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.
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.
Can stronger muscles pump up your heart health?
Just like aerobic exercise, targeted exercises to strengthen muscles throughout your body may also help stave off heart disease. Strength training helps burn calories and may help prevent harmful belly fat accumulation. Muscle tissue is more metabolically active, so it helps control blood sugar and lowers insulin resistance. That helps prevent type 2 diabetes, a major risk factor for heart disease. Strength training can be done with resistance bands, small hand weights, or weight machines.
Give yourself a lift
Research shows that weight lifting is good medicine for active older adults. While there are many weight-lifting exercises, one move to include in a workout is the deadlift. The short, quick movement is a highly functional exercise that can increase lower-body strength and power, which improves mobility, balance, and stability
Shore up your core
Your core muscles, which are those in your torso and pelvis, help you maintain your balance, and allow you to bend, twist and reach. Strengthening them is essential, especially after age 30 when you may start to lose muscle mass. The average 50-year-old who hasn’t done strength-building exercises may have already lost as much as 10% of her muscle mass.
Take control of rising cholesterol at menopause
High cholesterol can become a problem for some women after menopause. Managing the condition by making lifestyle changes and in some cases by taking medications can help prevent heart attack and stroke in many instances. Even small changes, such as losing a small amount of weight and adding a few 15-minute exercise intervals each day can help make a big difference in your health over time.
Healthy habits mean more disease-free years
An observational study published online Jan. 8, 2020, by The BMJ suggests that people who follow four or five healthy habits have an additional decade of disease-free living, compared with people who don’t follow any healthy lifestyle habits.
Understanding acute and chronic inflammation
Inflammation plays an essential role in healing and injury repair and is an integral part of the way a person’s immune system keeps the body safe and healthy. Some inflammation is good. Too much is often harmful. The goal is to recognize when inflammation is merely doing its job, and when it can potentially cause problems.
Core Exercises: Pelvic Curl
Harvard fitness expert Michele Stanten takes you through a simple exercise to tighten your abs, strengthen your back, and improve your balance
Don’t take back pain sitting down
Pain when sitting can be caused by a number of common problems, including problems with the discs that cushion the vertebrae in the back. Lying down can help the pain temporarily, but the goal should be to get up and move as soon as possible. People should see a doctor if your pain is extremely severe, if it comes back after getting better, or if it occurred after an injury.
Heart disease and cancer risk may be linked
People with a high risk of heart disease also may be at risk for cancer, as both conditions share many risk factors, such as poor nutrition, lack of exercise, and smoking
Run for a healthier life
New research has found that running for about an hour per week can offer many health benefits and it does not matter how far or fast you run during this period. For people who are hesitant about taking up running, adopting a simple run/walk program can help many novices ease into running no matter their fitness level.