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Bivens’ column: Take time to exercise, get fit

If you could increase your quality of life, would you? Would you like to add extra years to your life? Dedicating just 30 minutes of your day to exercise can do this for you and more. The National Institute on Aging states, “If exercise could be packed into a pill, it would be the single most widely prescribed and beneficial medicine in the nation.” Such a true statement! So, what is the best exercise you can do? It’s the one you’re going to do.
There are many excuses we use for not exercising; the weather is too hot or too cold, kids, too fat, don’t have the money, too old, too tired and the list goes on! The number one excuse for people not exercising is – yes, you guessed it – time. If there is something you really want to do, don’t you find a way to do it? Just 30 minutes a day should be carved out of your day for exercise. We are creatures of habit. Once you get in a daily routine exercising, it will become a habit!
There are so many benefits of exercise you’ll wonder why you haven’t been doing it! Exercise strengthens the heart and lungs; it keeps you from getting tired; helps you sleep better, and it protects against the start of Type 2 diabetes and certain cancers. It helps control blood pressure; helps improve digestion and elimination. Research has shown people who exercise have a better memory, better reaction times and better levels of concentration than non-exercisers. Exercise improves posture, coordination and appearance; it improves our range of motion, mental alertness and self-confidence. Exercise also helps us cope with stress, depression and anxiety.
For all of you who are still convinced you don’t have time to exercise, break your time up into 10-minute increments of fitness throughout the day. For example, during TV commercials, I try to get in arm curls, side bends, sit-ups, leg lifts, jogging in place, or anything that gets my heart rate up.
You need to incorporate aerobic, muscle-strength and flexibility exercise into your weekly workouts for total overall fitness. Aerobic exercise works your heart and lungs. Exercise examples include walking, jogging, raking, swimming dancing, cycling, mowing (push-mower), and treadmill.
Here are a few tips for an enjoyable exercise experience: Stretch, drink plenty of water while exercising; drink water before your work out, during workout and after. Wear comfortable, loose-fitting clothing. Cotton is great for absorbing moisture and dries quickly. Wear a good supporting sneaker shoe; one that fits correctly and is comfortable.
Now, I would like to challenge you to join us at an “Eat Healthy, Be Active” community workshop.
In our revised six-week program you will participate in more exercises. After all, physical activity is the key to living well. You will also have fun learning tips for losing weight and keeping it off; eating healthy on a budget; reading nutrition labels and facts; modifying recipes, tips for eating out, and much, much more. The program will last only one hour. The EHBA workshop is ideal for civic clubs, senior centers, church groups, Homemakers clubs, and you,
I would like to challenge you to join us and get started exercising, eating better and becoming a healthier you. For more information and to register, call the Escambia County Office at 251.867.7760. The workshop is sponsored by the Alabama Cooperative Extension System – Escambia County Office.