Did you know:
- Exercise is a form of physical activity,
- But physical activity does not require exercise.
What's the difference?
Physical activity is more than exercise
- Exercise is a structured program of activity geared toward achieving or maintaining physical fitness. It is actually a sub-category of physical activity.
- Physical activity is any form of exercise or movement of the body that uses energy. Some of your daily life activities—doing active chores around the house, yard work, walking the dog—are examples.
Both can include aerobic, flexibility, and muscle-strengthening activities.
Types of activity
Aerobic activities make you breathe harder and make your heart and blood vessels healthier. These include:
- Water aerobics
- Jogging and running
- Aerobic exercise classes
- Bicycle riding (stationary or on a path)
- Some gardening activities, such as raking and pushing a lawn mower
- Golfing (without a cart)
Flexibility-enhancing activities ensure a good range of motion in the joints. Loss of flexibility can be a predisposing factor for physical issues, such as pain syndromes or balance disorders. Gender, age, and genetics may all influence range of motion. Flexibility exercises include:
- Tai Chi or Qi Gong
Muscle-strengthening activities build up your strength. These activities work all the different parts of the body—legs, hips, back, chest, stomach, shoulders, and arms—and include:
- Heavy gardening (digging, shoveling)
- Lifting weights
- Push-ups on the floor or against the wall
- Working with resistance bands (long, wide rubber strips that stretch)
What is fitness?
Fitness includes cardiovascular functioning, which is improved by aerobic activities that get your heart and lungs working faster. It also includes muscle strength, flexibility, and balance. You don't need to get fancy, expensive equipment to improve your fitness. Walking is an example way to get physical activity that is available to almost everyone. Many house and garden chores can help build strength as well.
Did you know?
The Earl E Bakken Center for Spirituality & Healing (the creator of this website) is currently researching the impact of mindfulness on physical activity. We postulate that mindfulness can overcome barriers to exercise and help people gain the skills and motivation to improve their activity and wellbeing.
Check out our many mindfulness programs and resources, many of which are free and online.