, as you’ll find out in this , is important to controlling your cholesterol and avoiding a heart attack. On the  Plan you won’t have to train for a marathon or even join a gym. All the exercise we recommend—at least 30 minutes of walking on most days (more if you need to lose weight), plus a little strength training to keep your body toned and rev your metabolism—can be done with little or no equipment. The key is to get moving, feel better, have more energy, and become less susceptible to stress.

A few words of caution before you read further: If the most exercise you’ve gotten in the past year was running through the airport to catch a plane after standing in the security checkpoint for two hours, give your doctor a call. You need to get medical clearance before starting any program that increases your level of physical activity, as the Plan will do. The same applies if you already have heart disease or any other chronic illness.