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Which of the following in NOT a direct benefit of a regular walking regimen?
Reduce Stress
Improved immune function
Achieving ideal weight.
Improved sugar metabolism

 Fitness Programs for Special Populations: Special Populations and Exercise:
A New Era In Fitness

However, exercise training over time reduces blood pressure levels. The key is finding the right type of exercise program that will not raise blood pressure much during exercise, and have beneficial long-term effects.

It has been found that moderate aerobic training (walking, aerobic machines, swimming, etc.) have little effect on blood pressure levels, if they are performed at a certain heart rate range. Regular exercise is best at keeping blood pressure levels in check. Sporadic training routines have little effect in the long run, and persons may not get into their exercising "groove" in terms of figuring out their heart rate, and their exercise intensity.

Dr. Deepak Chopra, the author of "Quantum Healing", has added much information as to the effects of changing lifestyle and its effect on cancer patients. Those who perform meditation, regular exercise, and dietary interventions have had a better recovery from their cancer-related therapies. Exercise plays an important part of cancer recovery by strengthening weak muscles, adding more functional capacity in persons who have little energy for daily work activities, and boosting self-esteem though successful performance of tasks, and achieving goals. Moderate walking and water exercise programs have been successful with this group. The use of rubber tubing substitutes for dumb bells in terms of muscle strengthening. In the future exercise may be a part of every cancer patient's recovery package.

One of the most interesting areas of exercise and medical populations is the effect exercise has on blood lipids. As heart disease is the worst chronic disease afflicting Americans, anything that can reduce cholesterol and other blood fats in the diet, and by other means is regarded highly.

It seems that aerobic exercise (and to some extent, strength training), has an effect on lowering total cholesterol with exercise. It raises the protective cholesterol (HDL), and reduces the atherosclerotic-producing cholesterol (LDL), along with cholesterol sub-fractions which may have an effect on health status. Judging by its effects on hyperlipidemia (high fat levels in the blood), patients with this disorder may use exercise as a type of medicine, and the right "prescription" may help reduce their blood fat levels, reducing their chance of suffering a cholesterol-related heart problem.

Arthritis patients have had to deal with pain their joints with every movement. So why should they exercise - as exercise makes joints move in lots of directions, and sometimes with a heavier load than just getting around? Exercise has been shown with this group to have beneficial effects of lessening the pain and inflammation of chronic rheumatoid arthritis. Programs such as PACE (People with Arthritis Can Exercise) have opened doors for persons and given them options as to what types of exercises they can perform, and the effects of exercise over prolonged periods of time.

Exercise has been shown to have beneficial effects in patients with Cystic Fibrosis, Post-Polio Syndrome, Raynaud's Syndrome, End-Stage Renal Disease, Pulmonary Disease, and Peripheral Vascular Disease. Exercise is also being studied as to its beneficial effects on newer diseases such as HIV/AIDS, and Chronic Fatigue Syndrome. The American College of Sports Medicine has set guidelines for exercise professionals on dealing with these types of patients during exercise situations. With a joint effort by the health care community, patients who would have never thought of using exercise as part of their medical treatment may be working with their exercise specialist in addition to their doctor, nurse, dietitian, or physical therapist.

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 About The Author
Eric Durak received his Master of Science degree from the University of Michigan in 1986. His research experience is in the application of exercise for special population groups, such as diabetes, high risk pregnancy,......more
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