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How Can Exercise Help You Manage Chronic Disease?

In the United States, chronic disease is the number one cause of disability and death amongst citizens. About half of all Americans were suffering from at least one chronic disease in 2012. In 2014, 7 out of the top 10 causes of death had been identified as chronic conditions.

Fortunately, health experts agree that you can do one thing to not only lower your risk of suffering from a chronic disease, but also manage a chronic disease you already have. The secret? Physical exercise.

High cholesterol, high blood pressure, persistent pain, inflammation--all of those are things that can be managed with increased physical fitness. As one specific example, participating in aerobic exercise can prevent heart disease. If you already have heart problems, moderate intensity can help stop it from becoming more serious.

On the other hand, strength training will build muscle and, in turn, promote health joints. This will work to preserve mobility and function for healthy people as they get older. If you suffer from arthritis or type 2 diabetes, however, it can help decrease pain and improve glucose control. Flexibility exercises can also do wonders for improving range of motion and reducing the potential of a fall for every body.

Start Slow

Now, the secret is to start slow with any new exercise program. Figure out what chronic conditions you are suffering from or most at risk for and then use that knowledge to help you design an appropriate workout program that will help bring you better health.

Once you decide on a workout program that you'd like to start, move forward slowly at a comfortable pace. The biggest mistake anyone can make when starting a new exercise program is failing to address their current fitness and activity levels. This leads to them jumping into a program that is simply going to put too much physical strain on them, increasing their risk of energy and quickly dwindling their motivation to continue.

Instead, figure out where you're at and start slowly. Push yourself a bit harder each day as you get stronger and increase your endurance. In a matter of weeks, you'll be amazed at just how far you have come versus trying to go too far from the start and ending up injuring or hurting yourself--that will only slow down your physical fitness progress and hinder your health.

With the right level of physical activity, you can prevent and manage a range of chronic conditions. Ask your doctor what they suggest for you.

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