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

Get smart about treadmills

Treadmills can target key muscle groups that older adults need to strengthen in order to improve balance and endurance, such as quadriceps, calves, glutes, and hamstrings. The machines also can be helpful for people recovering from an injury or surgery since they can control the speed and intensity. Treadmills also offer a safe environment free of unpredictable footing and adverse weather conditions. More »

A win for weekend warriors?

People who meet their weekly exercise recommendations in just one or two days a week—so-called weekend warriors—may be less likely to die from cardiovascular disease than people who are inactive. National physical activity guidelines advise adults to do at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, or 75 minutes a week at vigorous intensity, or an equivalent combination of the two. People may find twice-weekly bouts of exercise easier to schedule. But daily exercise can prevent joint stiffness and may be less likely to lead to an injury. (Locked) More »

5 tools to maintain your mobility

Walking poles, walking sticks, canes, crutches, and walkers can aid balance and mobility. Choosing the right device, having it properly fitted, and learning how to walk with it are keys to using mobility aids successfully. More »

Avoiding atrial fibrillation

To help avoid atrial fibrillation (afib) or reduce its impact, people should attain and stay at a healthy weight. Excess body weight can cause the heart’s upper left chamber (atrium) to enlarge, which can raise the risk of afib. Other afib prevention tips include getting regular exercise and keeping alcohol intake to a moderate or low level. People who eat fish a few times a week may have less afib, but taking fish oil supplements has no clear benefit. (Locked) More »

Find your exercise fit!

Four basic choices for activity are exercise classes, gym workouts, home workouts, and vigorous work or recreational activity. Understanding the pros and cons of each can help a person select the regimen that will best fit his or her style. For example, going to an exercise class works well for people who like getting out of the house, need instruction, and are comfortable in a group. However, a class may be expensive, or it may not be right for people who feel shy or for people with transportation or scheduling challenges. More »

Is a new tool for fitness research already in your own pocket?

Real-word tracking of activity levels using a smartphone app may one day help guide people to patterns of activity that provide the most cardiovascular benefit. Challenges to this type of research include engaging a diverse range of participants and motivating them to keep using the app. Possible solutions include using a wristband fitness tracker or smartwatch in addition to a smartphone, and adding “gamification” features to the app that give feedback and rewards for greater activity and participation. (Locked) More »

The case for measuring fitness

Solid evidence links a sedentary lifestyle to higher risk of cardiovascular disease, cancer, and early death. However, doctors do not routinely assess their patients’ cardiorespiratory fitness to help them reduce risk. That may soon change. Experts are now calling for cardiorespiratory fitness level to be considered a vital sign and included as part of the patient’s annual check-up. (Locked) More »

What you can learn from wellderlies

“Wellderlies” is a term to describe a special group of older adults who have reached age 90 to 100 without having any major health issue or disease. If they do get sick, it often happens late in their life, shortly before death. While genes play a key role in their longevity, research has found that they also follow some basic lifestyle principles that anyone can adopt.  (Locked) More »