Physical Activity

Physical Activity Articles

Exercise by the numbers

The standard guideline for fitness is 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week. There are many ways to reach those 150 weekly minutes, but focusing on this duration and intensity can enable people to gain optimal benefits from exercise.  (Locked) More »

Danger-proof your walking routine

Physical and environmental dangers may turn a walk outside into a trip to the hospital, sabotaging good intentions to stay healthy. Hazards include gait problems, hearing impairment, distractions from electronic gadgets, and walking alone or without a way to call for help in case of an emergency. It’s best to seek a physical evaluation if any underlying health conditions could put a person at risk of falling while walking, such as back, hip, knee, ankle, or foot pain; muscle weakness; imbalance from neurological conditions such as Parkinson’s disease; dizziness from inner ear conditions; or vision problems. More »

Put your heart in the right place

Cardiac rehabilitation can speed recovery from a recent heart attack, stroke or heart-related surgery. It is also helpful for people diagnosed as a high risk for cardiovascular disease. However, many eligible patients do not partake. Eligible patients need to be proactive and discuss this option with their physician. (Locked) More »

Ask the doctor: When should I begin exercising?

I?m a 23-year-old man who reads my mother's copy of the Harvard Health Letter. You often talk about how regular exercise improves health, particularly heart health. Since heart disease doesn't usually start until a man is in his 60s, at what age should I get serious about exercise? More »

Easy exercises for "keyboard athletes"

People who spend too much time looking down at smartphones or sitting at a computer keyboard are risking poor health. They can stay healthier by taking activity breaks every 30 to 60 minutes throughout the day. One type of break should include a quick burst of activity for two or three minutes. Another type of break should be a brief exercise routine. The routine can include one minute of standing heel raises, then one minute of squats, and one minute of pulling the shoulders back and squeezing the shoulder blades together. (Locked) More »

Exercising in water: Big heart benefits and little downside

Swimming may be a good alternative to walking for people who find walking difficult, such as those who have achy knees, sore hips, or excess weight. Recreational or slow lap swimming counts as moderate exercise. But because water offers resistance, it also enables people to work out more vigorously. The meditative, relaxing aspect of doing laps may also relieve stress, which may add to swimming’s cardiovascular benefits.  More »

Step up to better heart health

Older adults who walk at a pace of at least 3 mph may have a lower risk of heart disease than those with a 2 mph pace. Those who walk at least seven blocks a day also have a lower risk than those who walk five blocks per week. More »

What we do—and don't—know about exercise

Exercise recommendations have changed with increasing information from research. The current advice is to get the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate or 75 minutes of vigorous activity a week and avoid prolonged sitting. (Locked) More »