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Introduction The word exercise has become synonymous with modern living Health experts and fitness gurus alike are constantly stressing the importance of physical activity At the same time however the average person seems to be getting less and less exercise Escalators elevators television remote controls and automatic garage door openers have all decreased the need for physical activity Although all of these modern devices act as great time-savers in a hectic world physical activity is essential to ones health Opting for the stairs rather than the elevator can be very significant in determining ones level of health over the long run It is important to remember that the human body was not built to be sedentary but rather an active well-tuned machine For this reason being physically active is essential to good health because it increases ones self-esteem improves bodily functions and enhances ones ability to deal with stress Exercise Improves Bodily Functions According to Murray 1995 the entire body benefits from regular exercise largely as a result of improved cardiovascular and respiratory function Exercise enhances the transport of oxygen and nutrients into the cells At the same time exercise enhances the transport of carbon dioxide and waste products from the tissues and into the bloodstream and ultimately to the eliminative organs Pollack Murray 1995 states that regular exercise is particularly important in lowering the risk of heart disease It does this by lowering cholesterol levels improving blood and oxygen supply to the heart increasing the functional capacity of the heart lowering blood pressure lowering obesity and exercising a favourable effect on blood clotting Regular exercise also increases stamina and energy levels Lark 1996 further states that exercise improves brain function by promoting better oxygenation and blood circulation to the brain and increasing the output of beta-endorphins Also exercise improves physiological functions by stabilizing blood sugar level reducing food cravings improving elimination through the bowels and kidneys and reducing blood pressure Hoffman 1997
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