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Quickie Workouts Over-Promise, but Any Exercise Better than None

A number of popular fitness plans claim that their quickie workouts will shape you up or slim you down. But most studies show that to prevent disease and weight gain, you need much more exercise than any of these programs recommend.

The programs themselves vary widely; some are based in fitness centers, such as Curves or The Blitz, while others are available only in books. But most studies show that to prevent disease and weight gain, you need much more exercise than any of these programs recommend.

Furthermore, some of these “no-sweat” workouts focus solely on strength training, skimping on aerobic activity and stretching to save time. Aerobic exercise, which raises your heart rate and improves cardiovascular health, has proven long-term payoffs. According to the Harvard Health Letter, a workout routine that doesn’t include aerobic exercise is sorely lacking.

While these quickie workouts are shortcuts that most Americans can’t afford to take, the Harvard Health Letter acknowledges that brief bouts of activity like the ones promoted by these centers and books may be worthwhile for some. After all, a little exercise is better than none. Some research suggests that Americans could avoid weight gain by burning just 100 more calories a day—an extra 15 minutes of walking would do the trick. The Harvard Health Letter recommends adding these short bursts of exercise into your day by taking the stairs instead of the elevator or parking farther away from your destination.

If these programs help a few people who never exercise get off the couch, they’re serving a healthful purpose. For a program that follows these guidelines to www.first-step-program.org
The Harvard Health Letter, September , 2005.

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FACT:
Americans are getting fatter: And at a pace never seen before while government-led attempts to hold in bulging waistlines are doomed to failure, a report claimed on Wednesday. More than 119-million people, 64,5% of the US population, are now considered overweight or obese, according to the Trust for Americans’ Health, an independent advocacy group that says the nation has been let down by ineffective anti-obesity policies. Among the more significant findings of the report, based on figures from the US government’s Canters for Disease Control and Prevention, is the rise in states that consider more than 20% of their population to be obese. In 1985 it was none; this year it is 40. See this weeks Item #13

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