Nutrition Action Healthletter
Jan/Feb 2000 — U.S. Edition 

Exploding Ten Exercise Myths

Try a Selection From Our Myth-O-Matic
If you can’t exercise regularly, why bother?

It takes ten to 12 weeks of regular exercise to become “fit” — that is, to improve your performance on a treadmill (a measure of your oxygen capacity). But your health can improve after that first brisk walk or run.
   “Take a 50-year-old man who is somewhat overweight and typically has moderately elevated blood sugar, triglycerides, or blood pressure,” says Stanford’s William Haskell. “A single bout of exercise of moderate intensity — like 30 to 40 minutes of brisk walking — will lower those numbers.”
   And not just while you’re moving. “If you exercise at, say, five o’clock in the afternoon, the improvement will be there the next morning,” he adds.
   That may be why postal carriers (or others who are active at work) have a lower risk of heart disease than postal clerks (or others who are sedentary at work). “There’s not much difference in their fitness levels, but the carriers have lower blood sugar, triglycerides, and blood pressure,” says Haskell.
   People should still try to at least follow the Center for Disease Control’s modest advice to get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most — or preferably all — days of the week, he adds. But if you can’t, don’t let that stop you from taking even a single walk.
   “Every bout has benefits,” says Haskell.

Illustrations: Loel Barr

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