Tag Archives: Physical Activity

  • -

Physical Activity vs. Exercise: What’s the Difference?

Tags : 

Physical Activity vs. Exercise: What’s the Difference?

Source: Fit Life

Originally posted: June 3, 2015

Group of mature people stretchingHow did you spend your last 24 hours? What do you do during a typical 24-hour weekday? Take a few moments and divide up those 24 hours and reflect on how you typically spend that time. How many hours did you spend sleeping? How many hours did you spend sitting down (don’t forget the times you sit in the car, while you eat, etc.)? How many hours did you spend moving?

Once you have completed your 24-hour self-reflection activity, think more specifically about your movement time. What type of movement did you do? What was the intensity and intentionality of that movement?

Over the past few decades, Americans have heard over and over that a minimum of 30 minutes of daily exercise is essential to good health. However, the latest research suggests that how much time we spend sitting could be just as important as how much time we spend exercising. In fact, a new term has been coined to describe those who exercise, but spend the majority of their days being sedentary: active couch potatoes.

While the term couch potato usually refers to a lazy person who prefers to just sit around and watch TV, an active couch potato refers to someone who is inactive for the majority of the day, but regularly makes sure to get in 30 minutes of exercise on most days. An active couch potato is not necessarily lazy, but spend most of his or her time sitting during leisure time, work (and commuting to and from work) and while eating meals. In other words, they’re almost completely physically inactive throughout the day, with the exception of that 30 or minutes of daily exercise. Although 30 minutes of exercise is absolutely beneficial and healthful, the rest of the day is causing tremendous health hazards. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) has identified physical inactivity as an independent risk factor for chronic disease development, and it is now the fourth leading cause of death worldwide.

So, exactly how do we differentiate between exercise and being physically active? And is the distinction important? Here are some definitions that should help clear things up:

 

Physical activity is movement that is carried out by the skeletal muscles that requires energy. In other words, any movement one does is actually physical activity.

Exercise, however, is planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement intended to improve or maintain physical fitness. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity.

Research provides significant evidence that ALL physical activity positively contributes to overall health and well-being. Exercise also assists with the improvement of physical fitness, which consists of five specific components:

-Cardiorespiratory fitness

-Muscular strength fitness

-Muscular endurance fitness

-Flexibility fitness

-Body composition

This graphic from the American Institute for Cancer Research visually depicts the importance of both daily physical activity AND structured exercise (in relation to cancer indicators). Here, the green reflects structured exercise, while the yellow reflects daily physical activity.

Source: American Institute for Cancer Research

How Can You Become More Physically Active?

blog-fitlife-060315-1An easy way to start transforming a sedentary lifestyle into a more active one is to begin standing more and sitting less. If you work at a desk all day, create a workstation that requires you to stand (and therefore move more). Think about creating opportunities to walk at lunchtime and before or after work. Consider adding leisure time activities to your weekly routines, especially those that involve the whole family, such as bike rides, hikes and walks around the neighborhood. What about your home? Do you enjoy gardening? Make time for it throughout the week instead of leaving it all to the weekend. And instead of dedicating just one day every other week to clean, try to include daily active chores that take 10 minutes or less. When you engage with technology, creatively think about how you can move. Try placing some simple equipment like a yoga mat or resistance ball or resistance bands in your living room so they are easily accessible while watching TV. There are countless opportunities to increase daily physical activity, but you do have to look for them.

As you evaluate your 24-hour activity reflection, consider making a detailed plan that includes both elements:

1. Daily increased physical activity

2. Structured, planned, intentional exercise to improve physical fitness

Omitting one or the other can have serious and detrimental consequences for your health, fitness and overall well-being. Don’t be a couch potato or an active couch potato—make the change today and add BOTH elements to your life to reap the life-changing benefits of physical activity and exercise.

 

About the author: Dominique Wakefield

N326971Dominique Wakefield is a passionate, energetic and innovative health and fitness expert, ACE Certified Personal Trainer, NWI Certified Wellness Practitioner, ACSM credentialed EIM-1, presenter and writer. Currently, she is Director for University Health and Wellness and Faculty for Public Health, Nutrition & Wellness at Andrews University in Berrien Springs, MI.


  • -

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide

Tags : 

Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging

Source: National Institute on Aging

This was such a great post I had to repost it here on HealthBleep.

 

Introduction

 

Welcome to Exercise & Physical Activity: Your Everyday Guide from the National Institute on Aging! The National Institute on Aging (NIA) is part of the National Institutes of Health, and the goal of our research is to improve the health and well-being of older adults.

Like most people, you’ve probably heard that physical activity, including exercise, is good for you. If you’re already active, keep it up. It may even be time to push yourself a little harder, try a new activity, or find new ways to add exercise to your daily life.

Don’t worry if you’ve never exercised, or if you stopped exercising for some reason. Let us help you get moving. By picking up this book and looking through it, you’ve taken an important first step toward good health.

 

Why Is Physical Activity Such a Big Deal?

 

Prevent Injuries while AgingRegular exercise and physical activity are important to the physical and mental health of almost everyone, including older adults. Being physically active can help you continue to do the things you enjoy and stay independent as you age. Regular physical activity over long periods of time can produce long-term health benefits. That’s why health experts say that older adults should be active every day to maintain their health.

In addition, regular exercise and physical activity can reduce the risk of developing some diseases and disabilities that develop as people grow older. In some cases, exercise is an effective treatment for many chronic conditions. For example, studies show that people with arthritis, heart disease, or diabetes benefit from regular exercise. Exercise also helps people with high blood pressure, balance problems, or difficulty walking.

One of the great things about physical activity is that there are so many ways to be active. For example, you can be active in short spurts throughout the day, or you can set aside specific times of the day on specific days of the week to exercise. Many physical activities—such as brisk walking, raking leaves, or taking the stairs whenever you can—are free or low cost and do not require special equipment. You could also check out an exercise video from the library or use the fitness center at a local senior center.

This guide shows you many types of exercise and physical activity. It also has lots of tips to help you be active in ways that suit your lifestyle, interests, health, and budget, whether you’re just starting out, getting back to exercising after a break, or fit enough to run a 3-mile race. It’s for everyone—people who are healthy and those who live with an ongoing health problem or disability.

 

What’s the Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise?

 

Both terms refer to the voluntary movements you do that burn calories. Physical activities are activities that get your body moving such as gardening, walking the dog, raking leaves, and taking the stairs instead of the elevator. Exercise is a form of physical activity that is specifically planned, structured, and repetitive such as weight training, tai chi, or an aerobics class.

Physical activity and exercise are both important and can help improve your ability to do the everyday activities you enjoy.(See Exercise and Everyday Activities Go Together on page 15.)

The bottom line? There are many ways to be active every day. Find something you enjoy doing, include it in your regular routine, and try to increase your level of activity over time.

 

Make It A Priority

 

Being active and exercising regularly can change your life. See how Greta has benefited from regular exercise:

 

“At age 67, I’m in the best physical condition of my life. Two years ago, I joined a low-impact aerobics class at a nearby senior center. The entire routine is done to music, planned and led by an instructor. My balance has improved greatly, and my osteoporosis has remained stable.”

 

Elderly man travels in wildlife. Portrait of the gray-haired traveler in background of the landscape. Old photographer enjoys traveling and photographyThis guide can help you take charge of an important part of your health. You may want to read through the entire book first to learn about the benefits of exercise and physical activity, and to find out how to get started, reduce your risks, and reward your progress. Then, keep it handy so you can refer to the sample exercises and use some of the charts at the back of the book to record your activities. From time to time, you may need to check the tips for getting back on track if there’s a break in your routine or the tips for healthy eating. Throughout the guide, you’ll find personal stories that we hope will inspire you to be more active every day.

 

 

 

Chapter 1: Get Ready talks about the “why” of exercise and physical activity. It tells you the benefits of being active and describes the different types of exercise.

Chapter 2: Get Set guides you on getting organized and reviewing your current activity levels, setting short- and long-term goals, and creating a realistic plan for becoming active over time.

Chapter 3: Go! is all about the “how.” The guide offers tips to help you get started. It also has ideas to help you stick with your decision to be active every day and to get you back on track if you have to stop exercising for some reason.

Chapter 4: Sample Exercises gives you some specific activities and exercises, including exercises to increase your strength, improve balance, become more flexible, and increase endurance. All of the exercises have easy directions to help you do them safely.

Chapter 5: How Am I Doing? offers you some ways to test your progress and reward your success.

Chapter 6: Healthy Eating briefly discusses another key to good health—nutritious eating habits.

Chapter 7: Keep Going includes worksheets to keep track of your progress and answers to frequently asked questions about exercise and physical activity for older adults. You’ll also find a list of resources for more information. Some of the resources are especially for people with specific health problems or disabilities who want to be active. In addition, there’s a form you can fill out and send us after you’ve been active for at least a month. We’ll send you a certificate from the National Institute on Aging to recognize your commitment to improve your health.

 

Get More Info Here

Visit Go4Life, our online exercise and physical activity campaign, for a sample workout, exercise videos, motivational e-cards, printable tip sheets, success stories, tracking tools, virtual coaches, and more.