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

Ask the doctor: Battling belly fat

There is no magical way to reduce belly fat. Cutting back on food intake, burning calories with regular aerobic activity, and doing core exercises to strengthen the back, sides, and abdomen will help. (Locked) More »

Double trouble: Coping with arthritis and heart disease together

People with heart disease and arthritis face challenges with regard to exercise—which is important for both conditions—and medications. Swimming, recumbent biking, and walking are good choices for most people with heart disease and arthritis, who tend to be less active than people with either disease alone. Certain medications to ease arthritis pain, especially nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory pain relievers, can interact dangerously with drugs for heart conditions. Avoiding certain drugs or taking them at different times may be needed. (Locked) More »

Effective exercises for osteoporosis

Women who have been diagnosed with osteoporosis or who’ve already suffered a bone fracture may worry about injuring themselves further if they exercise. In reality, exercise is essential for strengthening bones and preventing falls. The ideal program for osteoporosis combines weight-bearing, muscle-strengthening, flexibility, and balance exercises. (Locked) More »

Five easy ways to start exercising

For many people, exercising is a daunting chore. But regular exercise is medicine. It helps ward off dementia, heart disease, diabetes, depression, and many other health problems. To find motivation, doctors recommend thinking of exercise as fun, not work; using it as a means to get off medication; fitting exercise into daily routines such as walking in parking lots or volunteering; and trying short workouts of just 10 minutes at a time. (Locked) More »

Improve your balance by strengthening your core

Strengthening the core muscles can help improve one’s balance. The core muscles are located in the hips, back, and abdomen. A strong core also improves posture; reduces stress and pain in the lower back; and improves athletic performance, such as swinging a golf club. Strengthening usually includes strenuous exercises such as planks, sit-ups, push-ups, and crunches for younger people. For older people, core strengthening can be as simple as small, repetitive movements, such front and side standing leg lifts to strengthen the abs, shoulder blade squeezes to strengthen the scapulae, and a pelvic tilt to strengthen the abs. (Locked) More »

Protect your memory and thinking skills

Any increase in blood sugar levels is linked to an increased risk of developing dementia. Researchers speculate that this may be because high blood sugar levels are causing more vascular disease or because of insulin resistance. There’s no direct proof that reducing blood sugar level reduces dementia risk. However, there are many reasons to keep glucose levels lower. Excess blood sugar can lead to a variety of health problems including heart, eye, kidney, and nerve disease. Heart disease is linked to vascular dementia, caused by narrowed blood vessels in the brain. Shifting to a healthier diet can help. (Locked) More »

Easy fixes for aching shoulders

Shoulder pain may be caused by tendinitis, inflammation, neck pain, whiplash, arthritis, and rotator cuff tears. These conditions may occur from overuse of the shoulder. The cause may be something simple, such as reaching up when hanging curtains. Shoulder pain doesn’t always lead to surgery. Physical therapy can help strengthen the shoulder and reduce pain in 90% of cases. Physical therapy will focus on three goals: increasing your range of motion, strengthening the shoulder muscles, and stretching the muscles and ligaments to keep them supple. (Locked) More »