Wednesday, 10 October 2007

Daily Fit Tip: It's never too late to change

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Daily decisions that seem inconsequential may actually be life-changing choices. Doughnut or apple? Walk the dog or watch TV? Elevator or stairs? The directions you take in the span of mere moments can have an instant effect and can play a huge role in overall health for years to come.

Take exercise. Did you know the health of your arteries improves immediately after you exercise? And diet. While we once thought it took years for the harmful effects of saturated fats to take effect, it's now clear a high-fat meal causes arteries to stiffen right away. Smoking? Your blood pressure is affected instantly when you light up. Now unhealthy decisions don't create catastrophic results in the blink of an eye, but they do plant their seeds and add up over time. This works in reverse too.

Every time you choose to walk instead of ride, put low-fat milk instead of cream in your coffee, and opt for herbs over salt, you're doing your body a big favor. And these decisions will pay dividends in the coming years.

It's never too late to make healthy changes, says Ann Bolger, M.D. at the University of California/San Franciso and Chair for the American Heart Association Council on Clinical Cardiology. Because regardless of your age or condition in life, what you choose to do now will work now. Not only will it matter today, though. It will matter in the long run too.

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