Physical Activity

Physical Activity Articles

Puppy love may help your heart

A growing number of studies show health benefits related to owning a dog. This includes improved heart health, according to two recent studies. This may be the case because dog owners get more exercise caring for their animals, and they may spend more time outdoors. In addition, the companionship may help their mental health. (Locked) More »

Run for a longer life? Just a short jog might make a difference

Small amounts of jogging or running may lower the risk of heart disease and help people live longer. Even running just once a week, for less than 50 minutes ‌each time and at a speed below 6 mph, seems to have benefits. Experts recommend starting low and slow, such as by adding short periods of running during a brisk walk. Each week, adults should get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity (such as brisk walking) or 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity (such as running) or a combination of moderate and vigorous physical activity. (Locked) More »

Born to move: Human hearts evolved to need exercise

Chimpanzees, which are humans’ closest evolutionary relatives, have hearts with thick, stiff walls. This adaptation reflects their need for short bouts of climbing and fighting. In contrast, prehistoric people had to hunt and gather food to survive, so the human heart evolved to have thinner, more flexible walls. These adaptations reinforce the importance of regular brisk walking or jogging throughout life to stay healthy. Young people who don’t exercise regularly may have hearts that more closely resemble chimpanzee hearts. This may contribute to high blood pressure later in life. More »

The act of balancing

As people age, their sense of balance can sharply decline, which can raise the risk of injuries and even death from falls. Changes in flexibility, muscle strength and power, body sensation, reflexes, and even mental function all contribute to declining balance. Adding balance exercises and multifaceted movements can help. More »

Boost your activity level in small bites

A new strategy called high-intensity incidental physical activity, or HIIPA for short, can help boost fitness, especially in individuals who are sedentary. The strategy encourages people to incorporate short bursts of moderately challenging regular activities—such as climbing the stairs, heavy cleaning, or walking from a more distant parking space to an entrance—to boost fitness. It builds on the concept of high-intensity interval training, but also adopts new information that shows activity doesn’t necessarily need to be formal exercise to count toward fitness goals. (Locked) More »

Is it too late to save your posture?

It’s usually not too late to improve posture, even with rounded shoulders or healed compression fractures. The key is strengthening and stretching the upper back, chest, and core muscles. Shoulder strengtheners include scapula squeezes and rows. Core strengtheners include modified planks or simply tightening the abdominal muscles, pulling the navel in toward the spine. It’s also important to cut down on activities that have led to poor posture, such as sitting slouched for long periods in front of a computer or TV. (Locked) More »

Fitness trend: Nordic walking

Nordic walking is catching on in the United States as an exercise regimen, especially among older adults. The activity adds Nordic poles to a walking routine, and walkers then mimic the motions of cross-country skiers. Propelling oneself while walking combines cardiovascular exercise with a vigorous muscle workout for the shoulders, arms, core, and legs. Nordic walking is also associated with reductions in fat mass, “bad” LDL cholesterol and triglycerides, depression, anxiety, chronic pain, and waist circumference, and increases in “good” HDL cholesterol, endurance, muscle strength and flexibility, walking distance, cardiovascular fitness, and quality of life. More »

Keep your health habits on track during the holidays

The holiday season is a busy time of year when many people let their good exercise habits and diet slip. Planning ahead for the season can help people stay on track. Some strategies to help maintain good health habits include tracking your fitness and diet, focusing on social connections instead of food and drink at parties, and looking for new, interesting workouts. More »