Home HSE Articles Exercise vs Physical Activity; Does It Mean The Same Thing?

Exercise vs Physical Activity; Does It Mean The Same Thing?


Does Exercise And Physical Activity Mean The Same Thing?

We have different views on this, but in this article Exercise vs Physical activity, we will get cleared.

Exercise and Physical activity are terms that describe different concepts. However, they are often confused with one another, and the terms are sometimes used interchangeably.

Physical activity is defined as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in energy expenditure. The energy expenditure can be measured in kilocalories. Physical activity in daily life can be categorized into occupational, sports, conditioning, household, or other activities. Exercise is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness. Physical fitness is a set of attributes that are either health- or skill-related. The degree to which people have these attributes can be measured with specific tests. These definitions are offered as an interpretational framework for comparing studies that relate physical activity, exercise, and physical fitness to health.


Read Also: 61 Very important benefits of exercise


Also, according to the American College of Sports Medicine and the American Heart Association the following are definitions of physical activity, exercise, and cardiovascular exercise respectively:

  • Physical activity is any movement that is carried out by the muscles that require energy. In other words, it is any movement a person does.
  • Exercise is, by definition, planned, structured, repetitive and intentional movement. Exercise is also intended to improve or maintain physical fitness.

Physical Activity And Exercise In Our Daily Lives

In our daily lives, we do a lot of physical activity like walking in the grocery store and pushing the cart, gardening, and carrying the laundry basket to the washer. These are common examples, while some examples for exercising are intentionally going for a walk every day, doing a group workout, or even walking your dog.


Read Also6 Safety tips of jogging you should always apply


Research shows significant evidence that all physical activity contributes to overall health and wellbeing, and that exercise assists with the improvement of physical fitness. While doing only one of these can be beneficial, the combination of both brings the greatest impact on our health.

While there are a great number of physical and mental benefits of exercise and physical activity, perhaps the most impactful is the strengthening of the cardiovascular system. Exercise physiologists such as those at Intensive Cardiac Rehab at Cardiovascular Institute of the South can help patients fully reap these benefits by providing detailed exercise instructions that are safe, effective, and based on your individual needs.

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

NOTE: Not all physical activity is exercise. Exercise is considered planned, structured and purposeful physical activity. The goal of exercise is to increase physical fitness.



  • Exercise is shown to reduce the risk of recurrence of various cancers such as breast, colon and prostate cancer.
  • Exercise also reduces the risk of chronic disease such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis.
  • Exercise increases your physical fitness, which can improve your quality of life.


There are different types of exercise that serve different purposes.

Aerobic exercise

  • Involves repetitive movements of large muscle groups done for a longer amount of time
  • Improves cardio-respiratory fitness and body composition
  • Examples include walking, jogging, cycling and swimming

Resistance training

  • Involves movements with added resistance for a determined amount of repetitions
  • Improves muscular strength, muscular endurance and body composition
  • Examples include exercises with dumbbells, weight machines, kettlebells and resistance bands.

I believe the topic “Exercise vs Physical activity; does it mean the same thing?” has been cleared.

%d bloggers like this: