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Physical Activity & Physical Exercise: Understand The Difference Between Them

You likely know about the benefits of physical activity, as well as the different types of physical exercises that can be performed, even if you are not a practitioner. However, do you know the difference between physical activity and physical exercise?

Both initiatives are essential for our health, as it is necessary to move for the proper functioning of our organs and to improve cognitive and mental functions. Therefore, it is inevitable that a sedentary lifestyle should not be part of anyone’s way of life.

Continue reading and understand the difference between physical activity and physical exercise.

What Is A Sedentary Lifestyle?

The urbanized way of life and comfort facilities have progressively reduced the demand for walking and constant physical effort. At the same time, it instituted forms of work in which tasks are, to a large extent, carried out with the person sitting for almost the entire duration of the journey.

These changes caused the body to become more and more accustomed to the slightest effort, introducing a habit that has taken over many people. It takes initiative to keep going and avoid falling into the trap of a sedentary lifestyle. But what is a sedentary lifestyle?

A sedentary lifestyle is characterized by the inertial tendency to avoid initiatives such as moving the body, exerting strength, walking, or carrying out work that requires physical effort. Thus, anyone who reduces, eliminates, or avoids practices such as physical activity or physical exercise is sedentary.

Whatever the reason for behavior of this nature, the costs can be high for the person’s health. In the case of companies, sedentary employees more easily suffer from disorders that limit their performance at work.

What Are Physical Activities And Physical Exercises?

There is a lot of talk about the importance of doing physical exercise and the need to adopt physical activities precisely because they offer a different response. Thus, in the opposite direction of a sedentary lifestyle, physical activities, and physical exercises continue. However, what do these concepts really mean? Follow along.

Physical Activity

Any movement you make, such as walking to the bus stop, sweeping the house, or climbing one or more flights of stairs, constitutes physical activity. It is, therefore, about moving when performing some action under any circumstance or condition.

In this sense, physical activity and health are well related: movement is essential for good health because it activates circulation and exercises the heart and the body’s muscles, in addition to consuming some calories. Thus, it is easy to get out of a sedentary lifestyle if you incorporate a series of physical activities into your day.

Physical Exercise

Physical exercise constitutes a systematic, repeated physical activity with a defined rhythm and duration. Specific objectives almost always guide it; that is, it is carried out with the aim of achieving a particular result or conditioning for the body.

Therefore, taking daily active walks, following a program of physical therapy practices, or playing a sport regularly constitute physical exercise. As it is easy to see, all training is a physical activity.

For purposes of effect on health, physical exercise can be much more effective than physical activities, as these are not oriented towards this purpose. This means that when sweeping a sidewalk, for example, the objective is to clean the sidewalk, and the activity may end in 5 or 10 minutes.

What Are The Main Aspects Of The Differences?

In general, the relevant aspects of the differences between exercise and physical activities can be listed as follows.

Physical Activities

  • Movements that are components of daily routines.
  • Duration only for punctual demand.
  • They are not directly related to the body and health.
  • They do not require professional guidance.
  • Typically, they do not require technique.

Physical Exercises

  • Planned, systematized, and repeated movements.
  • Longer lasting.
  • Directly related to the body and health.
  • Ideally, they should be guided by a qualified professional.
  • They almost always present their techniques for carrying them out.

Physical activities and physical exercise are essential for health. Both, like most movements, promote blood circulation and stimulate the heart, in addition to mobilizing the body’s muscles, preventing a sedentary lifestyle and its damage.


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