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

Bad habits come in pairs

Couples often share health habits, whether good or bad, according to a recent study. When one partner doesn’t exercise regularly or eat a healthy diet, the other most often doesn’t either. Researchers found that in nearly 80% of cases, couples shared a high risk of developing heart-related problems because of shared risk factors. But the good news was that couples also seemed to influence each other in a positive direction. When one partner had good health habits, the other often did as well. (Locked) More »

Extra support for better health

A variety of coaches can help people reach their particular health goals. Health and wellness coaches inspire and guide clients to shift their mindset and develop new, healthy behaviors. Fitness professionals—such as personal trainers or exercise physiologists—develop and prescribe exercise regimens to help clients. Dietitians develop eating plans tailored to clients’ needs, such as weight loss or gain, or preventing or treating chronic disease. And culinary coaches use coaching principles and cooking expertise to teach people how to shop for and prepare healthy meals. (Locked) More »

Music to your health

A favorite tune can stir up positive memories, boost mood, and create a soothing, relaxing atmosphere. Now science has found that listening to music can stimulate brain regions that change how people think and move. Used in specific ways, music can help people in various health-related areas, such as improving exercise performance, sleeping better, and coping with medical procedures. (Locked) More »

Put a song in your heart

Music’s mood-enhancing ability may have cardiovascular benefits. Listening to energizing music may help people exercise, while listening to calming music may help people before, during, and after heart-related procedures by reducing pain and anxiety. Certain songs (such as "Stayin’ Alive") can help bystanders responding to a cardiac arrest remember the correct rhythm for doing chest compressions. (Locked) More »

The benefits of brief bursts of exercise

Doing vigorous exercise for just 12 minutes triggers changes in blood levels of substances linked to cardiovascular health. The patterns of these substances may provide a way to gauge a person’s fitness level. More »

Try this move for better core strength

Strengthening your core using plank exercises can help ease back pain. The plank position is essentially the high part of a push-up. People who can’t hold this position can try a modified version by bending their knees and resting them on the ground. Build strength by practicing holding a plank for as long as you can, and then progressively working to hold it for longer each time. More »

What to look for in an online exercise video for older adults

A good workout video for older adults will be tailored to their health needs. It should have a warm-up, workout, cool-down, some stretching, an inspiring tone, tips to maintain the proper form, and the ability to make modifications. Types of workouts for older adults include low-impact cardio, tai chi, yoga, seated yoga, marching in place, resistance band exercises, and body weight workouts. Online exercise classes from Harvard Health Publishing are designed specifically for older adults. (Locked) More »