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Latest physical activity research news

Don’t let injuries stop you

Many things can help you prevent injuries when you are active: Warm up first. Gradually increase how hard you work out. Try lower impact options. Use proper technique. Change up your activities to avoid injuries from overuse.

- Adapted from May 1, 2022, Harvard Medical School Newsletter 

Stronger muscles, stronger heart

Doing 30 to 60 minutes a week of strength training can lower your risk of heart disease, high blood pressure, and premature death. You don’t even need special equipment. Use your body weight to do standing lunges, push-ups, etc. This is a convenient way to build muscle that you can do anywhere. 

- Adapted from July 1, 2022, Harvard Medical School Newsletter 

Easy ways to work your core

Strong core muscles support heart health and help you stay active. These muscles are in your abdomen, back, sides, pelvis, hips, and buttocks. Easy core exercises include chair stands or standing leg lifts. Another kind of exercise is called walk and carry where you use many muscles at the same time. This can help with doing things like carrying groceries or a laundry basket. 

- Adapted from January 1, 2022, Harvard Medical School Newsletter 

Can yoga help you lose weight? Yes!

While everyone is different when it comes to losing weight, research shows that yoga might help. How? By decreasing stress, improving your mood, curbing emotional eating, and creating a community of support. These things are all known to help with weight. 

- Adapted from December 6, 2021, Harvard Medical School Newsletter 

Fitbit users can lower diabetes risk

Fitbit users in a study who took an average of 10,700 steps a day lowered their risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 44%. This was compared to those who only took 6,000 steps a day. The results were true no matter their age, sex, weight, or if they smoked. The study lasted almost 4 years. More than 5,000 people from the National Institutes of Health All of Us study participated.

- Adapted from December 2, 2022, The Journal of Clinical Endocrinology & Metabolism

Work out harder, not longer

High-intensity interval training (HIIT) may help you get fit faster if you exercise harder, rather than longer. With HIIT you do short bursts of intense exercise for one to four minutes at a time. Then you rest or do lighter activity for a short period of time. People who are older or who have heart disease should check with their doctor before trying HIIT.  

- Adapted from December 1, 2021, Harvard Medical School Newsletter 

Sitting all day is super unhealthy – but this can change

Eleven middle-aged, healthy adults in a study were asked to sit for 8 hours a day for 5 days. Doing even five minutes of walking every half hour reduced their blood sugar and blood pressure. This was compared to sitting all day.  

- Adapted from January 12, 2023, The Conversation

A little exercise still counts

Short bursts of activity are almost as effective for health as going longer. This is especially true for those who are sedentary, according to recent research. 

If you want to build muscle, gain endurance, compete in a 5K, or look better in your swimsuit, you will need to do more. But overall short bursts of exercise will make you healthier, research and experts suggest. 

Current public health recommendations suggest doing at least 150 minutes of moderately intense physical activity a week. This activity can be done throughout the week — even in bursts of less than 10 minutes at a time. 

In the end, the best physical activity is what fits into your life and helps build a lifelong habit. 

- Adapted from December 19, 2022, Internal Medicine News