Physical Activity VS. Exercise

By Sarah Mengel l Accredited Exercise Physiologist
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I start to sweat just thinking about exercising? My legs are already aching thinking about walking up Liam Drive… is this you? Is it physical activity or exercise that we are talking about here?

Physical activity can be anything!  Exercise, on the other hand, is slightly different……  

Physical activity defined: any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure. 

Exercise is defined as planned, structured and repetitive bodily movements performed to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness.

Benefits of exercise:

  • Reduces blood pressure
  • Improves cholesterol levels
  • Improves blood glucose levels
  • Increases muscular strength
  • Increases muscular endurance/cardiovascular fitness
  • Increases bone mineral density (bone health)
  • Improves lung function
  • Improves cognitive function
  • Improves mental health
  • Improves sleep quality
  • Increases energy

When exercise is prescribed appropriately it can reduce pain from chronic conditions such as osteoarthritis, chronic pain, back pain, knee pain and shoulder pain.

MYTH!!! YOU have to set aside 30-60 minutes straight of your day to perform some sort of exercise. WRONG!!!

FACT: You will still receive the same benefits of exercise if you spread it over shorter periods of time throughout the day instead of doing it all at once.  In fact, there have been some thoughts that it could be more beneficial to break exercising into smaller portions through the day as it could reduce the amount of time individuals spend sitting. 

Everyone is unique and will respond differently to thinking about exercise/physical activity.  We need to figure out how exercise or physical activity best fits into our days and if we are someone who prefers working out all at once or over multiple sessions.