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

The no-drug approach to mild depression

While antidepressants can relieve and control symptoms of mild or moderate depression, they are not the only option. Fortunately, many nondrug options are available to help manage depression symptoms and prevent future episodes, such as exercising regularly, avoiding unhealthy foods, expressing gratitude, and staying socially active. More »

Are your hamstrings working double duty?

When the gluteal muscles are weak, which is common in the age of sitting too much, the hamstrings are continually overworked and overloaded. That increases the risk for hamstring injury. The best way to protect the hamstrings is to keep all of the leg muscles healthy and working together, including the glutes and the quadriceps in the front of the thighs. To accomplish this, workout routines will likely include exercises that target a single muscle group as well as those that target several muscles at the same time. More »

Greater fitness linked to a longer life

Very high fitness levels, similar to those of endurance athletes, appear to lower the risk of dying from any cause in a given period. The survival benefit from extreme fitness may be most notable among people ages 70 and older and those with high blood pressure. More »

Lessons from the masters

Elite level older athletes still face the same fitness challenges as regular people, but have developed strategies to help them maintain their health and reach their goals. By following their advice and insight, older men can learn how to exercise smarter to maximize their workouts, how to overcome obstacles like health issues, and how to stay motivated after a setback or during lazy days. (Locked) More »

Thriving with localized prostate cancer

About 90% of men diagnosed with prostate cancer have the localized kind confined to the prostate gland. For many, a reasonable approach is active surveillance, in which men choose to have careful monitoring of their cancer instead of having surgery or radiation therapy. This is also an opportunity for men to keep their cancer from becoming more aggressive by changing their diet and exercise habits. More »

Should you add foam rolling to your workout routine?

Foam rolling helps release tension in the muscles, relieve muscle soreness, and improve flexibility and range of motion. It’s not clear exactly how that happens, although it could be that foam rolling and sustained pressure on the muscle signals the central nervous system to reduce muscle tension, similar to the effect of a deep tissue massage. Most people will benefit from foam rolling as part of a pre or post-workout routine, or simply as a quick break from sitting. (Locked) More »

Take the plunge: Try a water workout

Swimming and water aerobics can be a good way to stay fit, especially for people who have arthritis, are overweight, or are recovering from an injury. Swimming differs from land-based exercises because during swimming, a person’s body is horizontal rather than vertical and is mostly immersed in water. Both factors mean blood pools less in the legs. The heart refills with blood a little faster, which means it may work a little harder during swimming than during other forms of exercise. Yet swimming is considered safe for people with stable heart disease and is sometimes used in cardiac rehabilitation. (Locked) More »

The wonders of winter workouts

Exercising in cold weather may have some special benefits people don’t always get in summer, such as improved endurance and protection against seasonal affective disorder. While cold-weather exercise is usually safe, people should first check with their doctor, especially if they have conditions like asthma or heart problems. Also, they should take extra care during workouts, such as wearing protective clothing, choosing safe spots to exercise, and making sure to hydrate. More »