Physical Activity vs. Exercise

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Whether you believe it or not there is a distinct difference between what is classified as physical activity and what is considered exercise. Exercise is performing a repetitive movement or activity for a set number of times or time period to achieve a certain goal. Physical activity would be regarded as  really anything else that requires motion. Examples of exercise include lifting weights, running, cycling, swimming and so on and so forth. Examples of physical activity include mowing the lawn, walking the dog, working in the garden, and cleaning the house. Both of these groups of activities do “burn calories” but your body needs exercise. It is great to be physically active in your life but it is not enough to get you and your body where you want to be. You hear people say, ” I worked in the yard today I don’t need to work out. ” This is not true, your body needs the benefits that only comes with exercise.  This structure allows you to make gains and increase your fitness level. None of the activities considered to be physical activity burn as many calories as you would doing exercise. Furthermore, which is most important, your body does not receive the same physiological benefits from physical activity that it receives from exercise. Physical activity does not have the ability to lower your blood pressure, blood sugar levels, cholesterol or lose weight and muscle. Exercise has the capabilities to change these health factors. Now I am saying not to be physically active, because you should. But what I am saying is that you should not replace exercise with physical activity, you really should have both.  There are people that are on their feet and walk all day and they use this as their “exercise.” If you have a job where you are on your feet all day and are constantly moving, it is not considered exercise. Your fitness level changes during the first couple weeks to become adjusted to this new activity, after that your body gets used to it and it loses its effects. Like I have said in previous posts, if you do the same thing your body will be the same. Exercise has the ability to change its variables, which constantly causes the body to change and adapt. Physical activity does not have this attribute which just further proves the point that it can not replace exercise.  

To sum it up there is a difference between physical activity and exercise. Exercise is designed to achieve a specific goal through a repetitive movement or activity. Physical activity involves other activities that involve movement that do not obtain the same physiological benefits. It is important to be physically active but it should not be done in replace of exercise. If you have any questions or comments regarding any of this information please do so below. 


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