Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture. Why a strong core is important + exercises to try. @ClevelandClinic

cleveland evrything starts wit your core

If you’re planning to start an exercise program and wondering where to begin, start with your core first, says physical therapist Brittany Smith, DPT. People often think of the core muscles as being the abdominal muscles, but the core includes the muscles in the abdomen, back and hips, all working together as a group.

“The core muscles provide stability for the entire body as it moves,” says Smith. “These muscles are activated when you stand up, turn, bend, reach, twist, stoop and move in most other ways. Everything starts with your core.”

Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture, while weak ones can lead to slouching and slumping. Poor posture can be a cause of aches and pain, especially in the back.

Getting started with your core

To get your core muscles in shape, you need to exercise.

“Our bodies were made to move, so any physical activity is really important,” says Smith.

She recommends these specific core-strengthening exercises below.

The first one engages the deep muscles in the abdomen, called the transverse abdominis. “These muscles help hold us in a better position to stabilize our core, thereby stabilizing our arms and legs,” says Smith.

“The more you work on these muscles, the more it will become second nature to hold these muscles tight when you’re lifting grocery bags, doing yard work or any other kind of physical activity,” says Smith. This will help support your body.

Other muscles that tend to be weak are the gluteus maximus in the buttocks, and the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus on the side of the hip. The bridge and clamshell exercises can help strengthen these muscles.

Smith emphasizes that getting the proper position of these exercises correct is more important than the number of repetitions you do. “It’s better to take your time, maybe do fewer reps, but with better quality,” she says. For that reason, it can be helpful to have the guidance of a physical therapist to get started.

Move on from the core

Core exercises are the starting point of overall fitness because you need to hold those muscles engaged while you strengthen other muscles, such as the biceps in the arms or the quadriceps in the legs.

Smith suggests setting short-term goals (for about a month) and then more long-term goals. Once you have achieved short-term goals, such as getting around more easily, add other types of weight-training or resistance exercises to build muscle elsewhere.

With any exercise you do, always listen to your body, warns Smith. If you have pain other than muscle burn, take it easy. Reduce the number of repetitions, the weight or the duration of the exercises. Then build up gradually. “You don’t have to be in pain to make gains,” she says.

Beginner exercises for core strength

For each of the following, work up to one to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions once a day.

Abdominal bracing

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles, and press the arch of your back down toward the floor, pulling your belly button toward your spine. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Make sure your lower back stays flat on the floor. Relax and repeat.

Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your arms at your sides. Squeeze your abdominal and buttocks muscles, push your heels into the floor and slowly lift your buttocks and hips off the floor. Keep your back straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

Clamshell

Lie on your side with knees bent in line with your hips and back, draw up the top knee while keeping contact of your feet together as shown. Don’t let your pelvis roll back during the lifting movement. Hold for 5 seconds.

Planning to Start Exercising? Start with Your Core First

Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture. Why a strong core is important + exercises to try. @ClevelandClinic

cleveland evrything starts wit your core

If you’re planning to start an exercise program and wondering where to begin, start with your core first, says physical therapist Brittany Smith, DPT. People often think of the core muscles as being the abdominal muscles, but the core includes the muscles in the abdomen, back and hips, all working together as a group.

“The core muscles provide stability for the entire body as it moves,” says Smith. “These muscles are activated when you stand up, turn, bend, reach, twist, stoop and move in most other ways. Everything starts with your core.”

Strong core muscles help you maintain good posture, while weak ones can lead to slouching and slumping. Poor posture can be a cause of aches and pain, especially in the back.

Getting started with your core

To get your core muscles in shape, you need to exercise.

“Our bodies were made to move, so any physical activity is really important,” says Smith.

She recommends these specific core-strengthening exercises below.

The first one engages the deep muscles in the abdomen, called the transverse abdominis. “These muscles help hold us in a better position to stabilize our core, thereby stabilizing our arms and legs,” says Smith.

“The more you work on these muscles, the more it will become second nature to hold these muscles tight when you’re lifting grocery bags, doing yard work or any other kind of physical activity,” says Smith. This will help support your body.

Other muscles that tend to be weak are the gluteus maximus in the buttocks, and the gluteus medius and gluteus minimus on the side of the hip. The bridge and clamshell exercises can help strengthen these muscles.

Smith emphasizes that getting the proper position of these exercises correct is more important than the number of repetitions you do. “It’s better to take your time, maybe do fewer reps, but with better quality,” she says. For that reason, it can be helpful to have the guidance of a physical therapist to get started.

Move on from the core

Core exercises are the starting point of overall fitness because you need to hold those muscles engaged while you strengthen other muscles, such as the biceps in the arms or the quadriceps in the legs.

Smith suggests setting short-term goals (for about a month) and then more long-term goals. Once you have achieved short-term goals, such as getting around more easily, add other types of weight-training or resistance exercises to build muscle elsewhere.

With any exercise you do, always listen to your body, warns Smith. If you have pain other than muscle burn, take it easy. Reduce the number of repetitions, the weight or the duration of the exercises. Then build up gradually. “You don’t have to be in pain to make gains,” she says.

Beginner exercises for core strength

For each of the following, work up to one to two sets of 10 to 15 repetitions once a day.

Abdominal bracing

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor. Contract your abdominal muscles, and press the arch of your back down toward the floor, pulling your belly button toward your spine. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds. Make sure your lower back stays flat on the floor. Relax and repeat.

Bridge

Lie on your back with your knees bent and feet flat on the floor with your arms at your sides. Squeeze your abdominal and buttocks muscles, push your heels into the floor and slowly lift your buttocks and hips off the floor. Keep your back straight. Hold for 5 to 10 seconds.

Clamshell

Lie on your side with knees bent in line with your hips and back, draw up the top knee while keeping contact of your feet together as shown. Don’t let your pelvis roll back during the lifting movement. Hold for 5 seconds.

Planning to Start Exercising? Start with Your Core First

Starting a Workout Routine – Tips to start moving and grooving @ClevelandClinic


Exercise
 is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. But if you’ve gotten out of the habit of being active — or have never found an exercise routine that works — it might feel like an impossible task to get started.
Luckily, it’s never too late to figure out a workout routine. Here’s how to start exercising — and tips to stay motivated when all you want to do is hang out on the couch instead.
What should I include in my exercise program?
Every exercise session should include a warm-up, a conditioning phase and a cool-down phase.
The warm-up
In a nutshell, a warm-up helps your body adjust slowly from rest to exercise. Making this part of your routine reduces the stress on your heart and muscles, and slowly increases your breathing, circulation (heart rate) and body temperature. A warm-up can also help improve your flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
The best warm-up includes stretching, range of motion activities and beginning the activity at a low-intensity level.
Conditioning phase
The conditioning phase follows the warm-up and is the time when you’re burning calories and moving and grooving.
During the conditioning phase, you should monitor the intensity of your activity. The intensity is how hard you’re exercising, which can be measured by checking your heart rate.
Over time, you can work on increasing the duration of the activity. The duration is how long you exercise during one session.
Cool-down phase
The cool-down phase is the last phase of your exercise session. It allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to near-resting values.
However, a cool down does not mean to sit down. In fact, for safety reasons, don’t sit, stand still or lie down right after exercise. This might cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or have heart palpitations (fluttering in your chest).
The best cool down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity. You might also do some of the same stretching activities you did in the warm up.
General exercise guidelines
In general, experts recommend doing a five-minute warm up, including stretching exercises, before any aerobic activity, and include a five- to 10-minute cool down after the activity. Stretching can be done while standing or sitting.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when starting a workout routine:
Determine the best exercise routine for your lifestyle
Not everybody likes to hop out of bed in the morning and go for a run. Figuring out a routine that fits your lifestyle can help you be more successful.
Here are some questions you can think about before choosing a routine:
What physical activities do I enjoy?
Do I prefer group or individual activities?
What programs best fit my schedule?
Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
What goals do I have in mind?
(These might include losing weight, strengthening muscles or improving flexibility, for example.)
Don’t try and exercise too much too fast
Gradually increase your activity level, especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Guidelines around how often to exercise also differ depending on your age, any health conditions you have and your fitness history.
Set big and small goals — and be specific
If you’re looking to reach a particular goal, exercise specialist Ben Kuharik suggests setting mini goals to achieve along the way. This ensures your motivation stays strong over the long haul.
Setting a specific goal is also important. “For example, if you want to lose some weight, it’s hard to be motivated or stick to a plan,” he says. “That’s because you don’t have the excitement in knowing you are getting closer to achieving it.”
Having smaller goals or milestones to reach in between the big ones keeps you on track. “If you want to lose 8 pounds in two months — and you set a mini goal of losing 1 pound a week in the process — you get the sense of accomplishment that reaffirms your efforts,” Kuharik says. “And this can snowball into achieving even greater goals.”
This also applies if you fall short of your goal. “If you only lose 7 pounds in two months, you’re still 7 pounds down than when you started,” Kuharik affirms. “You’ll feel great about the progress you’ve already made.”
Schedule exercise into your daily routine
Plan to exercise at the same time every day, such as in the mornings when you have more energy or right after work. Add a variety of exercises so you don’t get bored.
Where exercise is concerned, something is also always better than nothing. “Not every day will go as planned,” Kuharik notes. “If you unexpectedly have a tight schedule or are even just having an off day, doing half of your planned workout that day is much more rewarding and beneficial than skipping it altogether.”
Exercise at a steady pace
Keep a pace that allows you to still talk during the activity. Be sure not to overdo it! You can measure the intensity of your exercise using the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. The RPE scale runs from 0 to 10 and rates how easy or difficult you find an activity.
For example, 0 (nothing at all) would be how you feel when sitting in a chair; 10 (very, very heavy) is how you feel at the end of an exercise stress test or after a very difficult activity. In most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels 3 (moderate) to 4 (somewhat heavy).
Keep an exercise record
Keep a record of how much and when you exercise. This can help you look at goal-setting, as well as get a sense of how much activity you’re doing in a given week.
Time your eating and drinking properly
Wait at least one and a half hours after eating a meal before exercising. When drinking liquids during exercise, remember to follow any fluid restriction guidelines you might have.
Only buy what you need
Exercise doesn’t have to put a strain on your wallet. Avoid buying expensive equipment or health club memberships unless you’re sure you’ll use them regularly. But you’ll want to dress for the weather (if working out outside) and wear protective footwear. Sneakers are the one thing you should prioritize, as you want to make sure your feet are protected.
Stick with it
If you exercise regularly, it’ll soon become part of your lifestyle. Make exercise a lifetime commitment. Finding an exercise “buddy” can also help you stay motivated.
Don’t forget to have fun
Exercising should be fun and not feel like a chore. “Consistency is key — but to do something consistently, it’s important to find a way to enjoy it,” Kuharik says.
So, above all, choose an activity you enjoy! You’ll be more likely to stick with an exercise program if you don’t dread working out.
“Try to look at exercise as an opportunity to get away from stress, clear your mind and leave nagging thoughts at the door,” Kuharik encourages. “With this in mind, over time, you will look forward to giving your mind a break and feeling good after a great workout session!”
Exercise: Where To Start
You should always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Together, you can figure out a plan to ease into regular physical activity.
And walking and climbing stairs are two easy ways to start an exercise program.
Walking guidelines
Start with a short walk. See how far you can go before you become breathless. Stop and rest whenever you’re short of breath.
Count the number of steps you take while you inhale. Then exhale for twice as many steps. For example, if you inhale while taking two steps, exhale through pursed lips while taking the next four steps. Learn to walk so breathing in and exhaling out become a habit once you find a comfortable breathing rate.
Try to increase your walking distance. When setting specific goals, you might find you can go farther every day. Many people find that an increase of 10 feet a day is a good goal.
Set reasonable goals. Don’t walk so far that you can’t get back to your starting point without difficulty breathing. Remember, if you’re short of breath after limited walking, stop and rest.
Never overdo it. Always stop and rest for two or three minutes when you start to become short of breath.
Stair climbing
Hold the handrail lightly to keep your balance and help yourself climb.
Take your time.
Step up while exhaling or breathing out with pursed lips. Place your whole foot flat on each step. Go up two steps with each exhalation.
Inhale or breathe in while taking a rest before the next step.
Going downstairs is much easier. Hold the handrail and place each foot flat on the step. Count the number of steps you take while inhaling, and take twice as many steps while exhaling.
Whichever activity you choose, remember, even a little exercise is better than none!

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aerobic exercise exercise exercise and heart health exercise plan moderate exercise

12 Truths About Drinking Everyone Should Know @mindbodygreen

1. “I wish I had known how much I was self-destructing with alcohol.”

All the embarrassing situations, the things you’ve said that you shouldn’t—after you stop drinking, you realize just how destructive the alcohol was. “It’s so easy and convenient to delay your problems with alcohol. But it sure doesn’t solve them,” says one OYNB veteran.

2. “I wish I’d known alcohol was causing so many of my chronic health issues.”

From reflux to IBS, acne to vitamin deficiency—the list goes on. Once people quit the booze, they see just how many chronic health issues disappear. The problem started inside you, and the solution might be there, too.

3. “I wish I had known how much more self-respect I would have after I quit.”

So many of us drink because we lack the confidence to be vulnerable without “liquid courage.” But consistently losing control doesn’t cultivate self-esteem. Over time, it erodes it. Learning how to handle your life, and eventually realizing that you can conquer any challenge—without any numbing agents—is the best thing you can do for your long-term self-acceptance and personal growth.

4. “I wish I’d known how much younger I’d feel.”

“I’ve got an extra spring in my step that people my age just don’t have. People think I’m 10 or 15 years younger than I actually am. My eyes are gleaming again; my skin is vibrant. There’s a sparkle in my life that has been missing since I was young and free. I thought the closest I would get to feeling that sparkle was getting drunk. Turns out, the alcohol is exactly what was keeping me from it.”

5. “I wish I’d recognized how significantly it would improve my relationships.”

“My wife and I were on the brink of divorce, and now we’re more in love than we’ve ever been. Friendships rooted in shared vices have fallen away, and authentic, loving relationships have risen up in their place.” When you remove the veneer of alcohol, meaningful relationships will flourish.

6. “I wish I’d known that quitting booze was the gateway to overhauling my life.”

The impact of alcohol isn’t limited to the changes you experience while you’re drunk or while you’re hungover. It negatively affects your life in a thousand other ways. It exacerbates anxiety, anger, depression. It encourages bad habits like eating junk food and skipping workouts. When you ditch the booze, your life will experience a total metamorphosis.

7. “I wish I’d known it was limiting my ability to be a good parent.”

This is a bit of a gut-wrencher. But almost without exception, parents who have gone off the booze say they are better parents now than they ever could’ve been while drinking. When it comes to parenting, the only argument that booze is a good thing is the one that says a stressed parent is a better parent. But we all know there are a million healthier coping mechanisms for anxiety and tension than drinking. And your kid, more than anyone else in the world, deserves a fully present, engaged parent. From rushed bedtime stories to short-tempered outbursts, a drinking problem can rob you of the ability to be the kind of parent you want to be.

8. “I wish I’d known it was robbing me of my memories.”

So many events missed, so many moments gone. From weddings to birthday parties, vacations to intimate conversations, a booze-addled brain can never be counted upon to hold on to what’s important. Perhaps the scariest memory failure the frequent drinker experiences is the inability to answer the question, “How did I get home last night?”

9. “I wish I’d realized how much money it was costing me.”

You’re already paying rent, spending money on vacations, putting food on the table, etc. You probably don’t realize how much money you waste every month on liquor—especially if you socialize in a metropolis like London or New York. A few nights of heavy drinking a week can easily add up to a thousand-dollar-a-month habit. Think about all the things you’d rather spend that money on than drinking your life away.

10. “I wish I’d known how much liquor was holding me back.”

We forget our hobbies, deprioritize our families, put our business ideas on the back burner. Under the veil of alcohol, nothing seems all that important. It’s only when you clear away the film of booze that you can feel the true importance of those things you set aside. And often, by then it’s too late.

11. “I wish I’d known how much peace it would bring me.”

“Changing my mindset and cutting out booze helped me find a level of peace I don’t think I’ve ever had in my adult life. I just can’t believe how different I feel. It’s like a fog has been lifted. A cloud that had been following me around for years is finally gone.” We all know that alcohol is a depressant, but we often choose not to recognize how it may be controlling us. You have to remove that variable from the equation in order to recognize how it changes the outcome.

12. “I wish I’d done it sooner.”

Looking back on the years of misguided drinking—time spent trying to appease someone else or hide hurtful or shameful feelings—the newly sober are confronted with a profound sense of regret that they wasted as much time as they did. Once you see how good life can be sans alcohol, it’s hard to perceive time you spent drinking as time well-spent.

Thousands of people are happier, healthier, fitter, more productive, more well-rested, achieving their dreams, starting their businesses, running those marathons, feeling happy, loving their partners, spending time with their kids, being present, and absolutely loving their lives.

So what are you waiting for? You can learn more about the alcohol-free challenge here.

https://www.mindbodygreen.com/articles/12-truths-about-drinking-everyone-should-know

Starting a Workout Routine – Tips to start moving and grooving @ClevelandClinic


Exercise
 is a vital part of a healthy lifestyle. But if you’ve gotten out of the habit of being active — or have never found an exercise routine that works — it might feel like an impossible task to get started.
Luckily, it’s never too late to figure out a workout routine. Here’s how to start exercising — and tips to stay motivated when all you want to do is hang out on the couch instead.
What should I include in my exercise program?
Every exercise session should include a warm-up, a conditioning phase and a cool-down phase.
The warm-up
In a nutshell, a warm-up helps your body adjust slowly from rest to exercise. Making this part of your routine reduces the stress on your heart and muscles, and slowly increases your breathing, circulation (heart rate) and body temperature. A warm-up can also help improve your flexibility and reduce muscle soreness.
The best warm-up includes stretching, range of motion activities and beginning the activity at a low-intensity level.
Conditioning phase
The conditioning phase follows the warm-up and is the time when you’re burning calories and moving and grooving.
During the conditioning phase, you should monitor the intensity of your activity. The intensity is how hard you’re exercising, which can be measured by checking your heart rate.
Over time, you can work on increasing the duration of the activity. The duration is how long you exercise during one session.
Cool-down phase
The cool-down phase is the last phase of your exercise session. It allows your body to gradually recover from the conditioning phase. Your heart rate and blood pressure will return to near-resting values.
However, a cool down does not mean to sit down. In fact, for safety reasons, don’t sit, stand still or lie down right after exercise. This might cause you to feel dizzy, lightheaded or have heart palpitations (fluttering in your chest).
The best cool down is to slowly decrease the intensity of your activity. You might also do some of the same stretching activities you did in the warm up.
General exercise guidelines
In general, experts recommend doing a five-minute warm up, including stretching exercises, before any aerobic activity, and include a five- to 10-minute cool down after the activity. Stretching can be done while standing or sitting.
Here are some other things to keep in mind when starting a workout routine:
Determine the best exercise routine for your lifestyle
Not everybody likes to hop out of bed in the morning and go for a run. Figuring out a routine that fits your lifestyle can help you be more successful.
Here are some questions you can think about before choosing a routine:
What physical activities do I enjoy?
Do I prefer group or individual activities?
What programs best fit my schedule?
Do I have physical conditions that limit my choice of exercise?
What goals do I have in mind?
(These might include losing weight, strengthening muscles or improving flexibility, for example.)
Don’t try and exercise too much too fast
Gradually increase your activity level, especially if you haven’t been exercising regularly. Guidelines around how often to exercise also differ depending on your age, any health conditions you have and your fitness history.
Set big and small goals — and be specific
If you’re looking to reach a particular goal, exercise specialist Ben Kuharik suggests setting mini goals to achieve along the way. This ensures your motivation stays strong over the long haul.
Setting a specific goal is also important. “For example, if you want to lose some weight, it’s hard to be motivated or stick to a plan,” he says. “That’s because you don’t have the excitement in knowing you are getting closer to achieving it.”
Having smaller goals or milestones to reach in between the big ones keeps you on track. “If you want to lose 8 pounds in two months — and you set a mini goal of losing 1 pound a week in the process — you get the sense of accomplishment that reaffirms your efforts,” Kuharik says. “And this can snowball into achieving even greater goals.”
This also applies if you fall short of your goal. “If you only lose 7 pounds in two months, you’re still 7 pounds down than when you started,” Kuharik affirms. “You’ll feel great about the progress you’ve already made.”
Schedule exercise into your daily routine
Plan to exercise at the same time every day, such as in the mornings when you have more energy or right after work. Add a variety of exercises so you don’t get bored.
Where exercise is concerned, something is also always better than nothing. “Not every day will go as planned,” Kuharik notes. “If you unexpectedly have a tight schedule or are even just having an off day, doing half of your planned workout that day is much more rewarding and beneficial than skipping it altogether.”
Exercise at a steady pace
Keep a pace that allows you to still talk during the activity. Be sure not to overdo it! You can measure the intensity of your exercise using the Rated Perceived Exertion (RPE) scale. The RPE scale runs from 0 to 10 and rates how easy or difficult you find an activity.
For example, 0 (nothing at all) would be how you feel when sitting in a chair; 10 (very, very heavy) is how you feel at the end of an exercise stress test or after a very difficult activity. In most cases, you should exercise at a level that feels 3 (moderate) to 4 (somewhat heavy).
Keep an exercise record
Keep a record of how much and when you exercise. This can help you look at goal-setting, as well as get a sense of how much activity you’re doing in a given week.
Time your eating and drinking properly
Wait at least one and a half hours after eating a meal before exercising. When drinking liquids during exercise, remember to follow any fluid restriction guidelines you might have.
Only buy what you need
Exercise doesn’t have to put a strain on your wallet. Avoid buying expensive equipment or health club memberships unless you’re sure you’ll use them regularly. But you’ll want to dress for the weather (if working out outside) and wear protective footwear. Sneakers are the one thing you should prioritize, as you want to make sure your feet are protected.
Stick with it
If you exercise regularly, it’ll soon become part of your lifestyle. Make exercise a lifetime commitment. Finding an exercise “buddy” can also help you stay motivated.
Don’t forget to have fun
Exercising should be fun and not feel like a chore. “Consistency is key — but to do something consistently, it’s important to find a way to enjoy it,” Kuharik says.
So, above all, choose an activity you enjoy! You’ll be more likely to stick with an exercise program if you don’t dread working out.
“Try to look at exercise as an opportunity to get away from stress, clear your mind and leave nagging thoughts at the door,” Kuharik encourages. “With this in mind, over time, you will look forward to giving your mind a break and feeling good after a great workout session!”
Exercise: Where To Start
You should always talk to your doctor before starting an exercise routine. Together, you can figure out a plan to ease into regular physical activity.
And walking and climbing stairs are two easy ways to start an exercise program.
Walking guidelines
Start with a short walk. See how far you can go before you become breathless. Stop and rest whenever you’re short of breath.
Count the number of steps you take while you inhale. Then exhale for twice as many steps. For example, if you inhale while taking two steps, exhale through pursed lips while taking the next four steps. Learn to walk so breathing in and exhaling out become a habit once you find a comfortable breathing rate.
Try to increase your walking distance. When setting specific goals, you might find you can go farther every day. Many people find that an increase of 10 feet a day is a good goal.
Set reasonable goals. Don’t walk so far that you can’t get back to your starting point without difficulty breathing. Remember, if you’re short of breath after limited walking, stop and rest.
Never overdo it. Always stop and rest for two or three minutes when you start to become short of breath.
Stair climbing
Hold the handrail lightly to keep your balance and help yourself climb.
Take your time.
Step up while exhaling or breathing out with pursed lips. Place your whole foot flat on each step. Go up two steps with each exhalation.
Inhale or breathe in while taking a rest before the next step.
Going downstairs is much easier. Hold the handrail and place each foot flat on the step. Count the number of steps you take while inhaling, and take twice as many steps while exhaling.
Whichever activity you choose, remember, even a little exercise is better than none!

FACEBOOK
TWITTER
LINKEDIN
PINTEREST

Email
aerobic exercise exercise exercise and heart health exercise plan moderate exercise