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While it may be impossible to reverse all damage caused by some chronic diseases, it is possible to manage and improve symptoms through exercise and other lifestyle changes.

Inactivity and risk for disease

Living an inactive lifestyle is one of the biggest factors contributing to many diseases. According to a CDC estimate, only 1 in 5 Americans are meeting established physical activity guidelines.

Inactivity is a contributing cause of  conditions such as high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, depression, obesity, dementia and heart disease. Evidence indicates that exercise may also decrease the risk for certain types of cancer, such as breast, colon and prostate cancer. Overall, living a sedentary lifestyle can be detrimental to your health.

The important role of exercise

Exercising is one of the best ways to prevent and reverse disease, along with diet. It’s never too late to start exercising regularly. Any amount of physical activity offers health benefits.

Guidelines show you should be engaging in either 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 75 minutes a week of vigorous physical activity. In addition, you should also do resistance exercises to strengthen all of your muscle groups at least two to three days a week.  It’s also important to move frequently throughout the rest of the day. Taking walks, choosing to take the stairs, and standing – rather than sitting — at your desk are great ways to keep your blood flowing while you work.

Pairing regular exercise with a plant-based diet can work wonders for disease prevention and reversal. Being obese or overweight puts you at a greater risk of developing health issues and diseases, so make it a point to stay in shape.

Positive lifestyle changes, like becoming more active, can save your life and should be an integral part of your day. If you believe you could benefit from receiving support with lifestyle changes, visit a lifestyle medicine specialist.

UCF Health offers lifestyle medicine specialty care from its office in Lake Nona.

Weekly Health Tips are brought to you by UCF Health, the College of Medicine’s physician practice. Offering primary and specialty care under one roof, UCF Health treats patients age 16 and up in primary care and age 18 and up for specialty care. Most major insurance plans are accepted. Two locations are now open: the original in East Orlando at Quadrangle and University boulevards just blocks from the main UCF campus, and the newest one in Medical City at Narcoossee Road and Tavistock Lakes Boulevard. Information for both facilities can be found at, or call (407) 266-DOCS to schedule an appointment.

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