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

Exercise protects the heart when diabetes threatens

People with diabetes are more likely to have a heart attack or stroke, or die of cardiovascular disease, than those without diabetes. Exercise can help keep blood sugar under control, and is also good for the heart and the rest of the body.   (Locked) More »

Spinal manipulation and exercise trump drugs for neck pain

Today's computer-dominated workplace is especially tough on necks, because we sit so long with our shoulders slumped and heads extended toward monitors. People often recover from an episode of neck pain within a year, but relapses are common, and pain may come and go indefinitely. A comparison of treatments for neck pain found that both spinal manipulation and a program of exercises were more effective than medication. (Locked) More »

Another reason to get out there and get moving!

Parkinson's disease is a brain disease that affects the body and how it moves. Yet moving the body — that is to say, exercising — may be one of the best and most underutilized ways of combating the condition. Exercising vigorously when you're middle-aged may lessen your chance of getting Parkinson's disease when you're older. And for people who already have the disease, exercise during the early stages — when a fair amount of physical movement is still possible — may slow the pace at which the disease gets worse and physical movement becomes increasingly difficult. More »

Ask the doctor: Is my LDL cholesterol too low?

I'm 80, I exercise and eat a healthy diet. My internist says my LDL is too low and that I should cut my statin from 40 mg to 20 mg a day. I also take 2,000 mg of niacin daily. Is there general agreement that one's LDL should not go below a certain point? (Locked) More »

Fun and exergames: Not just for kids anymore

If you're searching for an effective routine that's actually fun, or want a high-tech take on fitness, consider active-play video games, also called exergames. No longer just for youngsters, exergames such as Nintendo's Wii Fitness and Xbox's Kinect Sports are catching on with middle-aged and older adults as an enjoyable way to get moving. Exergames offer diverse activities and benefits from playing. Depending on the system, you can choose from muscle-strengthening workouts, balance and stretching games, aerobic exercises and dancing, martial arts, and simulated recreational activities such as golf, skiing, ping-pong, and bowling. More »

Putting more brain in the bank

Mental and physical activity seem to be equally important in keeping the brain active to ward off cognitive decline in older age. Exercise seems to affect the brain directly, increasing the number of synapses and enhancing the action of neurotransmitters, the chemicals that make brain cell–to–brain cell communication possible. It also increases the production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), a "brain juice" protein that promotes the production of new brain cells and the survival of existing ones. (Locked) More »

Exercising with respiratory infections

I do my best to exercise every day, either walking two miles in good weather or riding my exercise bike for 30 minutes on wet or cold days. Should I keep going when I catch a cold, or would I be better off resting? (Locked) More »

Increasing activity can be a walk in the park

Adding regular physical activity to your daily routine is easier than you might think. Park a distance away from where you work or shop, climb stairs instead of using elevators. If you live within walking or bicycling distance of the bank, supermarket, post office, or place of worship, use your legs instead of a car to get there. (Locked) More »