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The evidence is overwhelming that moderate exercise is essential for promoting good health. Exercise helps raise HDL (good cholesterol) and lower LDL (bad cholesterol) levels. Moderate exercise reduces deaths from cardiovascular diseases and also promotes general health and a sense of well being. The good news is that relatively little exercise can have significant health benefits. As little as 30 minutes per day of moderate exercise which may include brisk walking, gardening, washing your car, or any other activity which raises your heart rate to 75-80% of your maximal predicted rate will have an effect. Even doing this four days per week will help. To figure out your target heart rate use this formula: (220-age) X 75% = Target rate.
If you have been relatively sedentary and are over the age of forty or have any medical conditions such as diabetes or high blood pressure, or a family history of heart disease, it would be wise to discuss any planned exercise program with your physician.
The ideal way to achieve your exercise goal is to find something that you like to do such as swim, play tennis, garden, or any activity that requires modest exertion and that you enjoy. A brisk walk for 15 minutes twice a day or thirty minutes once a day will also suffice. The important thing is to make a commitment to start exercising in a way that is not so ambitious that you won't do it. It's far better to set a goal of walking around the block every night after dinner and actually doing it than to set a goal of running a mile every day and never doing it. Keep at it. Don't give up. Eventually you will find what works for you. It may be joining a health club or just walking but whatever your preferred form of exercise is you'll feel, look and be healthier for it.