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

Boning up on osteoporosis

About one in four men older than 50 will break a bone because of osteoporosis during their lifetime. Proper bone health not only can help protect men from osteoporosis, but can also reduce their risk of serious breaks or fractures from falls or other injuries. Adopting certain exercises and getting adequate amounts of calcium and vitamin D are the best strategies for keeping bones strong and safe. (Locked) More »

Living room workouts

There are many ways to exercise when stuck indoors. Just stepping in place is a simple and effective aerobic workout: one should lift the knees high and raise and lower the arms to get to get the heart and lungs pumping harder. For a home strength training workout, one can lift household objects such as soup cans, or do body weight exercises such as standing planks and bridges. To stretch while at home, one can practice yoga or tai chi, or follow a list of stretches. (Locked) More »

Turn your exercise into summer fun

Moving more is a worthy goal, but many people dread exercise. That’s often the case because people assume it means a trip to the gym or a stint on a treadmill. But exercise can take many forms, from gardening to dancing or an evening stroll. The key is to find enjoyable activities; people are often more likely to stick with these over time. (Locked) More »

Step up your fitness and safety

Falls continue to be a significant cause of fatal injury among older adults. Lack of mobility and declining strength are the main contributors to falls, but an often unrecognized threat is simply the fear of falling. Practicing simple step-ups at home or in the gym can improve balance, lower-body strength, and confidence. (Locked) More »

The "alphabet exercise" for foot and ankle strength

It's easy. Make believe your big toe is a pencil and sketch out the alphabet. These muscle movements will help build foot and ankle strength, which aids balance and helps prevents falls. You can learn more at the Harvard online course Exercises for Bone Strength. More »

The "hip hike" exercise for building hip strength

The hip hike is used to build hip strength if you're about to get into a running or walking program. It's easy, but you can also perform the hip hike by holding a chair to steady yourself. Make sure you're standing on a low, but stable, platform before you begin. More »

Can stronger muscles pump up your heart health?

Just like aerobic exercise, targeted exercises to strengthen muscles throughout your body may also help stave off heart disease. Strength training helps burn calories and may help prevent harmful belly fat accumulation. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active, so it helps control blood sugar and lowers insulin resistance. That helps prevent type 2 diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease. Strength training can be done with resistance bands, small hand weights, or weight machines. More »

Give yourself a lift

Research shows that weight lifting is good medicine for active older adults. While there are many weight-lifting exercises, one move to include in a workout is the deadlift. The short, quick movement is a highly functional exercise that can increase lower-body strength and power, which improves mobility, balance, and stability. (Locked) More »

Shore up your core

Your core muscles, which are those in your torso and pelvis, help you maintain your balance, and allow you to bend, twist and reach. Strengthening them is essential, especially after age 30 when you may start to lose muscle mass. The average 50-year-old who hasn’t done strength-building exercises may have already lost as much as 10% of her muscle mass. More »