Exercise and Fitness

Mind over matter? How fit you think you are versus actual fitness

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

A study of over 60,000 people who were followed for as long as two decades found that people’s perceptions about their level of activity have a more significant effect on their longevity than their actual fitness.

Is it safe to take ibuprofen for the aches and pains of exercise?

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

A study of endurance athletes who took ibuprofen during marathon running raises questions about the wisdom of ibuprofen during exercise, and in addition that people with kidney disease may want to exercise caution when taking these medications.

Exercise today, look better tomorrow (really)

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

A small study supports the idea that exercising improves body image, whether or not the activity leads to any visible change in appearance. This suggests that additional research examining different types of exercise, and the long-term psychological effects of physical activity would be valuable.

This just in: Exercise is good for you

Robert H. Shmerling, MD
Robert H. Shmerling, MD, Faculty Editor, Harvard Health Publications

If you are trying to follow the recommended guidelines for physical activity, the best way to spend your time may be running, but a study of commuters found that those who walked or bicycled to work also had lower rates of heart disease and cancer.

More evidence that exercise helps keep your brain fit

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

A review of dozens of studies on the benefits of exercise on cognitive health concluded that, for those over 50, just about any form of activity is beneficial if performed regularly.

Lifestyle change: “I know what to do, I just need to do it…but how?”

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

Despite willpower, many people find that making significant lifestyle changes is very difficult. Factors both internal and external influence our ability to make changes, but being aware of them is the first step to overcoming them.

You can do yoga: A simple 15-minute morning routine

Marlynn Wei, MD, JD
Marlynn Wei, MD, JD, Contributing Editor

The benefits of yoga for the body and mind are well documented. If you have been thinking about trying yoga, this simple routine includes breathing techniques, movement, and beginners meditation and will help you start your day.

Biking to work linked to reduced risk of heart disease, cancer, and early death

Beverly Merz
Beverly Merz, Executive Editor, Harvard Women's Health Watch

A five-year study of more than a quarter of a million commuters in the United Kingdom found that those who commute to work by bicycle had lower risk of cardiovascular disease and cancer, or of dying from any cause.

Racket sports serve up health benefits

Matthew Solan
Matthew Solan, Executive Editor, Harvard Men's Health Watch

Racket sports like tennis are beneficial to health, in part because of the types of movement required, and also because of the social component of playing with others. One of the fastest-growing racket sports particularly among older adults is “pickleball,” which blends tennis, table tennis, and the backyard childhood game of Wiffle ball.

Exercise versus caffeine: Which is your best ally to fight fatigue?

Monique Tello, MD, MPH
Monique Tello, MD, MPH, Contributing Editor

When you need a boost, it’s tempting to reach for a cup of coffee or a soda, but studies show that even a short burst of physical activity will also provide a dose of energy, plus all the other benefits of exercise.