The Difference between Physical Activity and Exercise

Do You Know the Difference between Physical Activity and Exercise?

Both terms – Physical Activity and Exercise – 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 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.


In other words:

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.

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Physical Activity vs. Exercise Conclusion

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.

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