Regular exercise can improve cardiovascular function and lifespan.

It can also help with the following: keep weight down, suppress appetite, improve the cirulatory system, reduce heart disease and increase the efficiency of the heart, and burn off body fat and blood triglycerides. It also strengthens bones, relieves stress and relaxs the body, reduces anxiety and depression, reduces spontaneous blood clotting, and increases general muscle tone and physical fitness.

An excellent form of exercise for improved health is walking or jogging. It is simple and requires no special skills and can be enjoyed at any age. However, anyone over 40 should consult their medical doctor before starting an exercise program.

Walking is an excellent form of aerobic exercise; it puts a moderate level of stress on the cardiovascular and respiratory systems. Studies have shown that the survival rate of heart attack victims is higher in those who have exercised regularly than those who have not.

The benefits in cariovascular fitness is evident from regular exercise of moderate intensity that has been performed 15 to 30 minutes, at least three to five times a week.

It is also important to remember that the more you exercise, the more muscle imbalances occur. It is therefore very important to do stretching exercises before you begin any exercise.

Dr. Robert Weiss lives in Westport and has a sports-podiatry practice in Darien. He is a former marathon runner and was a member of the Medical Advisory Committee of the 1984 and the 1988 Olympic Trials.