Exercise is a fantastic, healthy return on time investment

Investing in the stock market can be confusing to many.

However, we all know if we invest a dollar and we get more than one dollar  when we decide to sell the stock, we made a wise decision. While many things can affect the price of a stock, very few — if any — are directly related to what the investor does. On the other hand, investing  a little time in regular exercise will most certainly  return positive results  on our health - shortterm  and long-term.

In fact, a study done in 2012 by Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston  found that only 75 minutes of brisk walking per week can mean a gain of 1.8 years of life after age 40 compared to people  who did not exercise. Doubling that to 150 minutes  of brisk walking per week — the amount recommended  by the federal government and the American Heart Association  — resulted in an additional  3.4 years. This equals 1.8 million more minutes. With an average life expectancy of 79 years, the typical person will get three more minutes  of life for every one minute of exercise. This is a fantastic return on our investment. One that we have direct control over.

However, exercise is not the only wise investment  we should make in ourselves to live a longer and healthier life. The American Heart Association’s  seven keys to lifelong  heart health include never smoking, or quitting  more than a year ago; a healthy weight/body mass index; at least 150 minutes of exercise per week; blood pressure below  120/80 mg/dL; fasting blood sugar less than 100 mg/dL; total cholesterol less than 200 mg/dL; a heart-healthy diet which includes at least 4.5 cups of fruits and vegetables and three 1-ounce servings  of whole grains every day, at least two 3.5-ounce servings of fish per week, less than 1,500 mg of sodium  per day and no more than 36 ounces of sugarsweetened  drinks per week.

In addition to helping us maintain a healthy heart and manage our weight, exercise can also improve our mood, help us get a good night sleep and is a great stress reliever.

So instead of worrying about picking the right stock, simply invest in your health with exercise, eating right, not smoking and getting plenty of rest for a long, healthy and rich life.

Individuals should always  consult their physician  before starting any fitness activity. Sheboygan  County has been participating  in National Employee  Health and Fitness Day for more than 20 years. Ask your manager or human resources representative about how you can get involved in this year’s challenge “Let’s Get Physical Sheboygan  County” on May 18. Join us in recognizing National Employee Health and Fitness day by participating in at least 20 minutes of physical activity  on this day and help your organization win. More information may be found on the Sheboygan County Activity and Nutrition’s  website www. healthysheboygancounty .org.

Sherri Samuels-Fuerst is a registered nurse and member of Sheboygan County Activity and Nutrition  Coalition.