Showcasing the Mediterranean diet and Asian diet  
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Physical activity also strengthens your heart and immune system, and helps reduce the risk of atherosclerosis (clogged arteries) thus giving you a more robust age-fighting body. As professor Ancel Keys noted while conducting the Seven Countries Study: "During the field work of this study it was not uncommon to see men [in Greece] of 80 to 100 years of age and more going off to work in the fields with a hoe."

Regular weight-bearing movement (walking, gardening, dancing, etc.) also helps prevent the bone-thinning disease osteoporosis, which is a major health problem for many older women and men in Western countries. And being physically active can also reduce your risk of heart attack. A study conducted by researchers from the University of Washington in Seattle and the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor found that people who walk for exercise can reduce the risk of having a first heart attack by 73 percent and those who garden can reduce the risk by 66 percent compared with people who are not regularly physically active. "When performed for more than 60 minutes a week, walking for exercise or gardening was associated with a similar risk reduction to that of high-intensity leisure-time physical activity," reported Dr. Rozenn N. Lemaitre, who helped conduct the study.

Regular physical activity also builds strength and stamina, reduces high blood pressure and the risk of stroke, helps your body deal with the physiological effects of stress, and improves sleep.

No pain, all gain

You don't have to stick to a grueling structured exercise plan to get health benefits. For thousands of years Mediterranean and Asian peoples have happily kept fit simply by moving naturally as part of their everyday lives—and so can you. Here are some good examples of how to incorporate physical activity into your daily life without having to formally exercise:

Walk down to your local park for lunch instead of being stuck at home or in the office
Avoid traffic jams and cycle to work
Play golf
Throw around a football
Dance around the house to your favorite CD
Play with the kids
Walk the dog
Make love
Go scenic walking (parks, gardens, or hiking)
Walk around a zoo, museum or gallery


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