America's Worst Health Habits -- Is Yours Among Them?

Plus tips on how to quit them for good this year (10 Photos)

Brenda Kearns on Jan 21, 2011 at 11:24PM

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America's Worst Health Habits -- Is Yours Among Them?

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We Aren't Exercising

Losing weight nearly always tops the list of New Year's resolutions. But it's tough to lose or maintain your weight if you're not exercising. And few of us are. A new report reveals only 5 percent of Americans get regular, vigorous exercise. This inactivity isn't just bad for our waistlines, it's bad for our health. Dubbed Sedentary Death Syndrome, dozens of studies now show that lack of exercise more than doubles the risk of obesity, diabetes and heart disease, says Stephen Sinatra, M.D., an assistant professor of medicine at the University of Connecticut.

Fix: People are twice as likely to succeed at making exercise part of their daily lives if they start with smaller, simpler workouts instead of high-intensity sessions, explains Dr. Sinatra. That can mean a 10-minute stroll each day. Follow that formula for a few weeks, he suggests, then add a bit more time each week until you work up the stamina to stride for 30 minutes daily. Eventually, you may want to increase your pace to jog or run. But even a regular walk at a brisk pace can provide health, and weight-loss, benefits.

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