Harvard doctor: These 5 sports are the best

If you think a marathon is the fastest ticket to a beautifully shaped and fit body, then I-Min Lee, a medical professor at Harvard's elite university, has some info for you: a long-distance run is not all that good, as you should think. Because while running, the joints are loaded, knee problems can be the result. Instead, in her "Harvard Medical School Report," she recommends five other sports that not only improve endurance, build muscle, protect joints, tone your connective tissue, and strengthen your heart and bones.

These 5 sports are the best

1. swimming

Swimming, the conclusion of the Harvard doctors, is the best workout. All muscle groups are trained, you lose weight, but also the joints are spared. Therefore, swimming is even suitable as a fitness program for people with arthritis. In addition, the heart rate increases during swimming, which in turn has positive effects on heart health. Regularly swimming for at least 30 – 45 minutes, according to the latest research findings, also helps reduce stress and prevent depression.

2. Tai chi

Tai Chi – also known as Tai Chi Chuan – is a Chinese martial art that combines a series of graceful, flowing movements to create a kind of moving meditation. The exercises require high concentration and conscious breathing, and the balance is strengthened. This makes Tai Chi a perfect workout for all ages, but especially for older people, for whom balance is an important part of their fitness.

3rd strength training

Whether you work with your body weight, elastic bands or dumbbells: with strength training, you build muscle. The Harvard physicians either recommend many repetitions with lighter weights or fewer with heavier weights. Two to three days of training per week would be optimal. Alternatively, you can also do HIIT. In High Intensity Interval Training you can completely power up in short units of just a few minutes. I-Min Lee: "The key to fitness, health is the consistency with which you do sports."

4. Go

It may not sound like a real sport – but walking has an extremely positive effect on fitness and health. Several studies suggest that walking for at least 30 minutes, even at moderate or slow pace, may be beneficial for brain function and body function. A recent study found that in adults 60 to 88 years of age, brain performance and memory improved after walking 30 minutes daily for four weeks. And a pilot study in people with severe depression found that only 30 minutes on the treadmill on 10 consecutive days were "sufficient to reduce clinically relevant and statistically significant depression".

5. Kegel exercises

Kegel exercises that train the pelvic floor are crucial for both men and women. As age advances, the pelvic floor muscles (including the uterus, bladder, small intestine and rectum) become weaker – which can lead to bladder weakness and other unpleasant side effects. According to the researchers, one should strongly tighten these muscle groups about four to five times a day and hold the tension for about three seconds. This exercise should then be repeated 10 times.