Physical Activity vs. Exercise

“I don’t understand. I am busy and active with tasks all day long, but I just can’t seem to lose any weight.”

A common misconception is that physical activity and exercise are one and the same. While these terms are often used interchangeably, there is a very important difference in the purpose and outcomes.

Physical activity is defined as the process of exerting energy for a task. Exercise is physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive for the purpose of conditioning the body. Exercise is prolonged physical activity that is of a higher duration than typical daily tasks.

Many of us get physical activity during working hours or at home with chores. During this time the heart rate is increased above the resting state, but only for a few minutes. We work hard for a short interval followed by rest, allowing the heart rate to lower again. Incorporating this type of physical activity into your day is encouraged and beneficial. However, when it comes to a goal of improving cardiovascular health or weight management, your body needs planned and structured exercise.

According to the American College of Sports Medicine, adults are to accumulate 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise each week. An example of this would be to ride a bike for 30 minutes for days per week. It is also acceptable to accumulate this in short 10-minute bouts throughout the week. More exercise, 300 minutes per week, is recommended to improve health status or to reduce body weight.

Adults should also incorporate resistance training to improve muscular strength and endurance. Increased lean muscle tissue boosts the metabolism so that the body burns more calories even in the resting state. Strong muscles allow you to more easily complete regular daily activities, reduce fall risk and create an appearance of a toned body.

The annual New Year, New You community wellness challenge begins Monday. Get your co-workers, friends, or family together and form a team to compete within our community for a healthier lifestyle. The challenge is a great opportunity to start or support your current personal wellness plan through motivation, accountability, variety and education.

Registration information can be found at http://www.jrmcnd.com or call the Jamestown Regional Medical Center Wellness Center at 701-952-4891 for details.

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