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

Fitness trend: Nordic walking

Nordic walking is catching on in the United States as an exercise regimen, especially among older adults. The activity adds Nordic poles to a walking routine, and walkers then mimic the motions of cross-country skiers. Propelling oneself while walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for the shoulders, arms, core, and legs. Nordic walking is also associated with reductions in fat mass, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and waist circumference, and increases in “good” HDL cholesterol, endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, walking distance, cardiovascular fitness, and quality of life. More »

Give your heart health a lift

Cardio exercise may help improve many aspects of heart health, such as lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reduce plaque buildup to improve blood flow, and help maintain a healthy weight. But if people cannot meet the 150 minutes of recommended weekly aerobic activity, new research suggests that weight training for just an hour per week can be just as effective for protecting against heart attacks and strokes. (Locked) More »

Keep your health habits on track during the holidays

The holiday season is a busy time of year when many people let their good exercise habits and diet slip. Planning ahead for the season can help people stay on track. Some strategies to help maintain good health habits include tracking your fitness and diet, focusing on social connections instead of food and drink at parties, and looking for new, interesting workouts. More »

Target heart rate on a beta blocker

People who take beta blockers (which lower the heart rate and blood pressure) may not be able to reach their target heart rate during exercise. Instead, they can use the perceived exertion scale to assess how hard they’re exercising. (Locked) More »

An older adult's guide to exercising in cold weather

Exercising in cold weather has benefits, but poses numerous risks for older adults. Exposure to cold weather for long periods increases the risk for hypothermia or frostbite. Also, cold weather causes blood vessels to narrow, increasing the risk for heart and muscle strain. To avoid the risks, older adults should wear layers of warm clothing (preferably athletic clothing that wicks away moisture and retains heat), including a hat, gloves, and socks; use sunscreen and lip balm; do an exercise warm-up; and stay hydrated. (Locked) More »

Have a ball with exercise

Large, inflatable exercise balls can add more benefits to standard home and gym exercises and are one of the best ways to improve strength in people with specific limitations or who are recovering from an injury. Exercising with a ball also can improve posture and stability and help with daily movements like twisting, bending, and stretching. (Locked) More »

Why you should care about your core

Core muscles—which include those in the abdomen, back, sides, pelvis, and buttocks—are important for many sports, including golfing, tennis, biking, and swimming. A strong core may also prevent falls and other injuries that may derail exercise efforts. The best exercises to strengthen core muscles include those that target several groups of muscles at a time. The plank, for example, builds muscles in the abdomen, back, and side. More »

Put your best foot forward

One of the best ways to prevent foot pain, and the problems that can come with it, like sore knees, hips, and back, is to invest in quality athletic footwear. A proper fit is key, so people should take the necessary steps to ensure they are fitted with a shoe that matches their arch, gait, and foot width and provides the necessary support for their primary activities. (Locked) More »

Strike a pose

The core is made up of several muscle groups and helps with most daily movements of an active lifestyle. The standard sit-up is often the go-to core strengthener, but it targets only a portion of the core musculature, and the bending-forward motion can strain the neck and lower back. In comparison, the simple plank pose is a better core exercise because it activates all the core muscles and doesn’t require extra movements that can cause stress or injury. (Locked) More »