RODALE NEWS, EMMAUS, PA—By the tenor of many discussions surrounding health care reform, all of our problems could be solved with tort reform, government regulation of insurance companies, and more money directed to screening measures and diagnostic tests mammograms. But, says the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), true reform starts with true preventive care: exercise.
The ACSM wrote an open letter to the president after his Wednesday-night address to Congress and asked him "to ensure that healthy lifestyles, including increased physical activity and better nutrition, play a much more prominent role in the future than it has in the past." Five of the most cost-intensive illnesses, they add, can be prevented with 30 minutes of exercise a day: cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, lung disease, and strokes. "The medical delivery system is really focused on fixing what has already occurred, not on what we are doing to control chronic illness in the broader scope of medical delivery," says William O. Roberts, MD, past president of the American College of Sports Medicine and professor in the department of family medicine and community health at the University of Minnesota Medical School.
In that vein, Rodale.com will be running a series on easy ways to get started doing various exercises, particularly since fall's cooler temperatures make it a great time to get outside and a little sweaty.
First up, a guide for beginning runners. Running is an inexpensive and vastly popular sport that isn't limited by age or gender. According to the Sporting Goods Manufacturer's Association, about 15 million adults are frequent runners, split evenly between men and women. Data from Runner's World magazine puts the average age of runners at 40. And it's easy to start. All beginning runners really need is motivation and a pair of shoes (or not…more on that in a moment).