The Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise

Physical activity refers to the movements we make with our body that require energy. Since this is the basic definition of physical activity, quite anything we do other than resting our body can be referred to as physical activity. Anything like walking, dancing, pacing, jumping, spinning, or any other activity done by moving one’s body and expending energy are all considered physical activities.

Exercise, on the other hand, is the planned movement of the body at an increased intensity than normal.  Better still, exercise is the process of engaging the body in any activity at a greater intensity than your usual level of daily activity. Basically, exercises are done deliberately to maintain or improve physical fitness. Common forms of exercise are running, swimming, cycling, and a number of intensity sports like basketball, football, rugby, boxing etc.

What are some similarities and differences?

Technically, one could claim that exercise is also a physical activity and you would be right if you make that assertion. They both involve body movements and expending energy. However, in the event that you perform an exercise, there is a significant increase in your heart rate and there is also a substantial increase in muscle activity as your muscles get worked on.

Therefore, the main difference between physical activity and exercise is intensity. For example, taking a stroll around our Raleigh internal medicine facility is a lower intensity activity compared to jogging around the football field five times. Another major difference between these two is their different fallouts. Exercising your body helps to improve your cardiovascular fitness, and regular exercising reduces the amount of fat and excess weight in your body. The same cannot be said about engaging in the normal day-to-day set of physical activities.

At our internal medicine clinic in Raleigh, we incorporate a dose of both physical activity and exercise for our patients depending on their level of fitness and their immediate goals.

Even though these two are different, there may be situations where one may find it difficult to determine when the intensity of a physical activity is above normal and high enough to be referred to as an exercise. In this case, it is widely believed that any physical activity that can be performed while still being able to talk conveniently without stopping to catch your breath is not a vigrous enough of an exercise.

Patients at the internal medicine clinic in Raleigh are usually advised to try talking during their exercises to help them determine how intense they are going. As a result, you will discover that your level of fitness will is very important in determining when a physical activity is intense enough to be considered an exercise. What is an exercise for one person may not be intense enough to be referred to as an exercise for another.

On a general note, even though exercises are more effective, it is important to consciously incorporate a good amount of physical activity into your lifestyle. This is the reason why at our internal medicine clinic in Raleigh we stress to people with a very low level of fitness how moving more throughout the day is a great way to start improving their total physical fitness.

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