Exercise & Fitness

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

Bellows breath

"Intermediate Yoga," a special health report from Harvard Medical School, includes a Strengthening Practice routine with multiple exercises that help develop both mental and physical strength. Among them is "bellows breath." To learn additional intermediate yoga exercises, visit: www.health.harvard.edu/iy   More »

Half sun salutation

"Half sun salutation" is among the Basic Practice exercises described in "Intermediate Yoga," a special health report from Harvard Medical School. To learn additional intermediate yoga exercises, visit: www.health.harvard.edu/iy More »

Sun breath

Among the Flexibility Practice exercises in "Intermediate Yoga," a special health report from Harvard Medical School, is sun breath. The Flexibility Practice routine will help you gain more supple muscles and greater range of motion through various joints. To learn additional intermediate yoga exercises, visit: www.health.harvard.edu/iy More »

Three-part breath

Among the Basic Practice exercises in "Intermediate Yoga," a special health report from Harvard Medical School, is this breathing exercise. "Three-part breath" is simple enough to do almost anytime and anywhere. To learn additional intermediate yoga exercises, visit: www.health.harvard.edu/iy More »

Calories burned in 30 minutes for people of three different weights

While engaging in one of your favorie physical activities or exercises, you may have asked yourself, "How many calories do I burn while doing this?" Well, you may find your answer here. The table below lists the calories burned by doing dozens of activities listed by category (such as gym activities, training and sports activities, home repair etc.) for 30 minutes. Activities and exercises include walking (casual, race, and everything in between), swimming, jogging, yoga, and many more. Weight Lifting: general More »

Bounce back from injury

Physical therapists use a variety of recreational and exercise balls to help people cope with injury and pain. Playground balls, about the size of a soccer ball, are often used in knee rehabilitation exercises; they can be squeezed between the knees to build muscle strength. Large exercise balls are used to help strengthen the back and core muscles and to improve balance; one can sit on the ball or lie on top of it while doing an exercise. Small sports balls, such as a golf ball or a lacrosse ball, are used for deep tissue massage. (Locked) More »

Can a tracker or smartphone app help you move more?

A review of randomized controlled trials published online Dec. 21, 2020, by the British Journal of Sports Medicine suggests that people who use fitness trackers are a little more active each day than people who don’t use fitness trackers. More »

Choosing a home exercise machine

Home exercise machines such as treadmills, elliptical machines, stationary bikes, and rowing machines can make it easier to get regular, heart-protecting, aerobic exercise. Certain machines may be more appropriate for different people, depending on their history of joint or muscle trouble or other health problems. For those with knee or hip arthritis or balance issues, a stationary bike may be best, while treadmills and elliptical machines are best for people concerned about preventing osteoporosis. More »

Resistance training by the numbers

Resistance training (also known as strength training) consists of doing upper- and lower-body exercises using free weights (like dumbbells, kettlebells, or barbells), weight machines, resistance bands, or even body weight. It is regarded as one of the best ways to slow and even reverse age-related muscle loss, known as sarcopenia. The constant challenge with resistance training is finding that happy medium between doing too little and too much. New guidelines suggest people should focus on five categories: type of exercise, reps, weight, sets, and frequency. (Locked) More »

Ten churnings

The yoga routine "ten churnings" can be done on its own to help you get moving in the morning or to counteract stiffness after sitting for too long. In about six minutes, the routine can loosen up your joints and serve as a warm-up to a longer exercise session. To learn additional intermediate yoga exercises, visit: www.health.harvard.edu/iy More »