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

Add strength training to your fitness plan

Strength training (also called weight or resistance training) has been linked to several factors that improve heart health. It can help people lose weight—including belly fat, which is particularly harmful to the heart. Strength training also helps lower blood sugar levels and makes the body more sensitive to insulin, both of which can lower the risk of diabetes. High blood pressure may also improve in people who do strength training. Increased muscle mass and changes within muscle cells may explain these benefits. More »

Walkers: Take steps to enjoy this great mobility tool

Walkers help give people their independence back. They improve daily function, and they reduce the risk of falling. For most people, it takes a few physical therapy sessions to learn to use a walker correctly. The key is practice. Users learn how to navigate different surfaces, such as carpeting, tile floors, sidewalks, and grass. They must also learn how to use all of the features of the equipment, such as which buttons to push so that the walker folds. (Locked) More »

Yoga offers range of health benefits

Many men are familiar with gym training, working with weights, and jogging. But yoga also offers a range of health benefits. It combines stretching, breathing, and focused mental attention. Research suggests regular yoga can help to reduce risk factors for heart disease. It can help with arthritis symptoms, low back pain, and balance. It is best to try yoga with expert guidance, since attempting challenging yoga poses or overstretching muscles and tendons could lead to injuries. More »

Tai chi for osteoarthritis

Osteoarthritis is a degenerative disease of the joints that causes stiffness, pain, and mild inflammation in the affected joints. It develops when cartilage—the tissue that covers bones and acts as a cushion—deteriorates over time, eventually leading to joint damage. For the early stages of this condition, a variety of remedies may offer some relief when used in conjunction with or as an alternative to medication, including Tai Chi. Tai chi helps improve physical strength and mobility and promotes a sense of well-being. A study published in Arthritis & Rheumatism found that participants with knee osteoarthritis who practiced tai chi twice a week had less pain and better physical function compared with study participants enrolled in a wellness education and stretching program. The tai chi class lasted 12 weeks, but the improvements were sustained a year later. These participants also reported less depression and greater well-being. Among other things, tai chi provides benefit by improving muscle strength and coordination, which leads to better joint stability. In addition, the mind-body aspects and breath control promote mental calmness, which may help to break the cycle of arthritis pain. More »

6 ways to use your mind to control pain

Mind-body techniques can help reduce the need for pain medication. Techniques include deep breathing, eliciting the relaxation response, meditation with guided imagery, mindfulness, yoga and tai chi, and positive thinking. More »

8 pill-free ways to lower your blood pressure

There are many ways to try to lower blood pressure without medication. Aerobic activity improves the blood vessels’ ability to open and close, which improves blood flow. Losing weight reduces the workload on the heart. Getting rid of refined grains, sugary foods, and saturated fats and replacing them with fresh vegetables and fruits, fiber, whole grains, and lean meats can reduce inflammation and damage to the blood vessel walls. Other ways to reduce blood pressure include smoking cessation, controlling underlying conditions, limiting alcohol intake, and meditation. (Locked) More »

Battling breathlessness

Shortness of breath is one of the most common problems people bring to their doctors. The most obvious causes such as asthma, chronic obstructive pulmonary disease, and coronary artery disease are relatively easy to uncover with a battery of standard tests. For some people, however, the source of the problem remains frustratingly elusive. Advanced cardiopulmonary testing that measures heart and lung function during exercise can often provide answers. (Locked) More »

The downside of too much sitting

More than half of the average person’s waking hours are spent sitting: watching television, working at a computer, or doing other physically inactive pursuits. But all that sedentary behavior may put people at a higher risk for heart disease, as well as shortening their lives—even if they exercise up to one hour a day. Experts recommend taking steps to sit less throughout the day, such as standing while talking on the phone and doing light exercise during television commercials. (Locked) More »