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Exercise & Fitness – Harvard Health

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

Don’t let muscle mass go to waste

Age-related muscle loss is a natural part of getting older. But muscle loss can occur faster after an injury, illness, or any prolonged period of inactivity, leading to muscle atrophy. The consequences can mean overall weakness, poor balance, and even frailty. The good news is that it’s possible to rebuild lost muscle through a comprehensive program that includes physical therapy, strength training, cardio, flexibility, and a nutrition plan that includes more protein and calories. More »

Fighting fatigue

Fatigue is a common symptom that can be caused by a whole host of factors, from medical conditions to stress and poor sleep. In order to ease ongoing fatigue, it’s important to investigate and treat the underlying cause. Fatigue that doesn’t respond to interventions or is severe or persistent should be brought to the attention of a doctor. It may be caused by a medical condition. (Locked) More »

Unlocking the mystery of chronic pelvic pain syndrome

Chronic pelvic pain syndrome—also known as chronic prostatitis—is one of the most puzzling conditions for older men. Because the cause is unknown and there is no defined strategy for treatment, doctors often take a trial-and-error approach to managing the common symptoms like pain, sexual dysfunction, and urination problems. These include different types of medication, physiotherapy, stress management, exercise, and diet modification. (Locked) More »

Easy ways to fight pandemic-era inactivity

Two-, five-, or 10-minute breaks are all it takes to interrupt the unhealthy physiological processes percolating during long periods of sitting. Ideas for two-minute breaks include hula-hooping or stair climbing. Five-minute breaks allow enough time to walk around the yard or complete household chores. The best way to maximize a 10-minute break is to take a brisk walk outside or follow a 10-minute video designed specifically for a mini workout, such tai chi, yoga, or dance. (Locked) More »

Stuck at home?

It may be difficult to leave the house to exercise this winter, but there are numerous exercises that can be done at home, including walking, stationary biking, strength training, yoga, tai chi, and balance training. Most of these options don’t require expensive equipment or a live instructor. Online classes are also a great option if a person can’t get to the gym. More »

Why you should move — even just a little — throughout the day

People who sit for long, uninterrupted periods of time may increase their risk of cardiovascular disease, even if they get the recommended 30 minutes of daily exercise. Sedentary behavior appears to make people more prone to developing insulin resistance and inflammation, which are key players in the buildup of fatty plaque inside arteries. Experts say people should add short bursts of movement to their daily routine to break up long periods of sitting. More »

More daily movement may lower cancer deaths

People who move more during the day may be at a much lower risk of dying from cancer compared with more sedentary individuals. Experts recommend getting at least 30 minutes of daily activity to counter the effects from sitting. More »

Reinvent your walking regimen

A brisk walk is excellent exercise, but some people find it boring. Incorporating other activities into the walk can make it more interesting. For example, a person can boost cardio fitness during a walk by using Nordic walking poles or by periodically picking up the pace for brief spurts of 15, 30, or 60 seconds. A brisk walk can also be used as a time to socialize with family or friends, or to have a heart-to-heart chat. A brisk walk is also a good time to practice mindfulness. More »

Step up your walking fitness

People who walk for their primary form of exercise, or even just for recreation, need to make sure they stay in good walking shape to avoid injuries and improve their endurance. Adopting a cross-training routine that focuses on strengthening the legs, hips, and core can keep walkers in tip-top shape. (Locked) More »

Stop counting calories

Experts are learning that the old idea of calories in, calories out, isn’t necessarily accurate or the best way to lose weight. Even careful calorie calculations don’t always yield uniform results. How a person’s body burns calories depends on a number of factors, including the type of food eaten, metabolism, and even the presence of certain gut microorganisms. The truth is that two people can eat the exact same number of calories and have very different outcomes when it comes to weight. More »

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