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Three Reasons You SHOULDN'T Avoid a Workout

Workouts help MANY situations.
Arthritis hurts. But not working out
will only result in more pain.

Working out is something people do to live longer. As doctors learn more, they're finding there are fewer and fewer valid reasons to skip the gym. Here are three exercise skipping excuses, that just aren't true.

You have arthritis.

Doctors used to advise people with arthritis to avoid exercise in the mistaken belief that exercise could further damage the joints and make the situation worse. That's false.

At the Institute for Behavioral Research in The Netherlands they took patients with arthritis who were admitted to the hospital because of a disease activity and randomly assigned them to one of two groups. One group had three weeks of intensive exercise therapy when they were discharged. The other was given "usual care" when they left the hospital.

What they found was that the group with intensive exercise therapy had a "better quality of life at lower costs after 1 year." And that was with only three weeks of exercise! Hundreds of studies have come to the same conclusion. Exercise improves muscle function in people with arthritis and does not affect disease activity.

Arthritic individuals tend to avoid exercise because they're afraid it will hurt. Unfortunately for the first couple of weeks, they're right. Anyone who begins any exercise program will experience some muscle pains and discomfort when they start. But after the first few weeks, a regular program of exercise helps reduce long term arthritic pain and suffering.

You're pregnant.

There's a myth that women who exercise during pregnancy increase the risk of an early delivery.

That all depends on the type of exercises. In 2009 the Universidad Politécnica in Madrid, Spain decided to run a test. They enrolled 142 pregnant women, that didn't exercise, and split them into two groups.

The first group of 72 started a light resistance training and toning program, three times a week. They had 80 workout sessions, from weeks 12-13 to 38-39 of their pregnancy. The second group of 70 were the controls and they didn't exercise.

At the end of the study, researchers found there were no significant differences in how old the babies were when they were born between the exercising and non-exercising groups.

In fact, exercise is so important for pregnant women that the American College of Obstetrics and Gynecology released guidelines titled, "Exercise in Pregnancy and the Postpartum Period." In that document they listed all the potential problems women might experience without exercise. Here's what they said:

"Women and their care providers should consider the risks of not participating in exercise activities during pregnancy, including loss of muscular and cardiovascular fitness, excessive maternal weight gain, higher risk of gestational diabetes or pregnancy-induced hypertension, development of varicose veins and deep vein thrombosis, a higher incidence of physical complaints such as dyspnea or low back pain, and poor psychological adjustment to the physical changes of pregnancy."

That doesn't mean a pregnant mom can or should engage in a stressful, high impact aerobics program. Starting a LIGHT resistance and toning regime is safe for the baby.

You've just had a heart attack.

Aerobic type exercises were always considered a vital part of the rehabilitation program, but resistance programs were often ignored or even discouraged. There was a belief that lifting weights could cause "myocardial strain." Doctors believed lifting weights increased the risk of aneurysm, arterial dissection or even stroke.

The doctors were wrong. Researchers found that "myocardial strain" was lower in subjects performing a circuit-based weight training program than during an 85% effort on a treadmill test. Further studies found that people did better when they combined a resistance and aerobic program, than people who just pursued an aerobic program alone.

Because of this new information, the American Association of Cardiovascular and Pulmonary Rehabilitation (AACVPR) issued recommendations for resistance training in 2004. The guidelines suggest 3 sets per exercise with 12 - 15 reps per set. The intensity allowed varies from "light" to "somewhat hard" as your strength and health improve.

Resistance training exercises can be started after two weeks of regular participation in cardiac rehab for patients recovering from a transcatheter procedure and four weeks of consistent participation after a myocardial infarction or cardiac surgery. The ultimate goal is to regain the strength needed to return to your normal activities.

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CAUTION: Check with your doctor before
beginning any diet or exercise program.