5 Best Exercises for Your Body, according to a Harvard Doctor


Guess what? Running a marathon is not the quickest way to getting those six-pack abs. According to I-Min Lee, a professor of medicine at Harvard Medical School, a marathon can be hard on your joints and digestive system.

Instead, Lee recommends 5 other types of workouts which include benefits that range from weight loss and muscle building to promoting heart health and strengthening your bones.

These findings are featured in a Harvard Medical School health report called “Starting to Exercise” which recommends some of the best workouts for your body.

Here are the top 5 exercises.

5 Best Exercises for Your Body

1. Swimming

Swimming works nearly every muscle in your body, promotes heart health and protects the brain from age-related decline. In addition to this, being afloat makes swimming a type of exercise which is strain-free.

By swimming regularly for at least 30 minutes a day, you’re doing aerobic exercise which a spate of research suggests could help combat depression and reduce stress, among other benefits.

2. Tai Chi

Tai chi is a Chinese martial art that combines a series of graceful movements to create a sort of moving meditation. It’s practiced for both its defense training and its health benefits.

Tai chi is performed slowly and gently with a high degree of focus and a special attention paid to breathing deeply. Since this exercise is practiced slowly and practitioners can go at their own pace, it’s accessible to a variety of people – regardless of age or fitness level.

3. Strength Training

Strength training involves using weight to create resistance against the pull of gravity. That weight can be your own body or free weights like dumbbells or resistance bands.

Research suggests you can either use heavy weights and a small number of reps or lighter weights with more reps to build stronger muscles.


7-minute workout is a great place to start strength training.

4. Walking

Several studies indicate that walking for even 30 minutes every day can have significant health benefits to brain and body. A study in people with depression found that just 30 minutes of treadmill walking for 10 consecutive days was sufficient to produce a clinically relevant and statistically significant reduction in depression.

Recommended reading: How to Do Walking Meditation

5. Kegel Exercises

Kegel exercises are important because they help strengthen a group of muscles commonly referred to as the ‘pelvic floor’ which include the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum. As we age, these muscles tend to weaken.

The right way to do kegel exercises involves squeezing the muscles you’d use to hold in urine or gas.

To learn more about Kegel exercises, refer to this wikiHow guide.

Here’s an infographic which summarizes the article. Please feel free to share it on Pinterest, Twitter, and Tumblr. 

5 Best Exercises Infographic

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