Archive for December, 2018

6 steps toward a successful exercise resolution

Many people want to be more active, but don’t follow through on their fitness goals. First reflect on your reasons for wanting to exercise, and what’s holding you back from doing it. Then create a plan that is realistic and fits into your life.

Give yourself an annual health self-assessment

Matthew Solan

Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

An annual health self-assessment—a full analysis of your well-being—is a way to evaluate your status, taking into account both what you have accomplished and where you may be able to improve.

Surgeons are doing fewer knee surgeries

Robert H. Shmerling, MD

Senior Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publishing

Arthroscopic surgery is very effective for certain knee conditions but less so for others. That didn’t stop orthopedists from recommending them, but based on data from Florida this may be changing.

Can exercise help conquer addiction?

Claire Twark, MD


As the US contends with the ongoing opioid epidemic, the idea that exercise can help people cope with and ultimately overcome addiction is gaining traction. Exercise helps provide structure and focus, helps treat mental health issues related to substance use, and can bring together individuals with a common goal.

Does social media make you lonely?

Do you feel you spend too much time on social media? Does the time you do spend on social media leave you feeling depressed, anxious, or lonely? Being more aware of how much time you spend and how it makes you feel, and taking steps to limit your usage, could leave you feeling better.

Alcohol use disorder: When is drinking a problem?

While it may have been overshadowed by the opioid epidemic, alcohol use disorder is at least as common, if perhaps not quite as sensationalized. Many people do not realize that medications and counseling can help people reduce or eliminate their alcohol use.

Benefits of a healthy diet — with or without weight loss

Can you improve your health by changing your diet, even if you are unable to lose weight? Three studies examined different variations on the DASH diet, and all found improvements in blood pressure, plus lower LDL cholesterol and triglycerides in one instance — even without weight loss.

Heart failure and salt: The great debate

While doctors typically recommend restricting sodium for heart failure patients, a recent review of studies found limited and inconclusive evidence that a low-salt diet makes a difference. But good judgment tells us that avoiding excess salt is good advice for everyone, not just those with heart failure.

Seasons of grief

Bill Williams

Guest Contributor

The loss of a family member to death related to a substance use disorder inevitably continues to affect the survivors, altering their relationships with each other and causing celebratory days or events to become new reminders of what has been lost.

The new exercise guidelines: Any changes for you?

Lauren Elson, MD


What do the new government guidelines for exercise and physical activity mean for you? It depends on your age and ability, but overall, move more, sit less.