Physical Activity

Physical Activity Articles

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 »

Get active with trackers

Activity trackers can monitor a person’s activity and motion and provide the instant feedback needed to stay motivated and engaged in healthy behavior. While they often come with various features, tracking daily steps and recording active minutes offers the best information for the average person. (Locked) 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 »

How fitness trackers can improve your health

Electronic fitness trackers can motivate people to stay with exercise and weight-loss programs. The companion apps store data and allow it to be shared with friends, family, and health care providers. (Locked) More »

Start moving with a fitness tracker

Fitness trackers accurately record objective data about physical activity, including the pace, distance, intensity, and duration of exercise. Knowing that something is keeping track of every move can motivate people to stick with a workout. (Locked) More »

What your heart rate is telling you

A low resting heart rate and high maximum heart rate are associated with a reduced risk of heart attack and death. Regular exercise helps to lower resting heart rate and raise maximum heart rate. More »