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My family doctor recently told me that at every conference she goes to, exercise is touted over and over as the key to improving health. “You really need to exercise,” she said.

Point taken.

While fear has been shown to only motivate people for a short time, that may just be enough to get me into a regular exercise habit. By then the promised post-exercise euphoria is sure to hit. So if you’re like me and you find the prospect of breast cancer and colon cancer scary — think surgery, radiation and chemotherapy — then consider new research that showed 45 minutes of fairly vigorous exercise five times per week seems to help decrease inflammation in the body. Chronic inflammation is linked to cancer and heart disease. Exercise, and you could reduce your risk for breast cancer by as much as 25 percent and colon cancer by up to 35 percent.

Or are you more of a “mental athlete,” alarmed at the possibility of befuddlement and memory loss? Another new study showed exercise boosts the number of mitochondria — the power generators in brain cells — just as it does in muscle. “These findings could lead to … the expanded use of exercise as a therapeutic option to attenuate the negative effects of aging, and the treatment and/or prevention of neurological diseases,” writes lead researcher Dr. Mark Davis.

Resistance is futile (unless it’s in the form of weight training). We have to exercise, so I hope you’ll enjoy our special New Year, New You section, crammed full of creative fitness information and tips.

To your health!

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