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

Daily moves to prevent low back pain

Exercise prevents flare-ups of low back pain caused by muscle strain or spasm. Exercise daily to make back muscles more strong and flexible. When back pain is due to a problem in the spine, do not start new exercise without talking to a doctor. Severe back pain that gets worse or prevents you from ever finding a comfortable position for sitting or sleeping warrants immediate medical attention. Yoga shows promise for helping low back pain. Before starting yoga, clear it with your doctor and try it for a limited period to see if it works. More »

Exercise is an all-natural treatment to fight depression

Antidepressants aren’t the only solution for depression. Research shows that exercise works as well as antidepressants for some people, although exercise alone isn’t enough for someone with severe depression. Exercise releases the body’s feel-good chemicals called endorphins, and it also spurs the release of proteins called neurotrophic or growth factors, which cause nerve cells to grow and make new connections. The improvement in brain function makes people feel better. But exercise must be sustained over time to relieve depression symptoms. (Locked) More »

Too much sitting linked to heart attack and stroke -- even if active

A report from the Women’s Health Initiative showed that women who sat for 10 or more hours a day were 18% more likely to have had a heart attack or stroke over a 12-year period than women who sat for five hours or fewer. While that’s not entirely surprising, the risk was increased even among women who sat a lot but got recommended levels of daily physical activity. Taken together with previous studies of sitting done in men and mixed groups, the findings suggest that prolonged sitting is a heart hazard for everyone. The other message from this line of research is that activity trumps sitting. (Locked) More »

Protect your heart, keep your thoughts clear

Heart health is key to thinking health. If the heart isn’t pumping effectively, the brain may not receive enough blood flow to function properly. Heart disease is associated with nonamnesic mild cognitive impairment and vascular dementia. To protect thinking skills, it’s best to also protect heart health. Ways to do this include controlling high blood pressure, reducing cholesterol, quitting smoking, eating a healthy diet, and getting 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week. (Locked) More »

Take a walk, reduce your risk of suffering a stroke

Recent research shows that women who walk at least three hours a week have a 43% lower stroke risk compared with women who are inactive. Walking also lowers the risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and many other conditions. Doctors recommend 150 minutes of brisk walking per week. To begin a walking program, wear comfortable clothing and walking shoes; map out your route in advance; and keep track of your progress. (Locked) More »

Top 5 ways to reduce crippling hand pain

The most common causes of hand pain include osteoarthritis, nerve conditions, and tendinitis. There are a number of ways to help manage the pain, retain hand function, and avoid surgery. Doctors recommend a splint to stabilize the position of the fingers, thumb, or wrist. An injection of a corticosteroid into a joint can also reduce hand pain, as can a nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drug. Applying heat can loosen hand stiffness. Applying cold is effective for hand pain that results from activity. Exercises and stretches can help reduce pain and stress on the hand joints. More »