A New Year – A Healthier You!

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital December 21, 2016

A New Year’s resolution to increase exercise can go a long way for your bones, joints, and many other aspects of your health. Starting a plan by setting small achievable goals every six-to-eight weeks is a great way to track your progress throughout the year. You should never increase your mileage or minutes spent exercising more than 10 percent per week.

Authors: Dr. Elizabeth Matzkin, Surgical Director of the Women’s Sports Medicine Program at Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Team Physician for Stonehill College Athletics, and Emily Brook, a research assistant in the Women’s Sports Medicine Program.

With a new year right around the corner, many of us are thinking about a New Year’s resolution. One of the most common New Year’s resolutions is to lose weight, exercise more and be healthy! Bones and joints appreciate weight loss, because for every pound you lose, pressure is taken off of your hip, knee, and ankle joints. However, losing weight and transitioning to a healthy lifestyle takes time, and many people who do too much, too soon, wind up with an overuse injury in the first 8-12 weeks of the year.

If you are thinking about weight loss or increasing your exercise as a New Year’s resolution, follow these simple tips to start your year off right and be on your way to an injury-free healthier lifestyle. Read More »

How Does Exercise Reduce Cancer Risk?

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 13, 2016

Group Yoga Class in Studio

Researchers at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center are investigating the link between exercise and lower risk of cancer, including risk of cancer recurrence.

This much is known: A sedentary lifestyle raises the risk of cancer, while physical activity – even moderate exercise – can reduce the risk not only of developing cancer but having a recurrence following treatment. What’s not so clear is exactly why.

“It’s still a little unknown,” says Dr. Jeffrey Meyerhardt, co-director of the Colon and Rectal Cancer Center at Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center, who has studied the relationship of exercise and colorectal cancer risk. In a previous study, he and Charles Fuchs, MD, MPH, director of the Gastrointestinal Cancer Center, reported that in patients with stage III colorectal cancer, more physical activity was associated with a lower risk of cancer recurrence and mortality.

According to Dr. Meyerhardt and other researchers, one way exercise can influence cancer risk is by lowering the amounts of insulin and insulin-like growth factors in the bloodstream. These hormones stimulate tumor cells to spread and survive despite the body’s attempts to kill abnormal cells. Studies show physical activity can directly reduce insulin levels, and research on this link is continuing. Jennifer Ligibel, MD, a Dana-Farber/Brigham and Women’s Cancer Center oncologist and director of the Leonard P. Zakim Center for Integrative Therapies, led a study in breast cancer patients that showed that participation in an exercise program led to a reduction in insulin levels in previously inactive breast cancer survivors.

Read More »

High-Intensity Interval Training: Your Guide to Fast, Effective Exercise

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 4, 2016

High-intensity interval training (HITT) is a form of exercise in which short periods of intense exercise are alternated with less intense recovery periods.

High-intensity interval training (HITT) is a form of exercise in which short periods of intense exercise are alternated with less intense recovery periods.

What is high-intensity interval training?

High-intensity interval training (HITT) is a form of exercise in which short periods of intense exercise are alternated with less intense recovery periods. It also may be called high-intensity intermittent exercise (HIIE), sprint interval training (SIT), or Tabata (after the professor who studied this type of training in Olympic speed skaters).

Any form of cardiovascular exercise can be used to develop a HIIT program. A session usually lasts from five to 30 minutes, and intervals can range from five seconds to eight minutes. The high-intensity interval should be performed at 80 to 95 percent of your maximal heart rate. Recovery periods should be performed at 40 to 50 percent of your maximal heart rate. The workout then continues with alternating high-intensity and recovery periods until completion.

Read More »

Get a Leg Up on Your New Year’s Resolutions

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital January 9, 2014


Chances are you know someone who has been affected by heart disease, America’s leading cause of death in both men and women. More than 1,000 sudden cardiac arrests occur each day in the United States, and nine out of 10 occur at home. Unfortunately, only one in three people survive sudden cardiac arrest.

Derek Daly beat the odds. In August 2009, Derek suffered cardiac arrest at home. Fortunately, his wife was able to immediately start CPR and, with the help of his family and first responders, he survived. Derek was brought to Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) for treatment.

While visiting BWH during his recovery and rehabilitation, Derek heard about ClimbCorps. Founded at BWH, ClimbCorps is dedicated to raising awareness about heart disease and improving individual health by transforming the stairwells of Boston’s tallest office buildings into fitness venues.

As someone who was always active, Derek wanted to get back to the activities he loved as quickly as possible. He decided to participate in ClimbCorps’ January 2013 event called ClimbAmerica!, which raises funds and awareness for heart disease prevention. Along with 1,600 other participants, he successfully reached the top of Boston’s Prudential Building in support of this important cause.

Read More »

Improving America’s Heart Health, One Step at a Time

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital September 26, 2013

The BWH ClimbCorps team is dedicated to fighting heart disease.

Last fall, Brigham and Women’s Hospital (BWH) launched an innovative program called ClimbCorps to improve America’s health and prevent heart disease. The goal of ClimbCorps, the nation’s first service corps dedicated to fighting heart disease and improving America’s health, is to train aspiring public health leaders to educate, engage, and empower others in achieving a healthier lifestyle.

Through organized stair climbs, educational workshops, and fundraisers , ClimbCorps members are raising awareness about heart disease and improving America’s health, one step at time. In its first year alone, ClimbCorps has transformed the stairwells in Boston’s largest office buildings into fitness venues, with participants climbing over eight million steps. In addition to educating thousands of people on heart disease prevention, ClimbCorps also has hosted two Climbathon fundraising events , which brought together more than 1,800 climbers and volunteers to raise more than $120,000 for heart disease prevention.

Read More »

Your Health: Ten Things That Really Matter, Tip #10

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 28, 2013

It's important to know your wellness numbers and which ones are most important to you.

To conclude American Heart Month, we’ve been featuring health tips that were presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital women’s health experts, Dr. JoAnne Foody and Dr. Paula Johnson, at the Boston Go Red for Women Educational Forum. (Go Red for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association, occurs each February to educate all women about the need to take care of their hearts.)

Men take note, these tips can benefit you, too – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Today, we present the final tip.

10. KNOWING YOUR NUMBERS IS NOT ENOUGH: KNOW WHICH NUMBERS ARE MEANINGFUL TO YOU.

Read More »

Your Health: Ten Things that Really Matter (Part 3)

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 27, 2013

Tip #9: Be active!

To conclude American Heart Month, we’re featuring ten health tips that were presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital women’s health experts, Dr. JoAnne Foody and Dr. Paula Johnson, at the Boston Go Red for Women Educational Forum. (Go Red for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association, occurs each February to educate all women about the need to take care of their hearts.)

Men take note, these tips can benefit you, too – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Check back with us as we publish new tips through the end of February.

7. IMPROVE COMMUNICATION WITH YOUR PROVIDERS.

Ask Me 3™ is a patient education program to promote communication between health care providers and patients to help improve health outcomes. The program encourages patients to understand the answers to three questions:

  • What is my main problem?
  • What do I need to do?
  • Why is it important for me to do this?

Patients should be encouraged to ask their providers these three simple but essential questions in every health care interaction. Likewise, providers should always encourage their patients to understand the answers to these three questions. Studies show that people who thoroughly understand health instructions make fewer mistakes when they take their medicine or prepare for a medical procedure. They also may get well sooner or be able to better manage a chronic health condition.

TIP:  Bring all of your medications (including over the counter) to your annual physical.

Read More »

Your Health: Ten Things That Really Matter (Part 2)

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 26, 2013

Inadequate sleep can lead to anxiety, overeating, high blood pressure, difficulty concentrating, and other problems.

To conclude American Heart Month, we’re featuring ten health tips that were presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital women’s health experts, Dr. JoAnne Foody and Dr. Paula Johnson, at the Boston Go Red for Women Educational Forum. (Go Red for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association, occurs each February to educate all women about the need to take care of their hearts.)

Men take note, these tips can benefit you, too – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Check back with us as we publish new tips through the end of February.

4. PREVENT DIABETES.

Patients with diabetes take longer to heal from injuries than those without. Diabetes can cause heart attack, stroke, kidney problems, impaired vision, and neuropathy. Although diabetes can come from a genetic predisposition, a high-sugar diet and lack of exercise are modifiable risk factors. Exercise, even without associated weight loss, can improve the body’s glucose control. Studies show that physical activity decreases your risk of diabetes. One hundred and fifty minutes per week (or just 30 minutes per day on weekdays) can reduce your risk of getting diabetes or reduce dependence on medications if you already have diabetes.

It’s never too late. If you have diabetes, you can still exercise. Just make sure you check your blood sugars regularly and be honest with your doctor about your exercise level. Together, you can come up with a plan to balance your exercise level and medications to help with blood sugar control.

TIP:  Use a pedometer!  It is much more fun to count steps than carbohydrates.  If you like the sweet stuff, try to avoid snacks with high sugar content, as they don’t make you feel full.

Read More »

Your Health: Ten Things that Really Matter (Part 1)

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 25, 2013

Health tip #1: Quit smoking.

To conclude American Heart Month, we’re featuring ten health tips that were presented by Brigham and Women’s Hospital women’s health experts, Dr. JoAnne Foody and Dr. Paula Johnson, at the Boston Go Red for Women Educational Forum. (Go Red for Women, sponsored by the American Heart Association, occurs each February to educate all women about the need to take care of their hearts.)

Men take note, these tips can benefit you, too – heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women. Check back with us as we publish new tips through the end of February.

1. DON’T SMOKE: IF YOU DO SMOKE, STOP.

Smoking promotes multiple medical problems, including chronic health issues like heart attack, stroke, osteoporosis, and cancer. The same is true for all tobacco-containing products, from cigars to chewing tobacco. Secondhand smoke should also be avoided.  Improvements in health, including lifespan and activity level, begin the day you quit. While quitting should be the goal, even simply decreasing the number of cigarettes you smoke can improve your life. Preventive efforts, like lowering cholesterol, may be especially effective in decreasing risk for smokers and former smokers.

TIP: If you’ve tried quitting, keep trying!  Research shows it takes an average of three to five tries to quit. If you’re struggling, ask your doctor for help.

Read More »

A Hearty Dose of Cardiovascular Advice and Research

Posted by Brigham and Women's Hospital February 12, 2013

Heart disease continues to be the leading cause of death for both men and women in the United States, and it is also one of the leading causes of disability. As part of American Heart Month, we offer insight from our clinicians and researchers about how to reduce your heart disease risks and what new things we’re learning about cardiovascular disease and treatment.

 

Heart Disease: Eliminate Excuses to Reduce Your Risks

Dr. Eldrin F. Lewis, MD, MPH, tells his patients that they’ll dramatically reduce their risk of developing heart disease if they follow a few simple guidelines for reducing their blood pressure (hypertension). Genetics can indeed play a role in developing high blood pressure, but obesity, inactivity, tobacco and alcohol use, stress, and salt intake are all hypertension risk factors that you can  control.

 

Weighing the Benefits and Risks of Cholesterol Drugs

If you’ve been taking a statin medication to lower your cholesterol, you might be wondering what you should do in light of new warnings about the link between statin use and diabetes. Research conducted at Brigham and Women’s Hospital may help you and your doctor weigh the benefits and risks.

  Read More »