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Byline: Liza Williams

Jane Woodhead, Senior Account Manager at Paver Smith Public Relations in Liverpool and a former ECHO journalist, trains at Wallasey Athletic Club five times a week. She also trains at Wallasey Amateur Boxing Club. With just six days to go until she takes part in the Paris Half Marathon, Jane focuses on why it is so important to exercise.

THERE can be no arguments, exercise is good for you.

In addition to making you feel more energetic, relieving stress and helping to reduce the risk of osteoporosis, physical activity is also the best possible medicine for a healthy heart.

Research shows exercise actually reduces the risk of developing heart disease by half.

Physical activity also helps to lower blood pressure, reduces your chances of having a stroke and your chances of developing diabetes - so it really is a no-brainer.

For many of us it is the thought of having to spend hours in the gym or pounding the streets and this is enough to fill us with such fear to just simply not bother. But the good news is, it does not have to be this difficult.

In fact, the people who are likely to benefit the most are those who do absolutely no exercise.

So if you are a "couch potato" now is the time to get off the couch and get active.

A little activity is much better than none. A brisk walk, cycling or dancing all have their benefits.

In addition to being good for your health, research shows that people who exercise notice improvements in their mood and self confidence.

The most important factor is to start slowly and gradually build-up. When you come to the end of your exercise routine you should also slow down gradually.

One way of checking if you are doing enough when you are walking is to do the "talk test." If you can talk easily, you are not walking briskly enough; if you can talk but you feel warm and are breathing more heavily than normal you are walking at the right pace; if you can't talk you are probably walking too fast.
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Liverpool Echo (Liverpool, England)
Date:Mar 2, 2009
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