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

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 »

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 »

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 »

How to perform Kegel exercises

Pelvic floor strengthening exercises, also known as Kegel exercises, are known to be effective for stress urinary incontinence in women, with cure rates of up to 80%. Here are 7 tips to help you perform them properly. (Locked) More »

Top five habits that harm the heart

Five poor heart habits are responsible for the majority of heart disease, but their opposite, healthy behaviors can help protect the heart and improve overall health. And it's never too late to start. You don't need to aim for a complete transformation all at once. Small changes in diet, exercise, or weight can make a big difference in your health. Setting goals you can realistically achieve, and then meeting them, can snowball into even bigger improvements. More »

MET-hour equivalents of various physical activities

In a study involving more than 83,000 participants in Harvard's Nurses' Health Study, researchers found a strong association between a high level of physical activity and a reduced risk for colon cancer. Researchers used a measure called metabolic equivalents, or METs, to assess physical activity levels. Women who reported 21 MET hours per week—equivalent to about seven hours per week of brisk walking—were half as likely to develop colon cancer as those who got only two MET hours per week (equivalent to walking slowly for one hour per week). The chart below lists the number of METs used per hour during various types of physical activities. For more information about METs and physical activity, go to prevention.sph.sc.edu/tools/compendium.htm. Activity (Locked) More »

Walking: Your steps to health

The benefits of walking extend to many aspects of health and fitness. Incorporating walking into one's daily routine is an excellent starting point. More »