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KEEP THE DOCTOR AWAY; All kinds of exercises can help sufferers cope with a host of illnesses and painful conditions.

EXERCISE can be the key to improving - or even curing - a wide range of ailments.

Here, we bring you an A to Z guide to what could work for you.

Alzheimer's disease: A Swedish study found that people in their late 40s and early 50s who take part in two 30-minute keep-fit sessions every week reduced their risk of dementia by 50 per cent. It's thought that regular cardio exercise helps to keep the small blood vessels of the brain healthy.

Back pain: Any exercise, but especially pilates, that targets the core muscles around the abdomen and lower spine will help to heal back injuries and prevent back problems in the first place.

Constipation: Three core moves, or asanas, practised in most forms of yoga, including Hatha, Iyengar, Sivanda and Ashtanga, can help to alleviate this. All these postures are forward bending and it's claimed they both massage and direct energy to the internal organs.

Depression and anxiety: It's long been know that exercise is a great mood lifter, thanks to a boost in feel-good endorphins. Now an American study has shown that a 30-minute walk offered an instant mental boost, described as similar to the "lift" received by drinking coffee or smoking a cigarette.

Diabetes: Resistance training, such as weights or circuits, is proven to improve blood glucose level control and the general management of type two diabetes.

Fertility: It's known that body mass index (BMI) can be critical to a both male and female fertility. Diet and exercise can play a major role in the stabilisation of your BMI.

Gums: Taking part in gym-based cardiovascular classes can reduce your chances of the gum infection periodontitis by 40 per cent. It's thought that exercise reduces inflammation throughout the body and so boosts oral health.

Heart disease: Inactivity is one of the biggest reasons for the rise in heart disease. Taking part in cardio exercise three times a week will have a huge benefit for the health of your heart.

High blood pressure: Tai chi, which slows down your heart rate, can lower blood pressure in older adults by almost as much as moderate-intensity aerobic exercise.

Neck pain: Nordic walking, which provides an all-over body workout thanks to the use of walking poles, will relieve neck pain, as well as shoulder and back pain. Nordic walkers benefit from increased rotation along the length of the spine and stronger back muscles.

Osteoporosis: All kinds of weight-bearing or impact sports, such as skipping and running, will guard against osteoporosis, or a thinning of the bones.

PMT: A Canadian university study found that 30 minutes of aerobic exercise helped to relieve the symptoms. Other studies have led to the conclusion that exercise can cut the sugar cravings felt by many pre-menstrual women.

Smoking addiction: One five-minute exercise session can be enough to reduce nicotine cravings. It's also been found that a brisk walk helps tackle withdrawal symptoms.

Stress: High-intensity exercise, such as rowing, can be highly effective in reducing stress for up to 90 minutes afterwards. This has been found to be particularly true for women.

Varicose veins: Exercise improves the blood circulation through the legs and can help to combat spider veins and varicose veins. Even if you already have varicose veins, exercise, such as swimming, walking, cycling, jogging and aerobics, will relieve the aching associated with them.

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STRONG MEDICINE: Weight training can help control diabetes
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Title Annotation:Features
Publication:Daily Record (Glasgow, Scotland)
Date:Feb 3, 2010
Words:566
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