What is exercise?

Exercise is physical activity that enhances health and fitness. The term exercise encompasses healthful activities from the gentle, like walking or lifting light dumbbells, to the strenuous, like marathon running, speed swimming, or martial arts training. There are a great variety of exercises, and they convey many health benefits, including: weight control, prevention of disease (cardiovascular diseases, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers, for example), improving strength and flexibility, increasing endurance, aiding bone health, improving mood, and helping to extend life. People have used regular exercise for thousands of years to improve health. Exercise can lead to injury if it is overdone, or if too much is attempted too quickly, so it's a good idea to discuss taking up exercise with your healthcare provider. He or she can advise you on what may be a good plan and starting point for you. 

Continue Learning about Fitness

Meet Donovan Green
Meet Donovan Green
Meet celebrity fitness trainer Donovan Green, author of No Excuses Fitness, creator of the Chair Workout and our expert Fitness Group and Challenges L...
Read More
How does my weight affect the number of calories I burn?
F. Michael Gloth, IIIF. Michael Gloth, III
Your current body size affects the number of calories you will need for a given activity, as well as...
More Answers
5 Smart Ways to Exercise in the Heat
5 Smart Ways to Exercise in the Heat5 Smart Ways to Exercise in the Heat5 Smart Ways to Exercise in the Heat5 Smart Ways to Exercise in the Heat
Whether you're riding your bike or taking a swim, here's how to stay safe during your summer workouts.
Start Slideshow
How to Have a Healthy Commute
How to Have a Healthy Commute

Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.