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.
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
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In a NEW online course, STARTING TO EXERCISE, today's leading fitness instructors show you workouts that work...the exercises that will help you enjoy a healthier, more vigorous, and longer life!
It's a fact: regular, vigorous exercise can add more than three years to your life! Exercise lessens your risk of heart disease and stroke. It lowers blood pressure, reduces risk of certain cancers, strengthens bones, protects joints, and keeps your mind sharp.
People with heart disease who exercise regularly, don’t smoke, and manage other risk factors spend far less money on medications than people who don’t take steps to control their risks.
Men naturally lose muscle mass as they age—as much as 3% to 5% per decade after age 30. Weaker muscles mean less stamina, balance and mobility, all which increase a person’s risk for falls and fractures. Strength training, using either free weights like dumbbells, kettlebells, and barbells or weight machines that are designed to work specific muscle groups, can help men maintain and even add muscle.
Active workstations don’t interfere with productivity, according to a new study, and can potentially help you avoid health risks created by sitting down on the job.
Hip replacements can wear out over time and require a revision surgery, so activities that may increase stress on the joint are often discouraged. The right level of activity after a hip replacement depends on the person and is best discussed with a doctor.
Want to get moving? You may want to get a furry friend. A new study shows that older adults who had a dog were more active than their non-dog owning counterparts.
When people do not use the proper form during physical activity, they may experience neck pain. Common mistakes include extending the neck forward when swinging a golf club, looking up while doing a “downward dog” position in yoga, and leaning too far over bicycle handlebars. Tucking your chin back toward the neck helps keep the neck in a neutral position and may help reduce pain. Strengthening the neck, shoulder, and core muscles also helps prevent neck pain.
Dog owners tend to get more exercise than people who don’t own dogs, and the added activity likely counts toward recommended physical activity goals. Daily dog walks may also help people avoid loneliness and social isolation by fostering connections with neighbors. Walking in a park or another green space may help relieve stress—another contributor to heart disease. Petting a dog and gazing into its eyes may also help lower blood pressure.
Only about half of American adults do enough physical activity to benefit their health. Exercise is especially vital for people at risk for heart disease or who already have it, but people don’t always know how much and how hard they should exercise. Recently, fitness trackers have made heart rate tracking popular, but people can also pay attention to their rate of perceived exertion (RPE). For moderate-intensity exercise, people should aim for exertion levels midway between sitting still and exercising as hard as possible. The American Heart Association recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week.
More than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting. All that sitting can increase risk for heart disease and early death. Yet a person can offset sitting’s health risks by doing just two minutes of light-intensity activity like walking for each hour of sitting, and at least an hour of moderate-intensity exercise after sitting for more than eight hours a day.