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

It's never too late to start exercising!

The older people get in the United States, the less active they are. But it’s never too late to become physically active, and evidence shows that changing from being inactive to active benefits health. More »

To keep your heart working well, stay active as you age

As people grow older, their hearts tend to become thicker and stiffer and not pump as effectively. But those who stay physically active as they move from middle age into their 70s may be less likely to develop age-related declines in heart function. More »

5 ways to give the gift of health

When giving a gift that benefits health, consider the receiver’s interests, and accommodate previous injuries, surgeries, medical conditions, or functional limitations. Ideas for gifts include services, such as a health club membership or a gift certificate for a few sessions with a personal trainer; gadgets, such as a wearable fitness monitor or an automatic pill dispenser; exercise classes, such as tai chi or ballroom dance; workout equipment, such as yoga mats or free weights; and knowledge, such as a Special Health Report from Harvard Health Publications. (Locked) More »

Need to remember something? Exercise four hours later

Research suggests that exercising four hours after learning may improve your memory of the new information. People who exercised four hours after a learning session retained information better than those who exercised immediately after the lesson and those who did not exercise. More »

Step lively with healthier feet

Over the years, feet can become more susceptible to problems that make walking more difficult and dangerous, such as bunions, hammertoes, claw toes, and heel pain. While some of these issues result from genetics or specific medical conditions, many are caused by poor footwear choices, inadequate foot care, and muscle imbalances. (Locked) More »

Why sitting may be hazardous to your health

Inactivity may be as powerful a risk factor for early death as smoking is. However, short bouts of exercise can diminish the adverse effects of inactivity, and 60 to 75 minutes of moderate exercise can erase the health effects of eight hours of sitting. Inactivity may be as powerful a risk factor for early death as smoking is. However, short bouts of exercise can diminish the adverse effects of inactivity, and 60 to 75 minutes of moderate exercise can erase the health effects of eight hours of sitting. (Locked) More »

Walking while golfing: Is this sufficient exercise?

Studies of golfers have found that playing 18 holes is about equal to brisk walking in terms of intensity—even though golf walking is stop-and-go. However, in order to gain the maximum cardiovascular benefit from exercise, people may want to add a day or two of higher-intensity activities, such as running, tennis, or something similar that raises your heart rate. (Locked) More »