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

Four Rules To Prevent Youth Sports Injuries -- and Burnout

Injuries that result from youth sports are becoming more common. The injuries aren't just the expected bumps and bruises that come with being active, either. Pediatricians, orthopedists (doctors who specialize in the treatment of bones, joints and soft tissues) and physical therapists are seeing more serious injuries. These include ligament tears, which can sometimes lead to lifelong disability.  Also, many youth are dropping out of sports entirely, even before they reach high school. Sometimes it's due to burnout. Or the pressure from coaches and parents takes the fun out of the activity. So students who exercised regularly are no longer doing so. This is just as bad for overall health as a serious injury. Without the habit of regular exercise, children are far less likely to be active as adults.  So what can parents do to keep their kids healthy, safe and happy — both now and in the future? Here are four simple rules to follow. (Locked) More »

Strength Training for All Ages

The older we become, the less likely we are to engage in physical activity of any kind. The numbers are staggering. In another 25 years, there will be 70 million Americans aged 65 years and older. And those over age 85 are already growing faster than any other age group. But less than one-third of people over 65 perform regular exercise. By age 75, 40 percent have stopped doing any physical activity. The cost of physical inactivity is enormous, not just to our health but also to our wallets. One analysis of the economic burden suggests that an average of $330 dollars per person can be saved in direct medical costs by maintaining physical activity and exercise. If the estimated 88 million Americans older than 14 years of age who are now considered inactive became regular exercisers, medical costs in the United States would decrease by as much as $76 billion. (Locked) More »

The Importance of Recess

When school is in session, parents and teachers often want children to accomplish as much they can. But research has shown that we should not forget the value of play and relaxation. That point of view was strongly supported by a policy statement from the American Academy of Pediatrics, published early in 2013. A 2009 study from a group of researchers at Albert Einstein College of Medicine in New York showed that, compared to those who have minimal or no recess time, elementary school children who have free time during the day receive higher ratings from teachers on their classroom behavior. The study (like the policy statement mentioned) was published in the journal Pediatrics. It makes sense for children to have a break in the school day that is given over to free, unstructured, active play — the definition of recess. (Locked) More »

Know your triglycerides: Here's why

Triglycerides are fatty substances (lipids) in the blood that, like “bad” LDL cholesterol, may contribute to risk of heart attacks and strokes. Unless triglycerides are very high, they do not require medication to lower them. Men with mildly to moderately high triglycerides are advised to exercise, lose weight if they are overweight, improve their diet, and reduce alcohol consumption to lower their risk and bring triglycerides to the normal range. Men at above-average cardiovascular risk with high triglycerides can benefit from taking a cholesterol-lowering statin drug. (Locked) More »

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 »

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 »