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

Deep belly fat may weaken your bones

It appears that men with increased deep belly fat, the visceral fat that surrounds our organs, have lower bone strength. Researchers speculate that it’s because visceral obesity is associated with reduced secretion of growth hormone, which is essential for bone health, and because of the inflammatory cytokines secreted by the visceral fat cells. Visceral fat is also a risk factor for heart disease and diabetes. Exercise and diet are effective at reducing visceral fat or keeping it from growing. (Locked) More »

Strength training is better for bones

Strength building exercise helps to prevent bone loss with aging better than regular walking, although walking has proven benefits for heart health and overall physical fitness. (Locked) More »

The science of exercise shows benefits beyond weight loss

Exercise is good for you—in ways that go far beyond weight control and muscle building. Scientists are finding that the bodies of people who stay active throughout their lives improve all the way down to the insides of their cells. For example, active people’s mitochondria—the energy-producing power plants within each cell—become highly efficient at burning fatty fuel, even when that person is at rest. This doesn’t mean you have to run marathons—just 30 minutes of moderate activity nearly every day will do the trick. (Locked) More »

7 things you can do to prevent a stroke

Aging and a family history can increase your risk for a stroke, but women can reduce this risk by managing factors that are under their control. Lowering high blood pressure, keeping weight in check, exercising regularly, eating a healthy diet, losing weight, managing atrial fibrillation and diabetes, and quitting smoking can dramatically decrease the risk of a stroke. More »

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 »