Exercise: Are you exhausted and intimidated by just looking at that word? Especially for those unaccustomed to getting regular exercise, the thought if it conjures up images of sweat, discomfort, pain, boredom, embarrassment, and many other unpleasant thoughts. Experts constantly point to the importance of diet coupled with exercise to achieve weight loss goals. However, something that often gets left out of the equation that many are saying is just as important, as well as more enjoyable, than exercise is physical activity. But isn’t physical activity and exercise the same thing? The answer is kind of, but not really.
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.
So while going to the gym and lifting weights might be an exercise that can help improve your physical fitness, it is not the only form of physical activity that can provide important health benefits, and help you avoid a number of different chronic health conditions.
Luckily, physical activity is a very broad idea and can incorporate many different kinds of activities, some that we really enjoy. And so the idea of getting more physical activity doesn’t need to be accompanied with the same kind of dread that going to the gym might. Maybe you really love salsa dancing at family parties, or taking walks helps you to clear your mind. Think about all the things you love to do that require you to move your body and figure out how you can incorporate those movements into your daily routine. As you add more physical activity to your life, you’ll start to see the difference in your energy levels, body composition, and mental outlook… and then maybe exercising at the gym won’t seem that bad anymore!
For more inspiration on different kinds of physical activities that will get you off the couch and moving, check out our list of 10 Fun Physical Activities for Weight Loss!