Definition of exercise in English:



  • 1mass noun Activity requiring physical effort, carried out to sustain or improve health and fitness.

    ‘exercise improves your heart and lung power’
    count noun ‘loosening-up exercises’
    • ‘The only advice is - no strenuous physical exercise for the rest of the day.’
    • ‘You've finally committed to an exercise regime.’
    • ‘Regular aerobic exercise is also important and should be considered when scheduling the amount of time dedicated to resistance training.’
    • ‘The course can be tailored to an individual's precise needs and looks at health, fitness, exercise and how to do it safely, and diet.’
    • ‘An hour's worth of prime time exercise greatly improves heart health.’
    • ‘She said swimming was an ideal form of exercise for improving health and helping people control their weight’
    • ‘Unfortunately this lack of vigorous physical exercise has resulted in an increase of various illnesses.’
    • ‘Heart patients in the district are among the first in the country to be helped back to health with exercise classes.’
    • ‘A change of eating habits, medication, along with exercise, has improved his health.’
    • ‘And when it comes to circulatory disease, regular, aerobic exercise is the best prescription.’
    • ‘You see, for most of my life I've considered myself a no-hoper when it comes to exercise; a physical jerk, if you like.’
    • ‘The physical activity and exercise programme will be based on suggestions from the community.’
    • ‘Trying to follow an extremely ambitious exercise regimen while traveling may not be realistic.’
    • ‘Prior to starting any exercise program, consult your primary care manager or specialist.’
    • ‘Patients attend the classes twice a week for six weeks doing activities ranging from arm exercises to using a treadmill.’
    • ‘Sport enriches life's experience, physical exercise improves health, and in this country we need far more investment in both.’
    • ‘Rest is very important and some mild regular physical exercises are very beneficial and can cure many people.’
    • ‘Women who walk or do other aerobic exercise on a regular basis have a lower risk of hip fracture.’
    • ‘Muscle strength was found to be a good predictor of exercise tolerance as well.’
    • ‘He takes part in national triathlon events - but it's the sheer physical exercise he enjoys as much as the competition, he insists.’
    physical activity, movement, exertion, effort, work
    View synonyms
  • 2An activity carried out for a specific purpose.

    ‘an exercise in public relations’
    • ‘The plans follow one of the largest public consultation exercises ever undertaken by the city council's education department.’
    • ‘Earlier this year the council undertook a public consultation exercise regarding modernisation proposals.’
    • ‘The Home Secretary unveiled plans to stage a series of exercises to test whether Britain was prepared for a terrorist attack.’
    • ‘Perhaps an exercise in work study/work measurement might not be out of order.’
    • ‘Consultation is more of a public relations exercise than a meaningful legal process.’
    • ‘Quality and service should not suffer in any way due to this cost-cutting exercise.’
    • ‘Unfortunately they closed it after 2 years and retrenched me as a cost-cutting exercise.’
    • ‘As well as an annual health and safety audit, it undertakes regular risk assessment exercises and monthly health and safety reviews.’
    • ‘Indeed, in September we were due to carry out a national exercise in radiation monitoring throughout the country.’
    • ‘He said he had brought the matter to the attention of the minister of Home Affairs to make arrangements to carry out a registration exercise in the area.’
    • ‘With both teams preparing for the start of the championship on May 1, this game was a useful exercise in showing there is a lot of work to be done.’
    • ‘The prime minister was poised to launch a damage-limitation exercise after losing a key referendum vote.’
    • ‘According to him, organising the project has been an exercise in determination and humility.’
    • ‘The initial set of modules is expected to be delivered by June 2003 for members to conduct tests and familiarisation exercises.’
    • ‘The rebranding exercise could cost as much as £30m.’
    • ‘Yet the whole affair was a displacement activity: an exercise in self-deception.’
    • ‘A cost-cutting exercise has resulted in two staff contracts not being renewed and a third is under review.’
    • ‘The organization is currently undertaking a wide-ranging consultation exercise with members on reform of the UK pension system.’
    • ‘The rivalry between the two bosses is viewed as a good public relations exercise.’
    • ‘So maybe the reason why they're not doing their homework is because they see it for the exercise in pointlessness that it is.’
    1. 2.1count noun A task set to practise or test a skill.
      ‘there are exercises at the end of each book to check comprehension’
      • ‘The hands are huge, but topped with long, fussy fingernails, and he practises vocal exercises to raise his voice.’
      • ‘Once in, we practised a few exercises (compass, orientation, cramp removal) and began our descent.’
      • ‘Pelvic floor exercises have been successfully used since 1948.’
      • ‘Today's teachers are told that drill-and-practice exercises on basic skills are not as important as was previously thought.’
      • ‘The classes varied from week to week in an attempt to give us a flavour of different exercises and skills.’
      • ‘As this is an exercise for increasing skill, don't set the jumps too high or they'll become a barrier to learning.’
      • ‘The active involvement of parents in discussions and skill building exercises were key elements of the course.’
      • ‘This Is Only A Test Simulations and tabletop exercises help CSOs practice and plan the best response for worst-case scenarios.’
      • ‘So it is only logical to practise oceans of exercises to master the tricks of gaining high marks.’
      • ‘After a multitude of prolonged tests and diving exercises, he was put back on active duty.’
      • ‘Study group volunteers were given training to learn and perform slow breathing exercises for 15 days.’
      • ‘If necessary, people should practise some eye protection exercises or use eyedrops if their eyes are tired, Yu said.’
      • ‘There is plenty of prose to explain the ideas, as well as many exercises to test what the student has learned.’
      • ‘Other techniques used in sports psychology to enhance performance include imagery, cognitive coping skills and relaxation exercises.’
      • ‘Sit in the middle of your yard and practice some deep breathing exercises.’
      • ‘Simple breathing exercises when practiced regularly can reverse a lifetime of bad breathing.’
      • ‘During these three weeks, the operators learn how to operate the RWS, and participate in a series of practical exercises to apply these skills.’
      • ‘Fans filled the Nat Lofthouse stand to watch the team practise passing and throwing exercises.’
      • ‘Relaxation and breathing exercises also help reduce anxiety symptoms.’
      • ‘Oh and yes, vocal warm-up exercises and warm tea help too!’
      task, piece of work, problem, assignment, piece of school work, piece of homework
      View synonyms
    2. 2.2often exercises A military drill or training manoeuvre.
      ‘training exercises with the Kuwaiti army’
      • ‘American army and navy forces will be holding joint training exercises in the Niger delta area.’
      • ‘A severe fuel shortage has limited the country's ability to conduct military training exercises.’
      • ‘Lt Cdr Tully said the annual three-day exercises were designed to test a ship's ability to operate both as a single unit and as part of a task force.’
      • ‘On field training exercises, combat soldiers will be out of touch (never mind sight) from loved ones for days.’
      • ‘His deployments, coupled with training and regular field exercises, mean that he has been away from home a lot, like most soldiers nowadays.’
      • ‘This is borne out by the results of research and experience in military training exercises.’
      • ‘When we first arrived, the road would be closed at times for military training exercises.’
      • ‘They were sent to a Royal Marines training camp for military exercises to stimulate team spirit, foster leadership skills and sharpen their ability to make swift decisions.’
      • ‘The American military has rapidly created new training exercises and manuals to incorporate lessons learned from deployments since the end of the Cold War.’
      • ‘The event originated in Hong Kong in 1981 as a military training exercise for the Gurkhas.’
      • ‘He provided tactical interrogation training support to the Regiment during field training exercises.’
      • ‘Indeed, in February the US conducted its first ever joint military exercises with Indian troops in India.’
      • ‘State officers will conduct joint training exercises and coordinate radio communications.’
      • ‘Pangnirtung was selected as the ideal spot for an exercise to test army skills in a remote area.’
      • ‘How often during training exercises or combat operations have we seen commanders able to employ only a fraction of the combat power in their command?’
      • ‘Money simply had not been spent in Finland prior to 1939 for many large-scale military training exercises.’
      • ‘Furthermore, squadrons frequently are attached to the Royal Marine Commandos to support their military exercises.’
      • ‘During the last decade, there had been dramatically fewer field drills and exercises.’
      • ‘Amongst other exercises, the navy practised the firing of cruise missiles, long-range rockets and torpedoes.’
      • ‘The new training facilities enable the crew to practise vital exercises without taking out the helicopter, which costs $3,000 an hour to fly.’
      manoeuvres, operations
      View synonyms
    3. 2.3exercisesNorth American Ceremonies.
      ‘Bar Mitzvah exercises’
      • ‘He returned to the topic of education in an address he gave in various versions at graduation exercises in the 1860s.’
      • ‘When I finished high school, I didn't go to graduation exercises, I went straight to serve in the army.’
  • 3mass noun The use or application of a faculty, right, or process.

    ‘the exercise of authority’
    • ‘It also prohibited the federal government from interfering with the free exercise of religion.’
    • ‘Should those rights at any time in the future be available for exercise, the applicant says it is the entity entitled to do so.’
    • ‘Then does the exercise of the power conferred by clause 8.5 necessitate such an addition or omission?’
    • ‘The thesis demonstrates the potential of divorce to threaten individual men's exercise of patriarchal authority and their masculine identities in very concrete ways.’
    • ‘This Amendment ensures the freedom of speech, press, assembly, and free exercise of religion.’
    • ‘But that would be a matter for that Court in the exercise of its jurisdiction.’
    • ‘It says Congress shall make no law establishing a religion or interfering with the free exercise thereof.’
    • ‘The exercise of critical judgment moves beyond the exercise of technical and practical judgment.’
    • ‘The singleness of the end contrasted with the multiplicity of means, allowed for the full exercise of human faculties.’
    • ‘I am not persuaded that this case merits such exceptional exercise of jurisdiction.’
    • ‘Thus America became the first nation to disestablish religion and to protect the free exercise of religion by law.’
    • ‘The exercise of these activities leaves the discretion of judicial authority and the free exercise of judicial power intact.’
    • ‘It wasn't until four years later that the First Amendment was adopted guaranteeing the free exercise of religion.’
    • ‘The high court has consistently defended the free exercise of religion as well as the right not to practice religion.’
    • ‘The section is commonly described as involving the exercise of a discretion.’
    • ‘This most fundamental exercise of Executive authority is binding on the courts.’
    • ‘His main burden seemed to be that in a just society there should be more room for the free exercise of religion in relation to higher learning.’
    • ‘Mary then suggests a few remedies to this ridiculous exercise of free speech by students.’
    • ‘He also attacked them for the exercise of predatory power over their smaller competitors.’
    • ‘Here are a few other cases going on right now where the ACLU is defending the free exercise of religion.’
    use, utilization, employment
    View synonyms


  • 1Use or apply (a faculty, right, or process)

    ‘control is exercised by the Board’
    ‘anyone receiving a suspect package should exercise extreme caution’
    • ‘The GMC had been asked for information but inquiry chairman Suzan Matthews decided it would speed the process if she exercised her legal powers.’
    • ‘So, we would submit that discretion should be exercised in our favour, for that reason.’
    • ‘They await judgement of the Federal Court as to whether they might exercise their rights to apply for asylum in Australia.’
    • ‘The court is not exercising jurisdiction over the merits of the dispute.’
    • ‘The view holds that even a law passed by Congress forbidding the use of torture doesn't apply when the president exercises his exclusive power.’
    • ‘We therefore find that, on the balance of probabilities, the options were validly exercised on 29 April 1996.’
    • ‘The banks stress they only exercise this right in extreme circumstances and would only take money from an account that was in credit.’
    • ‘Presidents in ordinary times have fewer opportunities to exercise what James MacGregor Burns has referred to as transformational leadership.’
    • ‘And the spokesperson said furthermore there are strict safeguards in the Bill to ensure the power is properly exercised.’
    • ‘States must take effective measures to ensure that all persons entitled to vote are able to exercise that right.’
    • ‘Being a water-borne disease, jaundice can be tackled if the people exercise enough caution in preparing and consuming food.’
    • ‘What remains important at this late stage is that everyone exercises their rights and votes on Thursday.’
    • ‘In so doing, it is argued, he was properly exercising his discretion under subsection 4.’
    • ‘Members of a disadvantaged group would merely exercise the option to join the privileged group.’
    • ‘The authorities exercised reasonable restraint in dealing with the situation.’
    • ‘If anything, you need to start exercising more caution, more restraint.’
    • ‘There is a strong case for ministers, not judges, to exercise emergency powers in extreme situations.’
    • ‘Since bankers can't guarantee a humongous first-day jump, professional investors are exercising more caution.’
    • ‘He said the court was only exercising its jurisdiction and functions and was not usurping the Parliament's functions.’
    • ‘Often such power is exercised more effectively in respect to foreign policy than domestic reforms.’
    use, employ, make use of, utilize, avail oneself of, put to use
    View synonyms
  • 2no object Engage in physical activity to sustain or improve health and fitness.

    ‘she still exercised every day’
    • ‘Try to exercise daily, finding pockets of time throughout your day.’
    • ‘Your endorphins don't really kick in until you've been exercising aerobically for 30 minutes.’
    • ‘How often are you able to exercise or do physical activity?’
    • ‘It's important to keep on exercising to sustain improvements.’
    • ‘Parents should be observant in their children's activities; playing, exercising, reading, etc.’
    • ‘The results of the study we conducted also indicated that the majority of people exercised because of their health, appearance, and most of all, because it felt good.’
    • ‘Does the thought of improved blood sugar control and better health motivate you to exercise?’
    • ‘Women who don't exercise during pregnancy become less fit.’
    • ‘A fitness buff from the beginning, he exercises vigorously for two hours without missing a day.’
    • ‘Now the player must find food to eat or he'll lose health and must also exercise constantly to keep in shape.’
    • ‘They were told to integrate the exercises in daily activities and to exercise in short sessions on several occasions during the day.’
    • ‘This is the time when you've got to exercise for your health, while not overdoing it.’
    • ‘Those who exercise regularly cite important physical and psychological payoffs.’
    • ‘In addition, people who exercise regularly may have increased needs for certain nutrients.’
    • ‘To make my workouts enjoyable, I watched TV while I exercised on the treadmill.’
    • ‘I believed most of my clients would not exercise without my physical presence.’
    • ‘I really should exercise on a more regular basis, before I play football.’
    • ‘You do not have to exercise at a high intensity to get most health benefits.’
    • ‘Exercise electrocardiography (stress test) may be conducted while the person exercises on a treadmill.’
    • ‘If you're exercising for your health, because it makes you feel good, and to boost your immunity, why work out when your body is telling you to rest?’
    work out, do exercises, keep fit, train, drill, engage in physical activity
    View synonyms
    1. 2.1with object Exert (part of the body) to promote or improve muscular strength.
      ‘raise your knee to exercise the upper leg muscles’
      • ‘Rather spend your money on your health: get a gym membership, hire a personal trainer or take an adventure holiday that exercises your body and excites your mind.’
      • ‘For the last 18 months the children have been exercising their legs, arms and even pulling faces in their gym class with a difference.’
      • ‘Two other key elements of the program, exercise your body and your brain.’
      • ‘Beyond exercising his body, he has been working on his New York accent too for the show.’
      • ‘I have to say it is indicative of a certain section of society who spend so much time exercising their bodies and so little their minds.’
      • ‘So much emphasis is placed on exercising the body these days, but very little thought is given to enhancing the senses.’
      • ‘Almost every part of the body is exercised, right down to flexing the toes!’
      • ‘Usually the circuit is completed twice so that each side of the body is exercised equally, and to enable you to try the second circuit at a higher level.’
      • ‘If you spend most of your free time in your house, chances are you aren't exercising your body - or your mind - enough.’
      • ‘This is why bodybuilders rarely exercise a body part (other than abs) more than once a week.’
      • ‘It felt wonderful exercising my body in this new way and little by little I began to gain some confidence as I acquired an understanding of a few techniques.’
      • ‘It's great to use your brain, but it's important to exercise your muscles as well.’
      • ‘The movements are almost geometrical and use parts of the human anatomy not usually exercised in day-to-day activities.’
      • ‘The new steps allow her to walk unaided into the water, where she can exercise her arms and legs while lying on a special mat to keep her afloat.’
      • ‘There is also growing support for the notion that exercising the body and the brain tend to preserve neurons.’
      • ‘He exercises different muscle groups each day, alternating between biceps and triceps and chest and stomach.’
      • ‘Swimming is a good option: the joints are exercised but your body weight is supported by the water, making injury less likely.’
      • ‘Not everyone can or wants to spend time exercising their body.’
      • ‘By the end of this session there were very few happy faces, as Mark Scanlon and Desi Foley fully exercised their legs - displaying immense strength, power and speed.’
      • ‘These turning and stretching movements work to release tension and therefore reduce stress - allowing every part of the body to be exercised without pain.’
    2. 2.2with object Cause (an animal) to take exercise.
      ‘she exercised her dogs before breakfast’
      • ‘I was exercising a horse early one morning when she suddenly reared and fell over backward.’
      • ‘The attack occurred when the claimant was off duty and exercising the dog on the fields adjacent to his house.’
      • ‘There are various ways to exercise dogs and horses and various ways to kill foxes.’
      • ‘You can always tell when somewhere suburban is pretty because it's full of people exercising their dogs and looking the other way when they foul the grass.’
      • ‘Park rangers patrol Bradford parks every day and so do police - even dog handlers exercise their dogs there.’
      • ‘A couple of weeks ago, Ann was out exercising her horse on the family farm when she was thrown suddenly by the animal.’
      • ‘Local dog owners used the canal bank to exercise their pets.’
      • ‘Stables also regularly use the wide expanse of shoreline to exercise their horses.’
      • ‘A Sunday newspaper reported that the incident happened in July when Anne, 52, and her husband were exercising the dog.’
      • ‘A friend has been exercising her horse, Izzie, which is kept at stables in Highworth.’
      • ‘However, NFH members say they will simply be exercising their horses and hounds and insist that the dogs will be called off if they start chasing a fox.’
      • ‘With many country footpaths and bridleways closed because of the epidemic, owners are finding it more difficult to exercise their pets.’
      • ‘Over the years many local residents have been using the disused track for walks, exercising their horses and dogs, jogging or just to admire the natural beauty of the area.’
      • ‘Sloping downward now, the street skirts the park where the professional dog walker exercises different pets each morning.’
      • ‘When Margaret called on Molly, she found her propped up in bed, staring out the window at the new riding ring where several old-timers were exercising the horses.’
      • ‘Dog walkers, who exercise their pets in the fields, have complained to the police, claiming substances at the site have poisoned their pets.’
      • ‘As with all juniors he would have started mucking out stalls and exercising the horses in the early hours of the morning.’
      • ‘Due to failing health, many owners are no longer able to exercise their dogs, which is where the trust would like News Shopper readers to step in.’
      • ‘But tourism officials say other chalet owners specifically book because an area of the sands is available to exercise their pets.’
      • ‘Dog-owners in the New Forest fear they will be prevented from freely exercising their pets if a new code of conduct comes into force.’
  • 3Occupy the thoughts of; worry or perplex.

    ‘Macdougall was greatly exercised about the exchange rate’
    • ‘If he was exercised about a threat, why not go meet it?’
    • ‘The theme of the artist and his almost magical powers is one that exercised him greatly throughout his career.’
    • ‘That's why they are so exercised about tiny pieces of evidence today.’
    • ‘‘I think they were exercised about my idea for a metallic roof,’ says Walker.’
    • ‘A lot of people get exercised about this, and it isn't even the biggest problem that results from property-tax funding of schools.’
    • ‘They are not exercised about these issues, or they might care a little bit, but not very much.’
    • ‘The members of the County Council are exercised about the problem of crime and drunkenness on our streets.’
    • ‘In his most recent works, the artist negotiates, afresh, the counterpoint between city and landscape, home and world, that has long exercised him.’
    • ‘But a recent flier suggests that the publisher might finally be a little exercised about the competition.’
    • ‘And it's clear that everybody was very exercised about the way they were conducted.’
    • ‘If only people would get so exercised about the effect of all this waste on the environment.’
    • ‘There is no right to refuse - doing so would be considered contempt for the court, something most judges are apt to get fairly exercised about.’
    • ‘Most Southern Baptists were exercised about the possibility but not excited.’
    • ‘A newspaper account mentioned that some men are exercised about the predominance of pink in her wardrobe.’
    • ‘It's rural people who are most removed from New York and DC who are most exercised about terrorism.’
    • ‘‘Jack has been constantly exercised about this issue since it arose,’ said the Whitehall source.’
    • ‘The admission of irrelevant evidence wastes time, of course, but parties rarely become exercised over the possibility that time might be wasted.’
    • ‘It's hard to get too exercised about capital gains, however, or any of the other issues that are present now.’
    • ‘The SNP, as it happens, is exercised about other outrages too.’
    • ‘Yet it's hard to get too exercised about the likes of Wilson.’
    worry, trouble, concern, make anxious, bother, disturb, perturb, perplex, puzzle, distress, occupy someone's thoughts, preoccupy, prey on someone's mind, gnaw at, lie heavy on, burden, make uneasy, agitate
    View synonyms


Middle English (in the sense ‘application of a right’): via Old French from Latin exercitium, from exercere ‘keep busy, practise’, from ex- ‘thoroughly’ + arcere ‘keep in or away’.