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

3 easy exercises to get you started with strength training

It’s estimated that only 30% of American adults do the twice-per-week strength training recommended by experts. Some people think they need special equipment to perform strength-building exercises, while others just don’t know where to start. Adding three simple exercises—push-ups, reverse lunges, and planks—to one’s physical activity twice a week can help improve strength, which may help a person stay independent longer. (Locked) More »

6 ways to maximize lung health

There are many ways to maximize lung health. For example, exercising gets the heart and lungs pumping, causing a person to take deep breaths. Those deep breaths open up all areas of the lungs and assist in clearing out accumulated lung secretions (mucus). Other ways to maximize lung health include avoiding exposure to air pollution, quitting smoking, practicing deep breathing exercises, controlling weight, and getting out of a chair at least once per hour to take some deep breaths. (Locked) More »

Can you avoid macular degeneration?

Age-related macular degeneration can be slowed or treated. There is hope for future treatments, and many approaches are being studied, such as gene therapy and stem cell therapy. For now the only advice to help ward off AMD is to practice healthy lifestyle habits such as exercising, not smoking, controlling blood pressure, and eating a healthy diet. Getting regular, comprehensive eye exams is one of the best ways to detect eye disease early and save vision. (Locked) More »

Fight chronic inflammation and cholesterol to protect your heart

High cholesterol and chronic inflammation together raise the risk for heart attacks, strokes, and related problems. Several approaches can fight both at the same time. One is eating a heart-healthy diet that includes vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains, nuts and seeds, lean proteins (fish and poultry), low-fat dairy foods, and olive oil. Another is controlling weight, since fat tissue triggers chronic inflammation. Other approaches include increasing physical activity and addressing sleep and stress issues. (Locked) More »

Optimize your exercise routine

People new to exercise should do it whenever they feel motivated and energized. Morning workouts may help people feel energized and creative and lead them to make more careful food choices throughout the day. But people’s joints and muscles may feel more limber in the afternoon, and an afternoon workout can provide a healthy, energizing substitute for a 3 p.m. snack. More »

Step up your walking workouts

Walking can improve cardiovascular health, strengthen the immune system, and help manage weight. Yet it’s easy to make walks too passive. To provide the full benefits of walking, workouts need to pose a challenge and be tailored to meet specific fitness goals. The best way to do this is to adjust routines to focus more on intensity, strength, and endurance. More »

Depression and heart disease: A double-edged sword?

Depression and cardiovascular disease are common conditions that often occur together. People with depression can find it hard to muster the energy to stick to healthy habits, including choosing and preparing healthy foods and taking prescribed medications on schedule. Three lifestyle changes can improve both illnesses: doing regular exercise, getting plenty of high-quality sleep, and practicing mindfulness meditation. Antidepressants such as sertraline (Zoloft) and other selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors help ease depression in people with cardiovascular disease. So can cognitive behavioral therapy, which is designed to help people recognize and change ingrained, negative thoughts or behaviors. (Locked) More »

The best core exercises for older adults

The best exercises for core muscles are the ones that strengthen several core muscle groups at the same time. Examples of these exercises are bridges and planks. Sit-ups and crunches have fallen out of favor because they strengthen only a few muscles and because they pose risks for older adults from pulling on the neck. Experts recommend that people first beginning a core-strengthening routine start out slowly, focusing on the quality of the exercise and gradually increasing the number of repetitions in subsequent workouts. More »

Why you should consider hiring a personal trainer

A personal trainer can provide a safe, effective, and well-rounded exercise routine that is customized to a person’s age, health conditions, and goals. Many people who exercise in gyms don’t get any formal instruction about how to use the machines. Learning the correct body posture, body mechanics, and breathing techniques can provide a more balanced workout. A varied routine can help prevent overuse injuries, stave off boredom, and improve a person’s ability to do other activities, from carrying groceries to swinging a tennis racquet or golf club. (Locked) More »