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

Avoiding knee or hip surgery

Losing weight and strengthening muscles may help stave off joint replacement. Stronger muscles are better able to absorb pressure that is placed on the joints they support. The key muscles to strengthen for knee health are the quadriceps and hamstrings. The key muscles to strengthen for hip health are the gluteus muscles and the flexors. Weight loss reduces pressure on the joints as well. A weight-loss program should include enough calories, carbohydrates, and protein to provide energy for the body and build muscle. More »

Taking charge of your health

People can take charge of their health by being more proactive. Suggestions include keeping track of health information, such as current lists of prescriptions and family medical history; being a better patient and never missing health screenings; speaking up about health concerns and asking questions about treatment options and risks; exercising for the physiological benefits; and improving diet by eating more fruits and vegetables and cutting out saturated fats, high-sodium foods, and prepackaged foods. More »

Get your heart pumping in the fight against forgetfulness

Regular moderately intense exercise up to 150 minutes per week releases brain chemicals that support better memory, concentration, and mental sharpness. Exercise also maintains healthy blood pressure and weight, helps you feel more energetic, lifts your mood, lowers stress and anxiety, and keeps your heart healthy. To get the most brain benefit, exercise regularly to get your heart rate up to 70% of maximum. To succeed at exercise, do it with a partner, outdoors, and in a way that is fun for you. More »

7 simple ways for women to get active

Current guidelines recommend that adults get 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity physical activity, but women can decide how they get that exercise. It is best to space out activities—for example, exercising for 30 minutes, five days a week. And, breaking up activities into 10-minute sessions offers as much of a health benefit as exercising for a full half-hour at a time. Many everyday activities count as exercise, including gardening, playing with the grandchildren, and even making love. (Locked) More »

Physical vs. mental activity

Physical activity and mental stimulation are both considered vital for protecting your mental skills and warding off dementia. Many studies have shown consistently that regular exercise can increase the volume of brain regions important for memory and thinking. There is also abundant evidence that mental activity maintains cognitive health. A modest amount of aerobic exercise is sufficient to produce positive cognitive results. Many studies have employed regimens of moderate-intensity walking three days a week. For mental activity, doctors recommend activities that require active engagement, such as reading or crossword puzzles, not passive engagement, such as watching television. (Locked) More »