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

It's never too late to start exercising

An observational study published online March 8, 2019, by JAMA Network Open found that older adults who didn’t start exercising until middle age had a similar lower risk of dying as those who had exercised consistently since they were teenagers. More »

Should you use an active workstation at home?

An active workstation may be helpful for people who spend more than a few hours per day sitting at a desk at home, especially if they find it hard to take breaks from sitting. However, active workstations can pose some health risks. For example, standing for long periods overloads the joints and back and can worsen existing pain. Using a treadmill desk or a cycling desk may make it harder to concentrate. It’s best to try out an active workstation in a store (for an extended period) before making a purchase. (Locked) More »

Take a swing at kettlebells

Kettlebells, which look like a ball or bell with a handle, can be used for most traditional dumbbell exercises. However, their signature use is to do kettlebell swings. Swings are a great whole-body exercise that can target weak muscle groups, such as the hamstrings, glutes, hips, and low back. They also provide a good cardio workout and can help to improve posture. (Locked) More »

To elevate your exercise routine, head outside

Walking or hiking outdoors in nature may offer some heart-related benefits beyond what people experience from an indoor workout. Beautiful vistas may encourage people to walk farther, and trails that include hills also help the heart work harder, which boosts fitness. Using walking poles adds an upper-body workout to the walk, in addition to increasing the number of calories burned. Natural settings tend to be quieter, cooler, and have better air quality than urban areas. Finally, spending time in green spaces—nature preserves, woodlands, and even urban parks—may ease people’s stress levels. (Locked) More »

A flexible way to stretch

It’s normal for people to become less limber as they age as their muscles shrink and their tendons lose their water content. A sedentary lifestyle can make the condition even worse. This lack of flexibility can increase a person’s risk of injuries and make everyday movements more difficult. Yet it’s possible to slow and even reverse the loss of flexibility by adopting a regular all-around stretching routine. More »

Four keys to prevent cardiovascular disease

After decades of steady decline, the number of deaths from cardiovascular disease (CVD) has increased over the last few years. However, an estimated 80% of all CVD —heart disease, heart attack, heart failure, and stroke—can be prevented. They key is to control high blood pressure and high cholesterol, and follow healthy habits, such eating a plant-based diet, adopting regular physical activity, and getting adequate sleep. (Locked) More »

More evidence that exercise can boost mood

Researchers found that regular exercise seems to prevent depression. The study used genetic data to answer the question of whether a lack of movement causes depression or if depression causes people to move less. Moving more, even when just performing ordinary daily activities, such as walking or gardening, can reduce the risk of depression. More »

Put your heart in the right place

Cardiac rehab provides supervised exercise and teaches the fundamentals of a heart-healthy lifestyle to people who have had heart surgery or another cardiac event. During the program, which usually involves three sessions per week over a three-month period, participants get an individualized treatment plan with goals for their blood pressure, blood sugar, heart rate, and weight (and smoking cessation, if needed). Cardiac rehab not only lowers the risk of dying of heart disease by about 24%, it also improves exercise ability and quality of life. (Locked) More »