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Exercise Vs Physical Activity: Differences

Exercise and physical activity are crucial components of a healthy lifestyle. It is however, important for you to understand the differences between these two which can help you great with your health and fitness goals and also for better understanding of how to incorporate both, exercise and physical activity into your life.

Exercise Vs Physical Activity: Differences

Exercise, Physical activity and physical fitness are the terms that generally describe different concepts. However, these are usually confused with one another and these terms are at times used interchangeably.(1) But it is important for us to know the differences between them. Below we have discussed the differences between exercise and physical activity. “

Exercise Vs Physical Activity : Definition and Basic Differences

Exercise is defined as a subset of physical activity that is properly planned, structured, and repetitive, and it is an objective for improvement and maintenance of physical fitness. However, physical activity is actually defined as any movement of the body that is produced by body’s skeletal muscles and that results in expenditure of energy.

This energy expenditure can be measured in terms of kilocalories.(2) So, exercise is a properly planned, structured and purposeful physical activity; while physical activity includes any type of body movement that contracts body muscles so as to burn more calories than the body would usually do so just to exit at rest.

Exercise Vs Physical Activity : Differences Based On Their Impact On Your Health:

There is a difference between exercise and physical activity. Exercise is actually a subcategory of physical activity. While research have shown that all physical activity has got a positive impact on the overall health and well-being; exercise however, improves physical fitness which includes the endurance, strength, cardio-respiratory system, flexibility of the body and body composition.

It can be said that by performing planned or structured exercise several times per week one can have tremendous fitness improvements, such as cardio, strength and flexibility; however by being physically active one can lead a healthy life


Depending on your fitness goals, you might want to add either more of exercise or more of physical activity to your life. It is essential for you to consult with a fitness trainer and work on your fitness regimen for better health and wellbeing.


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Team PainAssist
Team PainAssist
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Team PainAssist, Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:July 22, 2019

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