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This article is from the WebMD Feature Archive

The Lazy Person's Exercise Plan

By now we all know the dangers of eating too much and exercising too little: heart disease, stroke, diabetes, etc. But even in a society as obsessed with slimness as ours, most of us would rather have a root canal than hit the gym. Well, couch potatoes, take heart! Experts now say that effective exercise can be incorporated into daily life so easily, even the most exercise-phobic among us can shape up.

"The recommendations for physical activity have changed drastically. They make it easier for the general public to achieve the correct levels of exercise because it includes such everyday activities as cleaning house and walking," says Regina L. Tan, DVM, MS, a CDC officer at the Georgia Division of Public Health. After the guidelines were changed from "20 minutes of vigorous activity 3 days per week" to "30 minutes of moderate activity 5 or more days per week," a new questionnaire for assessing activity levels was devised, based on those changes. Tan and colleagues set out to determine whether the new questionnaire offered an accurate means of assessing physical activity levels, and whether those levels had increased since the guidelines were revised.

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