Exercise & Fitness Archive

Articles

3 kettlebell moves

Kettlebells can add depth to home workouts as they are easily stored and can be used to perform virtually any type of movement for an all-around workout that hits the major muscles. Kettlebells look like balls or bells with handles on top and range in weight from five to 30 pounds and higher. While they can function similarly to dumbbells, kettlebells can provide a more challenging workout, as a person needs muscle strength, balance, core stability, flexibility, and coordination to control its weight.

Want better sleep? Aim for at least an hour of exercise per week

In a 2024 study, people who exercised at least twice a week (for a total of at least an hour), for 10 years were less likely to report difficulty falling asleep or sleeping for less than six hours a night compared with people who were inactive for 10 years.

What you need to know about electric bicycles

Riding an electric bicycle (e-bike) has risks and benefits. On the plus side, an e-bike—which has a built-in electric motor—can assist a rider when pedaling is difficult. It puts less compression on the joints than a conventional bike, and makes riding easier for people with joint pain or diminished strength or endurance. But at higher speeds, an e-bike can be difficult to control for people not used to riding, which might lead to accidents.

Interval training: A shorter, more enjoyable workout?

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) is a time-efficient way for people to improve their fitness and cardiovascular health. Even short bursts of high-intensity activity may trigger the release of mood-boosting brain chemicals. Traditionally, HIIT features 30 to 90 seconds of high-intensity effort followed by an equal or longer period of lower-intensity activity or rest. HIIT variations include fartlek (Swedish for "speed play"), which uses environmental cues to set intervals, and Tabata, which features 20-second intervals of intensity followed by 10-second recovery intervals.

Easy upper-body boosters

The loss of muscle mass begins in one's 30s and accelerates after age 60. A loss of upper-body strength can make it more difficult to complete daily activities, and it may also increase the risk for muscle injury during an activity that involves reaching. A physical therapy program can help increase muscle mass in older age. Such a program typically involves gentle stretching to keep muscles supple, plus strengthening exercises like triceps curls, with low amounts of weight (just a few pounds) and a high number of repetitions.

Strong legs help power summer activities: Hiking, biking, swimming, and more

Legs are the foundation for many enjoyable activities—running, bicycling, swimming, and more. Building strong leg muscles can improve your performance, build endurance, and reduce your risk of injury. These exercises will work all of the major muscle groups in your legs.

Yoga skepticism

About 38 million Americans practice yoga, and three-quarters are women. Some people hesitate to try yoga because they wrongly believe they must be slender and flexible and need to buy costly equipment. But yoga's health benefits are plentiful and proven. Research suggests yoga eases depression, boosts sleep quality, improves chronic pain, and reduces cardiovascular disease risks. People can overcome their reluctance to try yoga by joining a class, taking a friend along, asking for modifications, and being patient with their progress.

Try this: Band practice

Resistance bands are versatile exercise equipment that can supplement people's usual workouts. They also help people who have trouble gripping or holding dumbbells or need greater control when exercising, like when recovering from an injury or managing joint pain.

Does tai chi beat aerobics to lower blood pressure?

A 2024 study found that among people at risk for high blood pressure, those who practiced tai chi for one hour four times a week for a year experienced an average seven-point drop in blood pressure, compared with a four-point drop in those who did aerobics instead.

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.