Healthy Choices

Five Ways to Live Healthier, Longer

When looking at the lifestyles of healthy men who reached 90 years or older, researchers found five predictors of a long, healthy life. They are, in order of importance:

Don't smoke.

Maintain a healthy blood sugar level.

Maintain a healthy weight.

Get regular exercise.

Maintain a healthy blood pressure.

Exercise Boosts Metabolism for Weight Control

Regular physical activity is important for overall health and fitness. It also helps control body weight by increasing the calories you expend each day in two ways:

As you exercise you burn four to 10 times as many calories per minute as when watching TV or working on the computer. For instance: Walking 4 mph burns five times the calories per minute as sitting; biking burns seven times the calories; and jogging burns at least 10 times the calories as sitting.

Exercise also builds muscle which results in burning more calories all day long, even at rest. For weight loss, aim for 30 to 60 minutes of physical activity daily. Find how much energy you expend doing your favorite physical activities at: www.wellsource.org/met.pdf.

Risks of Sedentary TV or Computer Use

A new study gives evidence that sedentary time, involving prolonged sitting and absence of whole-body movement, is an independent risk factor for health problems, including increased abdominal fat, blood sugar levels and blood pressure. Even though all of the people in the study were physically active for at least 30 minutes a day, long periods of inactivity still resulted in poorer health and increased risk for serious health problems. Excess TV viewing or computer use can replace healthier activities such as household chores, gardening or playing with the kids. If you just have to watch a lengthy movie or football game, bring your stationary bicycle to the TV, or a treadmill, and put in some active miles while watching. The goal is to avoid long periods of sitting, which is a health hazard. Read more at: www.wellsource.org/hc/recreation.pdf.

Ask the Wellness Doctor:

Q: I want to start walking for fitness, but I don't know where to start. Can you help me?

A: Walking is the most popular form of exercise for most people. It's easy, gentle on the body, doesn't require special skills and provides excellent health benefits when done regularly and briskly. Read the entire answer from Dr. Don Hall at: www.wellsource.org/ask/walk.pdf.

September 01, 2008 / Health
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