Physical Activity

Physical Activity Articles

Bounce back from injury

Physical therapists use a variety of recreational and exercise balls to help people cope with injury and pain. Playground balls, about the size of a soccer ball, are often used in knee rehabilitation exercises; they can be squeezed between the knees to build muscle strength. Large exercise balls are used to help strengthen the back and core muscles and to improve balance; one can sit on the ball or lie on top of it while doing an exercise. Small sports balls, such as a golf ball or a lacrosse ball, are used for deep tissue massage. (Locked) More »

Can a tracker or smartphone app help you move more?

A review of randomized controlled trials published online Dec. 21, 2020, by the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that people who use fitness trackers are a little more active each day than people who don’t use fitness trackers. More »

Choosing a home exercise machine

Home exercise machines such as treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and rowing machines can make it easier to get regular, heart-protecting, aerobic exercise. Certain machines may be more appropriate for different people, depending on their history of joint or muscle trouble or other health problems. For those with knee or hip arthritis or balance issues, a stationary bike may be best, while treadmills and elliptical machines are best for people concerned about preventing osteoporosis. More »

Resistance training by the numbers

Resistance training (also known as strength training) consists of doing upper- and lower-body exercises using free weights (like dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells), weight machines, resistance bands, or even body weight. It is regarded as one of the best ways to slow and even reverse age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. The constant challenge with resistance training is finding that happy medium between doing too little and too much. New guidelines suggest people should focus on five categories: type of exercise, reps, weight, sets, and frequency. (Locked) More »

A plan for flexibility

As people age, flexibility enables them to active, perform everyday movements, and avoid injuries. Still, most would admit they lack flexibility and that they don’t give it the necessary attention. Flexibility is something that most older people can improve with some effort and commitment. A simple set of three stretches, done regularly, can improve flexibility in the common problem areas of the backs of the thighs, the hips, and the chest. (Locked) More »

Can taking aspirin regularly help prevent breast cancer?

There is insufficient evidence that a regimen of low-dose aspirin can prevent breast cancer, and it poses risks, including severe bleeding episodes. So, unless more evidence comes to light, experts say it’s too early to recommend the use of low-dose aspirin for this purpose. Until a few years ago it seemed that low-dose aspirin therapy held potential for breast cancer prevention, but three major studies that came out in 2018 changed that picture. Studies have also suggested against the use of aspirin therapy for primary prevention of cardiovascular disease because of bleeding risks. (Locked) More »

Tai chi or yoga? 4 important differences

Tai chi and yoga are gentle exercises that share a long list of benefits, such as pain reduction and improved balance, flexibility, strength, mobility, mood, quality of life, range of motion, reflexes, and thinking skills. But the exercises have subtle differences. For example, tai chi consists mostly of flowing movements, while yoga has mostly static poses. And tai chi is typically performed while standing; yoga may be performed while standing, lying down, sitting on the floor, or kneeling on all fours. Choosing one over the other often comes down to personal preference and practical considerations. (Locked) More »

Women sit more after retirement

A recent study found that on average women were sedentary 20 minutes more each day after they retired than they were before—an unhealthy pattern that can lead to a higher risk for cardiovascular disease. More »

It’s not too late to get in better shape

Only an estimated 40% of American adults get 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise a week, the low end of what the government recommends. Only 20% of adults perform the recommended strength training twice a week. This lack of movement makes older adults less fit than they could be for their age. But the good news is that people can build strength and improve their fitness at any age using a gradual, progressive approach that focuses on building strength, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility and balance. More »