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

Ask the doctor: Why am I getting shorter?

After age 40, people lose a little less than half an inch in height with each decade. One can try to avoid losing height by eating foods with calcium, getting enough vitamin D, and staying physically active. (Locked) More »

Osteoarthritis relief without more pills

For mild osteoarthritis, an occasional dose of an over-the-counter pain reliever may be all that’s needed to keep the pain and stiffness associated with osteoarthritis in check. But as osteoarthritis gets worse, men may become interested in ways to cope with pain and other symptoms without taking more medications. The main options are weight control, exercise, and physical therapy, especially for knee and hip arthritis. Some physical therapists offer additional services, such as ultrasound and transcutaneous electrical nerve stimulation (TENS) . Some people with osteoarthritis find acupuncture helpful. The evidence for “joint support” dietary supplements, in contrast, is poor. More »

Weight-loss drugs and your heart

Medications to aid weight loss may be helpful for people with obesity, a condition that puts a heavy burden on the heart. Some early weight-loss medications proved risky for the heart, but the approval of four new drugs in the past two years has expanded the options for treating obesity. However, the benefits are modest at best, helping people lose an average of about 5% of their body weight over six to 12 months. People may need to try several different medications before finding one that works for them. (Locked) More »

Tai chi and chronic pain

Tai chi is a low-impact, slow-motion, mind-body exercise that combines breath control, meditation, and movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. The practice dates back thousands of years. As you do tai chi, you move fluidly through a series of motions. The motions are named for animal actions, such as "white crane spreads its wings," or for martial arts moves. As you move, you breathe deeply and naturally, focusing your attention on an area just below the navel. In the practice and theory of tai chi, this area is the body's storage point for energy, or chi. People typically attend tai chi classes once or twice a week to learn the postures, then perform them in class or at home. Sessions, which usually last an hour, begin with meditation and move on to the postures, which are done slowly. Body posture and deep breathing are key elements of correct tai chi. Regular, ongoing tai chi sessions confer the most benefit. More »

Yoga Balance Workout

Yoga does an excellent job of strengthening and stretching muscles essential for balance. The yoga poses described below challenge static balance, the ability to stand in one spot without swaying, and dynamic balance, the ability to anticipate and react to changes as you move. Successfully managing these tasks requires you to keep your center of gravity poised over a base of support. Focus on good form, rather than worrying about how many reps you can complete. If you find an exercise especially difficult, do fewer reps or try the easier variation. As you improve, try a harder variation.  Reps: 2–4   Sets: 1Intensity: Moderate to highHold: 10 breaths or 10–30 seconds Starting position: Stand up straight, feet hip-width apart and weight evenly distributed on both feet. Put your arms at your sides. More »

Yoga for pain relief

Yoga is a mind-body and exercise practice that combines breath control, meditation, and movements to stretch and strengthen muscles. What sets yoga apart from most other exercise programs is that it places as great an emphasis on mental fitness as on physical fitness. People have been doing yoga for thousands of years. Given its history, several types of yoga have developed The most popular form practiced in the United States is hatha yoga — of which there are numerous variations. More »

Yoga's health advantages may extend to the heart

Yoga combines gentle physical movements, breathing, and meditation, all of which may lower heart disease risk. People who do yoga may reap benefits similar to those seen with brisk walking, such as weight loss, lower harmful LDL cholesterol levels, and lower blood pressure. Some cardiac rehabilitation programs incorporate yoga, which can be easily adapted to accommodate balance issues or other physical limitations. More »

Exercise is still the best medicine

Better medicines and safer procedures have contributed to the increase in longevity, but exercise may be the key ingredient in the mixture that allows some people to not only survive but also thrive in later life. Aging takes place on the cellular level as a result of inflammation and oxidative stress. Being sedentary accelerates these destructive processes and hastens cardiovascular disease. More »