Exercise for inactive people: Good news

Exercise newbies get big health benefits

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Good news for inactive people: The less active you are, the more you can improve your health through exercise.

If you tend to be inactive, but have thoughts of getting fit this spring, you may be interested to know that starting and consistently following an exercise program can bring about more significant health benefits than those achieved by someone who is fit (it becomes more difficult to improve when you are already fit).

The good news about exercise for inactive people is this: The less active you are, the more you can improve your health through exercise. And, older individuals (65+) who become fit improve their health and lifespan.

Studies show that regular exercise improves cardiovascular fitness, lowers blood pressure and improves metabolism — all of which are important benefits for heart health.

How to start an exercise program

Participating in a strength-training program at least twice a week is a good start, with aerobic exercise added as much as possible throughout the week (30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week). Also, do a self-assessment [see Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire below, which is recommended by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM)]. Results from this assessment suggest whether you should consult with a healthcare provider before starting an exercise program. Continue reading

Lifestyle changes for heart attack survivor lead to better health

Matt Barribeau talks about his cardiac rehabilitation

Matt-Barribeau-golfingHeart attack survivor Matt Barribeau believed he was in fairly good physical condition when he received a health club membership from his wife, Sherry, for his 48th birthday. Little did he know the first day of his new workout routine would result in a life-altering experience: He suffered a serious heart attack on the drive home with Sherry.

Today, two years later, Matt believes it’s a miracle he is alive considering the severity of his heart attack and his initial grim prognosis. He acknowledges the work of exceptional cardiologists at the University of Michigan Frankel Cardiovascular Center, who he says were operating on him within 10 minutes of his arrival at the hospital. He was diagnosed with 100 percent blockage toward the top of his left anterior descending coronary artery, requiring the insertion of a stent, followed later by intra-aortic balloon pump and swan ganz catheter procedures.

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Why sitting can be harmful to your health

And what you can do about it

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Excessive sitting can be harmful to your health. According to researchers, even exercising on a daily basis may not be enough to thwart the effects of too much sitting during the rest of the day. So what should you do if you’re a student or have a job that keeps you sitting? Theresa Gracik, director of the University of Michigan Preventive Cardiology Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, recommends that you get up once an hour to move around, stretch, climb a set of stairs or visit a co-worker’s office instead of emailing her — anything to get your body moving.

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Good news about exercise for inactive people

Greater improvement possible for those just starting out

green dumbbells

If you’re inactive, starting and following an exercise program can bring about more significant health benefits than for someone who’s already fit.

If you tend to be inactive, but are thinking about getting fit, you may be interested to know that starting and consistently following an exercise program can bring about more significant health benefits than those achieved by someone who’s fit (it becomes more difficult to improve when already fit).

According to Theresa Gracik, director of the University of Michigan Preventive Cardiology Cardiac Rehabilitation Program, “The more de-conditioned you are, the more you can improve your health through exercise.” And, she says, older individuals (65+) who become fit make big strides toward improving their health and lifespan.

Continue reading