These 3 Surprising Workouts Are the Best For Your Health, Says Harvard

There’s nothing like a multitasking sweat session to help us burn calories, banish stress, and clear our minds. But as Business Insider reports, not all fitness routines are created equal. A new health report released by Harvard Medical School titled “Starting to Exercise” outlined the most effective workouts that not only aid in weight loss, but also help strengthen your brain, bones, and heart.

“Research shows that just a half-hour of moderately intense exercise a day can improve your health and extend your life,” the report says. I-Min Lee, a Harvard professor and author of the study, notes that activities like long-distance running can have negative effects on your digestive system and joints. In addition to explaining the best ways to avoid injuries and use the proper breathing techniques, the research also reveals some of the most beneficial workouts for your health—and a few of them may surprise you. Read on below for three routines that help you live longer and only require 30 minutes of your time.

Walking. This activity may seem like a no-brainer, but as Business Insider reports, some studies have found that walking for at least 30 minutes at a leisurely pace can help boost your memory and reduce depression. For those who don’t exercise regularly, Harvard suggests starting off with 10- to 15-minute strolls and building up to 30- to 60-minute walks.

Tai chi. A Chinese martial and meditative art that involves a series of gentle and flowing movements, this ancient practice emphasizes deep focus and paying attention to breathing. Lee writes that tai chi is “particularly good for older people because balance is an important component of fitness, and balance is something we lose” as we age.

Swimming. Harvard’s Healthbeat newsletter calls swimming “the perfect workout,” all thanks to its ability to work almost every muscle in your body. From protecting your brain from signs of aging to raising your heart rate, this aerobic workout also reduces potential injuries “because it’s less weight bearing,” Lee writes in a recent issue of the newsletter.

By DANIELLE DIRECTO-MESTON

Running to work – how running can help you create a better working life

Eighteen months ago I returned to running after a break of fifteen years. Running had always been a big part of my life but I had just lost the habit and other things – job, child, life – had gotten in the way.

Returning to running reconnected me to many of the things I had always enjoyed about the sport but it also gave me a fresh perspective. In particular, I noticed new things about the act of regularly running; most surprising was its impact not only on my work but my relationship with work.

Over the last fifteen years, the world of business has changed dramatically. Smartphones and ubiquitous connectivity mean that, if you let it, you are always in touch with what is happening and what needs to be done.

As I am paid to solve client’s problems, and I have an inclination to think deeply about things, this new ‘always on’ world presents a challenge – how do I switch off?


Running allows me to regain perspective in a world that is overrun with information and interruptions. It allows me to escape for a moment and to let my thoughts run free.


The remarkable thing about running is the inability to hold a coherent thought during the duration of a run. I might start a run wrestling with a thorny problem but I can be sure that will not be the thought I end the run with. It’s as if the act of freeing my body and running frees my mind as well.

In addition, I’ve noticed that my best ideas and thoughts come either during a run or immediately afterward. Running creates distance from problems both literally and metaphorically and allows me to change my perspective. Viewing a problem differently creates new possibilities and pathways. And it is this change in perspective that helps create new ways of thinking and ideas.

Running has also added excitement and interest to the bland, antiseptic world of business travel. International trips had started to lose their appeal for me as I realized it was often the same hotels and the same meeting rooms with the only connection to the country you are visiting being the taxi ride to the airport.


But running before meetings feels like an illicit adventure. You get to explore parts of a city as everyone is waking up and you get to see beyond the world that other business travelers are experiencing.


On South Beach Miami I was so enchanted by the beach-side boardwalk that I ran for 10 miles beside the sea. Far from sending me to sleep during the subsequent 8 hours of meetings I had a smile on my face thinking of the experience my colleagues, trapped in their hotel, had missed.

In Paris, I navigated the narrow roads and early morning deliveries of the Left Bank before running the length of the Champs Elysees to find the exact turn where Bradley Wiggins had lead out Mark Cavendish at the end of the 2012 Tour de France.

German forests have continued to charm and terrify me in equal measure. In a hotel in the forests outside of Munich I was given a map to guide me through the surrounding countryside. But at seven in the morning, an innocent looking path through pine woods quickly turned from a Hansel and Gretel fairy story to the Blair Witch Project as the forest closed in on either side of me. There is nothing like a bit of fear to help with a negative split.

On a two-day trip to Frankfurt, I was surprised to discover the largest urban forest in Europe was beside my hotel near the airport. My previous experience of German woods didn’t deter me from jogging along an unlit path through dense trees on an early winter’s morning. I saw no-one but the outline of wood sheds in the gloom combined with airplanes landing nearby triggered memories of every dark, macabre scandi-noir series and hastened my return. The reception team seemed particularly relieved when I returned half an hour later alive – but slightly paler.

When I talk to non-running colleague about running they mainly focus on the effort it must take. The message being that running is hard work. But that seems to me to completely miss the point of running. Running has helped me produce better work, to enjoy my work more and to create a better balance between my work and my life.


In a world where expensive technology is seen as the greatest enabler of productivity, there is something surprising about finding out that some shorts, a t-shirt and a pair of trainers is the secret to a better working life.

By 

Running May Be Socially Contagious

Can our workouts be shaped by what our friends do?

That question is at the heart of an important new study of exercise behavior, one of the first to use so-called big data culled from a large-scale, global social network of workout routines.

The researchers focused on running, because so many of the network participants were runners. And what they found suggests that whether and how much we exercise can depend to a surprising extent on our responses to other people’s training.

The results also offer some practical advice for the runners among us, suggesting that if you wish to improve your performance, you might want to become virtual friends with people who are just a little bit slower than you are.

There have been intimations for some time that aspects of our lifestyles and health can be contagious. Using data from surveys and postings on social media, scientists have reported that obesity, anxiety, weight loss and certain behaviors, including exercise routines, may be shared and intensified among friends.

But those studies had limitations, particularly related to the tendency of people to gravitate toward others who are like them. This phenomenon, which researchers call homophily, makes it difficult to tease out how friends influence each other’s lives. Many of these studies also relied on people’s notoriously unreliable estimations of their behavior, whether it involved eating or exercise.

The new study, published in Nature Communications, sought to avoid these pitfalls by turning to data from a worldwide social network devoted to sharing objectively measured exercise routines. (The network is not named in the study for contractual reasons, the researchers say.)

People who join this network upload data from an activity monitor, which precisely tracks their daily exercise regimens. They also become virtual friends with others in the network who seem like-minded. Friends then automatically share workout data.

The researchers, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, eventually gathered five years worth of data from about 1.1 million runners from across the globe. Cumulatively, those in the network had run almost 225 million miles during that time.

The identity of the individual runners was masked, but the researchers could tally exactly how often, far and fast each had gone every day for five years. They could similarly map out how often, far and fast their particular friends had run on those same and subsequent days.

Using this data, the researchers noted immediate correlations. Friends tended to display similar training routines day to day and year to year, even if they were separated geographically. But it remained unclear whether the runners were influencing one another’s distance and pace or just hanging out virtually with people who already ran like them.

But those studies had limitations, particularly related to the tendency of people to gravitate toward others who are like them. This phenomenon, which researchers call homophily, makes it difficult to tease out how friends influence each other’s lives. Many of these studies also relied on people’s notoriously unreliable estimations of their behavior, whether it involved eating or exercise.

The new study, published on Monday in Nature Communications, sought to avoid these pitfalls by turning to data from a worldwide social network devoted to sharing objectively measured exercise routines. (The network is not named in the study for contractual reasons, the researchers say.)

People who join this network upload data from an activity monitor, which precisely tracks their daily exercise regimens. They also become virtual friends with others in the network who seem like-minded. Friends then automatically share workout data.

The researchers, from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology’s Sloan School of Management, eventually gathered five years worth of data from about 1.1 million runners from across the globe. Cumulatively, those in the network had run almost 225 million miles during that time.

The identity of the individual runners was masked, but the researchers could tally exactly how often, far and fast each had gone every day for five years. They could similarly map out how often, far and fast their particular friends had run on those same and subsequent days.

Using this data, the researchers noted immediate correlations. Friends tended to display similar training routines day to day and year to year, even if they were separated geographically. But it remained unclear whether the runners were influencing one another’s distance and pace or just hanging out virtually with people who already ran like them.

But the findings apply only to people who already are runners, he adds, since the data he and his colleagues used described runners. They cannot tell us whether other types of exercise are equally catching or how to make exercise in general more palatable and contagious among inactive people.

Dr. Aral and his colleagues plan to use other social media data to study those questions soon.

By

 Athletico/Bank of America Marathon;  Kris Dunn’s Finger Injury; Post Marathon Recovery

Episode 17.27 with Hosts Steve Kashul and Dr. Brian Cole. Broadcasting on ESPN Chicago 1000 WMVP-AM Radio, Saturdays from 8:30 to 9:00 AM/c.

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Segment One (01:34): Travis Orth PT, DPT from Athletico Physical Therapy talks about the history and involvement of Athletico with the Bank of America Chicago Marathon: providing endurance program therapists; pre and post run medical services; free injury screening; video gait and form analysis; lectures on recovery.

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Travis is an APTA Board Certified Orthopedic Specialist.  He also has advanced manual therapy training from the North American Institute of Orthopedic Manual Therapy.  In 2015 Travis was selected as one of three therapists nationally to participate in the prestigious Kevin Wilk Sports Travel Fellowship. His passion for sports medicine and scientific research is highlighted through over 10 publications, including 5 peer reviewed articles. He is an endurance specialist, published in both Triathlon and Running magazines.  He is also an accomplished Ironman and Boston Marathon qualifier.

Learn more about Athletico’s Endurance Rehabilitation Services


Segment Two (10:33): Bulls point guard Kris Dunn suffered an open dislocation of his left index finger during Chicago’s 114-101 preseason win over the Milwaukee Bucks, head coach Fred Hoiberg said. Dunn hurt his finger after trying to contest a dunk from Bucks shooting guard Sterling Brown. Dr. Cole explains the protocol in treating this type of injury and the fast work by his medical team to minimize the damage and pain.

An upbeat Kris Dunn addresses his future after finger injury


Segment Three (19.36):  Dr. Doug Adams PT, DPT, SCS, OCS, CSCS for ATI Physical Therapy discusses Post Marathon Recovery:

  1. What Happens to the body after marathon?
  2. How long does it take to recover?
  3. What can a runner do to speed up the recovery process?
  4. When should someone return to running after a marathon?

Dr. Doug Adams is a residency trained Physical Therapist with dual Board Certified Specialties in sports and orthopedics. Doug treats a largely athletic population from Olympic level to weekend warrior, with a focus on runners and triathletes. He created Trace3D, which is a portable 3D Motion Analysis System that is one of the first systems to allow access to 3D biomechanical data for athletes outside of a research or professional sports setting.

Doug also frequently lectures on sports medicine topics both locally and nationally, with multiple peer-reviewed publications. Doug is an Advisory Board Liaison and treats patients in Wilmington, DE for ATI Physical Therapy and is the Co-Founder of a Continuing Education Company called Association of Clinical Excellence.

See our Related ATI post: Tips for a Healthy Post-Marathon Recovery