We all know that exercising on a regular basis is something that can help keep excess pounds at bay. However, it offers so many other benefits than just keeping your figure looking great. According to experts, having your regular dose of exercise can help lower the blood pressure and resting heart rate, reduce heart disease risk, and keep the joints strong and more resistant to pain and inflammation.
All exercises are physical activities, but not all physical activities are exercises. In this article, you will learn about the key differences between exercise and physical activity, so don’t stop reading now.
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Experts define physical activity as any movement that involves the contraction of the muscles. Just about anything that we do every single day that involves any part of the body can be regarded as a physical activity. Brushing the teeth, washing the dishes, sweeping the floor, watering the plants, typing on a keyboard, driving the car, carrying grocery bags — all of these are examples of physical activities that we do on a daily basis.
On the other hand, exercise is a specific type of physical activity in that it’s done for the attainment of fitness or any other health benefit such as reduced blood pressure and increased joint mobility. Bicycling, swimming, jogging, brisk walking lifting weights and playing tennis are some very common examples of exercise.
Needless to say, exercise can be any type of physical activity that is planned and purposeful. While some physical activities are also planned and purposeful, others are not.
What’s more, a lot of the physical activities we carry out on a regular basis are mild when it comes to intensity. In order for a physical activity to contribute tremendously to fitness and overall health, it has to be vigorous in a way that it increases both heart and respiratory rates — it should make your heart pump faster and cause you to breathe faster and deeper, too, before it can be regarded as a form of exercise and not just a simple physical activity.
According to experts, a physical activity has to be carried out for a certain amount of time before it can be considered as exercise. For instance, it is generally a good idea for anyone who is exercising to maintain the activity for not less than 15 to 20 minutes. This allows the individual to attain his or her target heart rate for the attainment of utmost benefit.
On the other hand, a simple physical activity such as dusting a shelf or folding clothes can be over in just a few minutes, and also it is usually not enough to cause both heart and respiratory rates to go faster.
How can one tell if a physical activity is something that can be regarded as a form of exercise when it comes to its intensity? Well, you can tell that you are getting your dose of exercise while carrying out a physical activity if you need to stop what you are doing after saying a few words because you need to catch your breath. But if the physical activity enables you to talk at the same time without problem, then it’s not giving you a good dose of exercise.
By the way, what’s regarded as mild for one may already be considered as vigorous for the other — it all depends on the person’s fitness level. For instance, someone who is used to leading a sedentary lifestyle may already be winded after just 5 minutes of walking, but that’s not enough for someone who is very fit to end up breathless.