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    Top 10 Fitness Facts

    Some things you should know about exercise

    5. Fitness Can Help Build Relationships

    Think of what exercising with a partner can do for a relationship, whether it's with a spouse, a sibling, or a friend you used to go to lunch with once a week.

    Not only that, says Astorino, but exercise is always more fun when there's someone to do it with. So plan to walk with your spouse after dinner every night. Meet your sister or that friend for tennis or an aerobics class instead of lunch.

    Besides, Astorino says, people who have exercise partners stay with their programs and reach their goals more often than those who try to go it alone.

    "For long-term weight loss, you need to have social support," Astorino says.

    6. Exercise Helps Ward Off Disease

    Research has shown that exercise can slow or help prevent heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, type 2 diabetes, arthritis, osteoporosis (bone loss), and loss of muscle mass, says Astorino.

    It also helps ease some aspects of the aging process.

    "Because exercise strengthens the muscles and joints, it is going to reduce your odds of having some of those aches and pains and problems most adults have, mostly because of the inactive lives they lead," Bryant says.

    Provided you don't overdo it, he says, exercise can even boost immune function -- so you spend less time down with a cold or flu.

    "There isn't a major health problem where exercise cannot have a positive effect," says Byrant.

    7. Fitness Pumps Up Your Heart

    Not only does exercise help fight disease, says Bryant, it creates a stronger heart -- the most important muscle in the body. That helps makes exercise -- and the activities of daily life -- feel easier.

    "Your heart and cardiovascular system will function more effectively," says Bryant. "The heart will build up less plaque. It will become a more efficient pump."

    And "when the heart becomes stronger, it pumps more blood per beat, so at rest, the heart rate is lower," says Astorino. "It's not going to have to beat as fast" to expend the same amount of effort.

    Within only a couple days after you start exercising, Astorino says, "the body readily adapts to the stimulus it's getting and it becomes easier. You will feel less fatigue. It will not take as much effort when it comes to breathing. You shouldn't have as much pain or soreness."

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