Exercise is necessary to be healthy. As media partner for the Youth Health Mela this month, The Hindu NXg features a series of articles on health and lifestyle. In the third week, it's about the importance of exercise.

So why has exercise taken centre stage in the world today? A large set of people seem to be hitting the gym and wanting to have a toned body. The reasons may differ for everyone, but how many do it with the conscious aim of being fit rather than to reduce body weight? Many a times the need for exercise is lost due to the hype created by the need to have an ideal body weight or figure. Eating healthy foods and being watchful about what you eat may lead to a certain reduction of weight but at some point, the body will grow accustomed to the healthy eating style and will fight to hold on to the excess weight, thereby bringing to halt the weight loss one has been enjoying. Thus, exercise becomes an activity of crucial importance.

Studies report that most people know they should exercise, but still make an excuse that they are unable to make time for it. The trick is to avoid viewing exercise as a chore and making it something enjoyable. Although experts suggest that exercise needs to be done about 5-7 times a week for at least an hour, the long-term benefits of regular exercise tend to show with following a continuous routine, 3-4 times a week for 20 minutes.

Understanding that exercise has many forms helps. Keeping the body fit can also be achieved by doing a host of other activities regularly.

Exercise regularly

A healthy body includes having a physically fit body and a mentally sound mind and this can only be attained through regular exercise. Developing an exercise plan that fits one's lifestyle and desires is critical.

The all-or-nothing thinking about exercise leads people to first bite off more than they can chew and then give up all together. It is also important to tailor fitness goals to each person's preferences. For instance some people like the idea of getting out of the house in the evening and going to the gym. Others prefer staying home and doing a quieter exercise routine after the demands of a stressful day. Either approach, or a combination of the two, can result in improved mind and body fitness.

Regular exercise is one of the best things you can do in order to live a longer and healthier life. The ultimate recipe should be to Live a better disease free life. The Youth Health Mela was conceived with this objective to create an awareness of the need for exercise and fitness among the youth.

Experts say lack of physical activity contributes to some 300,000 deaths each year in the country caused by heart disease, stroke, diabetes and other conditions. Hypertension is a controllable disease and a 2mmHg population-wide decrease in Blood Pressure can prevent 1,51,000 stroke and 1,53,000 coronary heart disease deaths in India each year. One hour of physical exercise could add two hours to your life. Every extra 10 kg of weight reduces life expectancy by three years.

Courtesy: Cancer Institute, Chennai

Keywords: health tips

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