Health and exercise benefits not limited to time at the gym

While planned exercise at a health club can be an important part of a good fitness routine, the health benefits of physical activity don’t have to come just from time at the gym.

Studies show that small changes in how you move through the daily routines of life can bring big advantages, according to Fairfield’s Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee, a town government appointed advocacy and education panel.

“Walking or cycling to and from a local store or the train station, parking at a distance and walking to your final destination, taking stairs instead of elevators, are just some examples of how physical activity can be built into your day,” according to Robert Tota, M.D., of Fairfield, a cardiologist and member of the Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian Committee.

Aerobic-ActivityIn fact, according to Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the US Department of Health and Human Services:

• Regular physical activity reduces the risk of many adverse health outcomes, including heart disease, some cancers, diabetes, and others.

• Health benefits of physical activity occur for people of all ages, with and without disabilities.

• Although for “substantial” health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity in at least 10 minute segments preferably spread throughout the week, some physical activity is better than none.

• The benefits of physical activity far outweigh the possibility of adverse outcomes.

Moderate physical activity for an adult can be walking a mile within 20 minutes or cycling up to a mile within six minutes but any level of physical activity provides documented health benefits, according to Dr. Tota.

“Of course those with disabilities and chronic medical conditions should speak with their physicians for guidance on what may be appropriate for them. Also, it is prudent to pay attention to heat, humidity, and air quality reports during the summer season,“ Dr. Tota advises.

For more information on the Fairfield Bicycle and Pedestrian committee and its work promoting safe walking and cycling, visit http://www.fairfieldct.org/bikeped or send an email to [email protected]

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