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Exercise and an active lifestyle have many benefits to health. Conversely, a lack of exercise is detrimental to overall health and is specifically associated with several health problems. People with a history of heart disease or over the age of forty should consult a healthcare professional before starting an exercise program.
(The following list is comprehensive, although not necessarily exhaustive. Contact your health care professional for more information.)
Exercise helps decrease body fat13 and improves insulin sensitivity.14 Exercisers are less likely to develop type 2, or noninsulin-dependent diabetes mellitus.15 People with type 1, or insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus, who exercise require less insulin.16 However, exercise can induce low blood sugar or even occasionally increased blood sugar.17 Therefore, diabetics should never begin an exercise program without consulting a healthcare professional.
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10. Duncan JJ, Gordon NF, Scott CB. Women walking for health and fitness—how much is enough? JAMA 1991;266:3295–9.
11. Pekkanen J, Marti B, Nissinen A, Tuomilehto J. Reduction of premature mortality by high physical activity: a 20-year follow-up of middle-aged Finnish men. Lancet 1987;1:1473–7.
12. Willich SN, Lewis M, Lowel H, et al. Physical exertion as a trigger of acute myocardial infarction. N Engl J Med 1993;329:1684–90.
13. Hersey III WC, Graves JE, Pollack ML, et al. Endurance exercise training improves body composition and plasma insulin responses in 70- to 79-year-old men and women. Metabol 1994;43:847–54.
14. Rasmussen OW, Lauszus FF, Hermansen K. Effects of postprandial exercise on glycemic response in IDDM subjects. Diabetes Care 1994;17:1203.
15. Helmrich SP, Ragland DR, Leung RW, Paffenbarger RS. Physical activity and reduced occurrence of non-insulin-dependent diabetes mellitus. N Engl J Med 1991;325:147–52.
16. Grimm J-J, Muchnick S. Type I diabetes and marathon running. Diabetes Care 1993;16:1624 [letter].
17. Bell DSH. Exercise for patients with diabetes—benefits, risks, precautions. Postgrad Med 1992;92:183–96 [review].
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22. Kukkonen K, Rauramaa R, Voutilainene E, Lansimies E. Physical training of middle-aged men with borderline hypertension. Ann Clin Res 1982;14(Suppl 34):139–45.
23. Young DR, Appel LG, Jee SH, Miller ER III. The effect of aerobic exercise and T'ai Chi on Blood pressure in older people: results of a randomized trial. J Am Geriatr Soc 1999;47:277–84.
24. Pedersen BK, Ostrowski K, Rohde T, et al. Nutrition, exercise and the immune system. Proc Nutr Soc 1998;57(1):43–7.
25. McKenzie DC. Markers of excessive exercise. Can J Appl Physiol 1999;24:66–73.
26. Ivarsson T, Spetz AC, Hammar M. Physical exercise and vasomotor symptoms in postmenopausal women. Mauritas 1998;29:139–46.
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28. Slaven L, Lee C. Mood and symptom reporting among middle-aged women: the relationship between menopausal status, hormone replacement therapy, and exercise participation. Health Psychol 1997;16:203–8.
29. Erikssen G, Liestol K, Bjornholt J, et al. Changes in physical fitness and changes in mortality. Lancet 1998;352:759–62.
30. Samaras K, Kelly PJ, Chiano MN, et al. Genetic and environmental influences on total-body and central abdominal fat: the effect of physical activity in female twins. Ann Intern Med 1999;130:873–82.
31. Chow R, Harrison JE, Notarius C. Effect of two randomised exercise programmes on bone mass of healthy postmenopausal women. Br Med J 1987;295:1441–4.
32. Lloyd T, Triantafyllou SJ, Baker ER, et al. Women athletes with menstrual irregularity have increased musculoskeletal injuries. Med Sci Sports Exercise 1986;18(4):374–9.
33. Lee IM, Hennekens CH, Berger K. Exercise and risk of stroke in male physicians. Stroke 1999;30:1–6.