Part II – FITNESS & EXERCISE (following Part I – Food-Nutrition) “Walking at least half an hour, six days a week, can cut mortality rates from heart disease in half”. (Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research). Cardiovascular disease is a serious health threat. Nearly 5 million Americans suffer from it. One of the safest and most effective ways to improve your cardiovascular fitness is by walking. Walking is an ideal, low-impact aerobic exercise. When done regularly, it can reduce the risk of heart disease and cancer, lower total cholesterol, raise healthy HDL cholesterol, and lower blood pressure. It can help maintain healthy bones and muscles, stabilize blood sugar, improve immunity, and relieve some of the stress in your life. Thousands have realized the physical and psychological benefits of walking. That’s why walking has become one of the most popular ways to stay fit. Another reason is because it is inexpensive––all it takes is a little motivation and a comfortable pair of shoes. According to the Cooper Institute for Aerobics Research, men who walk at least half an hour, six days a week, can cut their mortality rate from heart disease in half, compared to those who are sedentary. Studies show similar heart-health benefits for women who exercise regularly. Now there’s a good reason to make a lifestyle change! Exercise keeps us young––it maintains a balance between life, stress, and health. Schedule 15 minutes a day, three days a week to start your walking program. Increase the days or the amount of time every four weeks until you reach your goal. For instance, your goal could be walking five days a week for 45-60 minutes a day. Create a goal for yourself and then make a schedule. Like everything else worthwhile, you can find the time if you want it bad enough. At first it is hard to start something new, but soon enough it becomes a habit and not an option. A healthy lifestyle should not be an option. When fitness becomes part of your lifestyle, major changes will be seen in your life. It is a healthy choice and a benefit to you and your family. Eat right, exercise, and get healthy! Take the first baby step to a new you.