Stephen J. Schueler, M.D.

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Men's Health Exercise

Here are some important questions regarding men's health and exercise.

What is exercise?
Exercise is physical work that keeps the body healthy. Regular exercise has been found to prolong your life. Many people perform hard physical labor, but are not "physically fit".

What is fitness?
Fitness is a sense of well being. You feel energetic, relaxed, and strong when you are physically fit. Your body is usually trim, flexible, and coordinated. Regular exercise is an important part of physical fitness. A healthy diet and lowering stress also help you to be physically fit. Exercise can also reduce stress that allows you to be more "mentally fit".

Exercise affects your body in very complicated ways. Scientists have found that exercise is good for your body in many respects. It may help prevent and treat some illnesses, such as:

More people die from heart disease than any other illness in the United States. Doctors have found that the risk of heart disease is much lower with regular exercise. This is why exercise has become very important in the treatment of heart disease.

How will exercise make me feel?
You must perform regular exercise in order to become physically fit. As you exercise, your body adapts to (becomes used to) the work it must perform. You are then able to tolerate more strenuous activity without tiring. When it becomes a habit, you will feel stronger and more relaxed during normal activities. You will probably sleep better. The exercise may even allow you to lose weight if you follow a proper diet.

Will exercise always help treat illnesses?
Exercise may make you feel better overall, but it will not always make an illness better. For example, let us say you have emphysema (COPD) or lung disease from smoking. Regular exercise may help increase your ability to do things without tiring. You may have much more energy and strength. However, the disease does not improve, and you may not slow down the worsening of the disease.

Physical fitness is a state of mind. You will probably live a healthier lifestyle if you are motivated to be "fit". You may follow a healthy diet, lose weight, stop smoking, and reduce your use of alcohol. All of these factors make you feel better, and allow your body to tolerate an illness better. Exercise also helps your body fight infections.

What are the benefits of exercise?
There are tremendous benefits to regular exercise. Exercise can:

How does exercise help certain diseases?
For all of the following diseases, your doctor should help you plan an exercise program. Exercise has the listed effects on the following illnesses:

In summary, diseases are not caused by a lack of exercise. But physical fitness will improve general health and help slow aging. Talk to your doctor about an exercise program that is right for you. Most importantly, choose an activity that you enjoy!

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