Exercise & Fitness

Exercising regularly, every day if possible, is the single most important thing you can do for your health. In the short term, exercise helps to control appetite, boost mood, and improve sleep. In the long term, it reduces the risk of heart disease, stroke, diabetes, dementia, depression, and many cancers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommend the following:

For adults of all ages

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise like brisk walking or 75 minutes of rigorous exercise like running (or an equivalent mix of both) every week.  It’s fine to break up exercise into smaller sessions as long as each one lasts at least 10 minutes.
  • Strength-training that works all major muscle groups—legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms—at least two days a week.  Strength training may involve lifting weights, using resistance bands, or exercises like push-ups and sit-ups, in which your body weight furnishes the resistance.

For pregnant women

The guidelines for aerobic exercise are considered safe for most pregnant women. The CDC makes no recommendation for strength training. It’s a good idea to review your exercise plan with your doctor.

For children

At least 60 minutes of physical activity a day, most of which should be devoted to aerobic exercise. Children should do vigorous exercise and strength training, such as push-ups or gymnastics, on at least three days every week.

Exercise & Fitness Articles

The case for measuring fitness

Solid evidence links a sedentary lifestyle to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death. However, doctors do not routinely assess their patients’ cardiorespiratory fitness to help them reduce risk. That may soon change. Experts are now calling for cardiorespiratory fitness level to be considered a vital sign and included as part of the patient’s annual check-up. (Locked) More »

Avoid workout injuries

You might be focused on outcomes when you exercise: stronger muscles, weight loss, or other aspects of better health and wellness. But if you don't focus on the exercise, and what it takes to do it safely, you may set yourself up for workout injuries. Safe exercise requires planning and careful execution. Start by finding the best exercise for your ability. For example, if you have joint pain, you can avoid workout injuries by choosing exercise that relieves joint pressure, such as swimming or cycling. If you have balance problems, a supervised exercise program with a personal trainer might be a safer bet. Discuss the options with your doctor, a personal trainer, or a friend; and get the okay from your doctor before starting a program, especially if you have heart or lung disease. Getting the right equipment also helps ensure safe exercise. If using hand weights, start with a level that matches your current ability. And choose clothes and shoes designed for your type of exercise. For example, wear reflective clothing if you're going to walk, run, or cycle outside, so you'll be visible to drivers. More »

Does balance go south starting at 40?

Evidence suggests that the vestibular system in the inner ear—which helps detect motion and maintain balance—starts to decline early in middle age and gets worse with each decade. More »

Fitness trackers: A path to a healthier heart?

New, scientifically validated digital fitness trackers may help people know if they’re exercising enough to lower their risk of heart disease. They rely on an algorithm known as Personalized Activity Intelligence that converts a person’s heart rate to a number of points, based on age, gender, and resting and maximum heart rate. For people who are sedentary or have chronic health conditions, the free iPrescribe Exercise app offers evidence-based advice that can help them exercise safely.  (Locked) More »

Getting to the core of your health

The core is the body’s epicenter, from which every movement revolves. It helps people bend forward and backward and twist side to side, and keeps them upright and balanced whenever they walk, run, stretch, carry, lift, or perform any sport-specific or functional activity. The best core exercises are movements that can activate as much of the core as possible at one time, such planks, lunges, back extensions, and diagonal chops.  (Locked) More »

The 4 most important types of exercise

Some aspects of exercise and fitness are ignored. But everyone should do aerobics, stretching, strengthening, and balance exercises. Aerobic exercise has many benefits, such as improving endurance and reducing the risk of heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, breast and colon cancer, depression, and falls. Strength training builds muscle and bone mass. It helps people remain capable of carrying out daily tasks, such as lifting a bag of groceries. Stretching helps maintain flexibility, which is also important for daily activities, such as bending down to tie a shoelace. Balance exercises help prevent falls. More »

Your New Year’s resolution: A gym membership?

One advantage to joining a gym or health club is access to a wide variety of fitness equipment, which may help prevent boredom and make it easier to get a varied yet balanced workout. Many gyms have personal trainers who can design appropriate, safe exercise programs that teach good form and provide motivation.  (Locked) More »