By now, most people are familiar with the exercise advice prescribed by many experts: Get at least 30 minutes of moderate activity on most days of the week.

According to Theresa Ryan, health/fitness specialist at the Good Health Center at MedStar Good Samaritan, “You might be able to help further reduce your risk for some chronic illnesses — including those that run in your family — by expanding your workout schedule.”

Type 2 Diabetes

Regular aerobic exercise may help prevent diabetes by controlling blood sugar levels. It also can help people control excess weight, another risk factor for this disease. Strength training, which can increase your metabolism, is another good exercise for weight control.

Heart Disease

You can reduce your risk even further with more than 30 minutes of moderate activity a day. In one study, runners who averaged more than 40 miles a week had a 30 percent lower risk of heart disease than those who ran less than 10 miles a week. However, there is a limit to how much you can exercise for heart health. Some experts place it at 60 minutes of vigorous activity a day. If you are at high risk for heart disease, check with your doctor before starting a vigorous program.


Choose weight-bearing activities, such as brisk walking. But don’t overdo it. Young women who exercise hard enough to affect their menstrual cycle actually risk losing bone mass. High-impact exercises, such as jogging or jumping rope, may promote bone growth. But these may be too risky for people whose bones have begun to thin. In addition, add some strength-training and flexibility exercise to your routine. These can cut your risk of falls and fractures.


High-impact exercises, such as running, may increase the risk of osteoarthritis. If you are concerned about this condition, consider exercises that are easier on the joints, such as riding a stationary bike. Weak thigh muscles also may contribute to osteoarthritis in the knees. Strength-training exercises may protect vulnerable joints.

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