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

5-minute fixes for better health

Focusing on small ways to improve health may feel less daunting to some people than taking on big lifestyle changes. Ideas include doing five-minute bursts of a helpful activity. These include five minutes of exercising, meditating, removing fall hazards in the home, moisturizing the skin, watching an educational video about an unfamiliar subject, calling a friend, throwing out expired medications, removing a junk food item in the pantry, and tossing spoiled foods from the refrigerator. Another suggestion is to get five more minutes of sleep each night. (Locked) More »

Should you add foam rolling to your workout routine?

Foam rolling helps release tension in the muscles, relieve muscle soreness, and improve flexibility and range of motion. It’s not clear exactly how that happens, although it could be that foam rolling and sustained pressure on the muscle signals the central nervous system to reduce muscle tension, similar to the effect of a deep tissue massage. Most people will benefit from foam rolling as part of a pre or post-workout routine, or simply as a quick break from sitting. (Locked) More »

Take the plunge: Try a water workout

Swimming and water aerobics can be a good way to stay fit, especially for people who have arthritis, are overweight, or are recovering from an injury. Swimming differs from land-based exercises because during swimming, a person’s body is horizontal rather than vertical and is mostly immersed in water. Both factors mean blood pools less in the legs. The heart refills with blood a little faster, which means it may work a little harder during swimming than during other forms of exercise. Yet swimming is considered safe for people with stable heart disease and is sometimes used in cardiac rehabilitation. (Locked) More »

The wonders of winter workouts

Exercising in cold weather may have some special benefits people don’t always get in summer, such as improved endurance and protection against seasonal affective disorder. While cold-weather exercise is usually safe, people should first check with their doctor, especially if they have conditions like asthma or heart problems. Also, they should take extra care during workouts, such as wearing protective clothing, choosing safe spots to exercise, and making sure to hydrate. (Locked) More »

Setting up a home gym

Regular strength training can help older men slow muscle loss and even increase muscle mass into their 90s. One challenge they face is finding the time and place to exercise. Joining a gym or enlisting a personal trainer can help maintain regular workouts, but for those who cannot make it to the gym or afford a trainer or gym fees, setting up a home gym is a great alternative. (Locked) More »

Stop making these common workout mistakes

It’s common to make mistakes when exercising. But the consequences can affect health. For example, skipping a warm-up, lifting too much weight, or strengthening the same muscle groups daily can lead to muscle injury. It’s better to warm up for a few minutes before a workout, use lighter weights and lift them more times, and alternate which muscle groups get a workout (such as arms and shoulders on Tuesdays and Thursdays, but not Mondays or Wednesdays). Other common exercise mistakes include failing to drink enough water and keeping an inconsistent workout schedule. More »