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

Money talks: Financial incentives for health

Smoking and obesity are two of the most pressing and recalcitrant lifestyle problems in America. Smoking rates have come down, but progress is slowing. And despite lots of attention to the problem, obesity rates continue to grow. Can financial incentives help when common sense and medical advice have failed? Two studies suggest the answer is a qualified yes. More »

11 ways to prevent stroke

Some risk factors for stroke, such as family history and ethnicity, cannot be changed, but attention to factors like weight, blood pressure, cholesterol, and physical activity can significantly reduce stroke risk. Here are 11 things you can do to stay stroke-free: (Locked) More »

Never too late: Exercise helps late starters

Results of studies from several countries, including the United States, confirm that men who do not start exercising until middle age still gain many health benefits from it, most importantly added longevity. Men who start exercising after age 50 need to exercise caution.  (Locked) More »

Obesity: Unhealthy and unmanly

Excess body fat raises levels of LDL ("bad") cholesterol and triglycerides while also lowering HDL ("good") cholesterol levels. Obesity impairs the body's responsiveness to insulin, raising blood sugar and insulin levels. Obesity increases the risk of male maladies, ranging from erectile dysfunction to BPH and prostate cancer. It also increases the risk of heart attack, stroke, hypertension, diabetes, gallstones, cancer, osteoarthritis, obstructive sleep apnea, fatty liver, and depression. Obesity and lack of exercise are responsible for about 1,000 American deaths each day, and if present trends continue, they will soon overtake smoking as the leading preventable causes of death in the U.S. More »

Stay lean, live longer

Despite studies that suggested those who gain weight with age might live longer, having a body mass index in the normal range still correlates with a lower death rate. (Locked) More »

Talking of walking in three easy pieces

Studies examine various aspects of the health benefits of walking: gait speed, use of hiking poles, and type of footwear. Researchers at the University of Pittsburgh have shown that walking may also serve as something of a prognosticator. Results of their research show that after about age 65, how fast we walk, or gait speed may predict how long we have to live. Results from several studies show that using hiking poles while walking at a fairly brisk pace does seem to increase cardiovascular workload. Some studies show that people have an increased physiological response but don't feel as though any more exertion is involved. One study of people who have pain in their legs while walking because of poor circulation found that they were able to walk farther with less pain if they used hiking poles. Pain from arthritic knees makes walking difficult for many people, and shoes with thick, cushiony soles are commonly believed to help. But some research is challenging that conventional wisdom with results that suggest that thinner, more flexible soles actually put less load on the knees. More »

Exercising to relax

Exercise reduces stress hormones and stimulates production of endorphins, which together help foster relaxation. Other techniques, such as breathing exercises and muscle relaxation, can enhance the stress-beating effects of exercise. More »