Get back into shape week: How important is physical fitness?

Don’t wait until Jan. 1 to set a resolution to get fit. Usher out 2010 by starting a physical fitness routine now and make it the best Christmas present you’ve ever had. It’s “Get back into shape week” here at — today here are some reasons why fitness is so important.
People make time for appointments to get their teeth cleaned, pets checked by the vet, oil in the car changed, meeting friends for dinner and lots more things. Too often many people overlook the most important thing they have going for themselves – their health. Getting regular physical activity along with eating a healthy diet are the two most important things you can do for your health.
To get started, people should understand that physical activity doesn’t always have to mean joining a health club or setting up a fancy home gym, although that can certainly help a lot.
People of all ages can benefit from a moderate amount of physical activity each day, such as 30 minutes of brisk walking, or 15 minutes of jogging.
Previously inactive people who begin physical activity programs should start with short sessions (5-10 minutes) and build up to the desired level of physical activity.
Regular physical activity can greatly improve quality of life. Staying active can extend your lifespan, protects against the development of coronary heart disease (CHD), stroke, hypertension, obesity, non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, osteoporosis, colon cancer, and depression. Exercise helps people stay more independent as they advance into their elderly years.
Physical activity can help blood flow in the lungs and heart remain healthy and even keep brain chemistry healthy. It may even improve mood and cognitive functioning.
Unfortunately, studies show that more than 60 percent of U.S. adults do not engage in the recommended amount of activity. Incredibly, approximately 25 percent of U.S. adults are not active at all.
A 1993 study concerning causes of death in the U.S. ranked tobacco as the No. 1 killer and at no. 2, you guessed it, lack of exercise/poor diet, followed by No. 3, alcohol.
If you are not physically active consult a doctor and come up with a plan to gradually begin an exercise program. It is never too late to start exercising regularly.
Isn’t this an appointment worth taking the time to make — and keep?

At Home Fitness consultant Aaron Dorksen’s blog deals with a variety of fitness topics, ranging from workout tips, motivational ideas and feature stories on how exercise impacts people’s lives. E-mail him with comments, questions or ideas for future blogs at