Did you know the American adult population is not getting enough exercise to be considered moderately active? Only one in five meet the daily basic exercise requirements recommended for better health. It is startling that the majority of Americans are increasing their chances for disease through inaction.

The American Heart Association suggests that 150 minutes per week of moderate exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise is the amount needed to be active. Health risks for heart attack, stroke, diabetes and many other diseases increase with inactivity.

Here’s what the Center for Disease Control says on their website:

“Heart disease and stroke are two of the leading causes of death in the United States. But following the Guidelines and getting at least 150 minutes a week (2 hours and 30 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity can put you at a lower risk for these diseases. You can reduce your risk even further with more physical activity. Regular physical activity can also lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels.”

Yet, we all have barriers to overcome on the road to health.

Here’s a list of the major benefits of exercise!

*Longevity
*Ease of movement
*Reduced risk for diabetes
*Reduced risk for stroke
*Reduced risk for heart disease
*Better sleep
*Increased stamina and energy
*Less need for medications
*Better bone health

Here’s some of the simple ways to increase the time you spend exercising!

*Take a walk after lunch or dinner
*Park further away from the entrance to your house or your place of work
*Take the stairs instead of the elevator or the escalator
*Have a dog that requires walks
*Volunteer for an organization where you are moving
*Find a buddy who will join you in your chosen exercise
*Start a garden or volunteer at a community garden
*Join a health club

One time I was walking in a run/walk event at a local park district. While I was walking, I met a young woman who shared that she started walking to release weight. She had lost 150 pounds in a year and half by just walking. She started a block at a time until she could walk in 5K races. She entered everyone she could reach in her area. Her belief was unshaken. Her vision of a healthy life grew month after month. Her smile said it all as she walked on.

Louise Hay, author of You Can Heal Your Life, suggests that you find the exercise you love to do. Dance, martial arts, golf, tennis, swimming, ice hockey, weight lifting, yoga, jogging, running, and the list goes on. When I attended college, in order to graduate, students needed to show that they knew a sport well enough to take it into adulthood. Talk among your friends to see if there is a sport or activity you can do together. A buddy often helps motivate us.

Sometimes it is our mind that stops us from believing that we can handle the activities of our daily life, at home and at work, and exercise, too. If you ask yourself why you are not finding the time to exercise, you will discover the barriers. Your state of mind is found in your language, your beliefs and your physiology. If you find your purpose, if you want to be healthier, you can.

Activity will increase your desire for activity. Start small and increase your commitment, your effort. Believe you can get better. Know that effort is rewarded.

How do you talk to yourself? Are you confident about your body? Can it move well? Can you feel good afterwards? Are you telling yourself that exercise is fun or painful? Here’s the bottom line for me. Exercising brings me pleasure more than pain. I enjoy having a body that serves my active lifestyle. I am glad I am not going to the pharmacy for medications. I am happy I am not spending money on health aids.

May exercise become a bigger priority in your health.