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

Does exercising at night affect sleep?

New research suggests that people can exercise in the evening without it affecting their sleep as long as they avoid vigorous physical activity for at least one hour before bedtime. More »

How yoga may enhance heart health

Practicing yoga promotes overall physical fitness, but it also includes breathing exercises, relaxation, and meditation. The combined effect of these practices may improve a number of factors connected with cardiovascular health. For example, yoga helps lower blood pressure, improves sleep, and may dampen artery-damaging inflammation. By evoking the “relaxation response,” yoga may encourage emotional resilience, which can help counteract the heart-damaging effects caused by everyday (and largely unavoidable) stress. More »

No time to exercise? Then take five

Growing evidence continues to show that high-intensity interval training (HIIT) offers similar—or even better—results compared with longer, lower-intensity workouts. The main advantage to HIIT is that it takes less time than the traditional workout of 20 to 30 minutes or longer. It is also possible to squeeze a HIIT routine into as little as five minutes and still get a great workout as long as the routine focuses on all the major muscle groups. (Locked) More »

Stay active, even with stiff ankles

Ankles typically stiffen over time for one reason or another, such as osteoarthritis, ankle impingement, old injuries, inflammatory disease, tendinitis, or foot problems such as flat feet. Treatment depends on the cause of ankle stiffness. Treating underlying conditions may ease symptoms. Icing and rest can also help tendinitis or inflammation. In cases of misalignment, bone spurs, or significant joint arthritis, surgery may be the best option. Often, however, ankle stiffness can be treated simply with physical therapy, weight control, daily exercise, and stretching. (Locked) More »

The buzz about caffeine and health

For most people, consuming caffeine from coffee, tea, or chocolate poses no serious health risk if taken within safe amounts. Healthy people who have never had a heart attack or currently manage high blood pressure should consume no more than 400 mg per day, which is about the amount in four cups of coffee or 10 cups of black tea. However, people who have had a prior heart attack or have heart disease should keep their dosage to about half that per day. (Locked) More »

Getting in on the kettlebell craze

Kettlebells are small weights with handles. Using them has many benefits, such as working several muscle groups at one time and helping to improve posture and balance. Along with benefits, kettlebells have numerous risks. For example, lifting too much weight too soon or lifting a kettlebell the wrong way can lead to muscle strains, rotator cuff tears, falls, and more. But kettlebells should be safe for healthy older adults as long as they get a doctor’s okay first, use the appropriate weight, and learn how to use kettlebells from a physical therapist or personal trainer. (Locked) More »

Stretch your exercise plan beyond weights and cardio

Tight muscles can create health risks, making people more prone to chronic pain, balance problems, and even falls. Daily or every other day stretches can help reduce these risks and are a crucial part of a comprehensive exercise program. Stretches don’t need to be intensive to work. Even simple movements that take muscles and joints through a full range of natural motion are helpful. (Locked) More »

The lowdown on squats

One of the best exercises to counter the effects of prolonged sitting is the simple squat, which can be done with just body weight, dumbbells, or against a wall. Squats are a great exercise because they activate so many bones and joints at once, such as the hips, knees, feet, and ankles, as well as muscles like the quads, gluteals, hip flexors, hamstrings, and calves. Squats also can help build and maintain a stronger lower body, which makes movement easier and allows people to stay more active. (Locked) More »