Exercise & Fitness Archive

Articles

Move of the month: Opposite arm and leg raise

The core muscles include those of the abdomen, lower back, front of hips, and spine. Many popular sports such as cycling, golf, tennis, and swimming depend on a stable, flexible core.

Exercising when you have a heart condition

For people with all types of cardiovascular disease, regular exercise helps prevent the disease from getting worse. Even very short exercise stints can make a difference. Many people with heart disease qualify for cardiac rehabilitation, which includes an exercise stress test that shows how your heart and body respond to exertion. The results can inform recommendations for safe, effective physical activity.

Age and muscle loss

As the years pass, muscle mass in the body generally shrinks, and strength and power decline. The pro­cess begins earlier than you might think.

What's the minimum amount of exercise I need each week?

A 2022 study involving 72,000 people suggested that those who did even 15 minutes of vigorous activity per week had a 17% lower risk of death from any cause and death from cancer, compared with people who were inactive. With about 50 minutes per week, death from any cause was reduced by 36%. The reduction in risk of death from all causes, and death from cancer, was greatest in the first 40 minutes of vigorous physical activity per week.

Move of the month: Arm curls

Arm curls, which strengthen your biceps, can be done with dumbbells or household items such as cans of soup or water bottles.

Winter hiking: Magical or miserable?

The instinct to stay indoors during winter can start to feel confining after a while. Going for a winter hike is a great way to get out in nature and get exercise, but it's quite different from warm-weather hiking, and requires preparation and precautions.

Adding strength training to aerobic exercise may fuel longevity

A 2022 study found that people who did at least two sessions of strength training as well as 2.5 hours of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic activity each week were 30% less likely to die during an eight-year study period, compared with people who did less strength training.

Reclaim your pre-pandemic function

Many people have become deconditioned and lost some physical function as a result of inactivity during the pandemic. This may be causing them to change their habits, patterns, and activities because they don't think they can do them or don't feel like doing them anymore. People who've lost physical function as a result of inactivity can take several steps to get function back. Examples include setting goals, tracking activity, getting help from a physical therapist, adding weight training to an exercise regimen, exercising with a friend, and not giving up.

The many ways exercise helps your heart

Aerobic and muscle-building exercises can trigger physiological changes that improve blood vessels and metabolism in ways that help prevent all the major risk factors that contribute to heart disease. These include high blood pressure, diabetes, obesity, and unhealthy cholesterol levels. Exercise can also improve mental health problems such as depression and stress, which are common but underrecognized risks for heart disease.

Rethinking cardio exercise

Standard guidelines recommend at least 150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise. But many older adults have trouble reaching this mark, as they either don't enjoy aerobic workouts or have physical or medical issues that make traditional cardio exercise a challenge. Breaking down the weekly requirements into smaller daily segments and trying a variety of activities that can qualify as moderate intensity can help people meet their exercise needs.

Free Healthbeat Signup

Get the latest in health news delivered to your inbox!

Sign Up
Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Thanks for visiting. Don't miss your FREE gift.

The Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness, is yours absolutely FREE when you sign up to receive Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Sign up to get tips for living a healthy lifestyle, with ways to fight inflammation and improve cognitive health, plus the latest advances in preventative medicine, diet and exercise, pain relief, blood pressure and cholesterol management, and more.

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Health Alerts from Harvard Medical School

Get helpful tips and guidance for everything from fighting inflammation to finding the best diets for weight loss...from exercises to build a stronger core to advice on treating cataracts. PLUS, the latest news on medical advances and breakthroughs from Harvard Medical School experts.

BONUS! Sign up now and
get a FREE copy of the
Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness

Harvard Health Publishing Logo

Stay on top of latest health news from Harvard Medical School.

Plus, get a FREE copy of the Best Diets for Cognitive Fitness.