Physical activity also helps prevent the loss of lean muscle tissue that may occur when dieting. In addition, studies have indicated that people who participate in regular physical activity tend to have a lower body mass and adopt healthier lifestyle habits, including quitting smoking and choosing healthier foods.
And not to be overlooked, exercise can help alleviate stress and contribute to a positive attitude. Many people report that a regular program of physical activity brings an improvement in self-esteem and self-image along with an improvement in physical appearance. An increase in strength can even contribute to greater general mobility and make it easier to handle basic, everyday tasks. It's never too late to get moving. But if you haven't been active in a while or if you've had a heart attack, talk with your doctor about becoming physically active. If you experience any warning signs, including dizziness, shortness of breath, cold sweat, or pain or pressure in your upper body, stop the activity, and seek medical attention immediately.
For an exercise program to be effective, you need to exercise within the range of your target heart rate. To find out how to determine your target heart rate and track your exercise, see the next page.