Physical Activity Versus Exercise

Min Naruki-van Velzen, MSc, discusses the differences between physical activity and exercise.

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Min Naruki-van Velzen, MSc, discusses the differences between physical activity and exercise.
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Featuring Min Naruki-van Velzen, MSc, Cardiac Rehabilitation Specialist, Athletic Therapist

Duration: 2 minutes, 1 second

Physical activity is every form of physical motion you make throughout the day, so for example, walking to the bus stop on the way to work is physical activity.

However, in the evening if you walk that same distance to help out with your weight, or perhaps control your blood pressure, that is purposeful physical activity for the purpose of being healthier, and we call that exercise.

So I think it’s important to keep in mind that, to be more physically active in general, and not necessarily to be focused on just the exercise. So if you can add in more activity by walking to work instead of commuting by car or bus, or by doing more active things around the house with your family, enjoying walks outside.

All those types of things will increase your physical activity without exercise, and this is particularly helpful for people who can’t stand exercise.

Quantifying exactly how physically active you are is important I think, to get an idea of exactly where you fit. Are you an active person, are you an inactive person? And the best way to quantify how active you are is to wear a pedometer.

Pedometers are fairly cheap devices that you can buy at your local pharmacy or sporting goods store, and essentially all they do is count the steps that you take throughout the day. And it’s important to wear the pedometer from the time you wake up to the time you go to bed.

What we’re targeting is about 10,000 steps per day for health. If you’re serious about losing weight, though, the step count does have to be higher – probably 12 and a half thousand steps or higher. And that is a lot of physical activity, but then again, losing weight is not an easy endeavour, either. So again, 10,000 steps for health, 12 and a half thousand steps or more for weight management.

If you’re interested in a weight management program, talk to your doctor about resources available to you in your community. Also, check out your local dietitian, nutritionist, kinesiologist, or personal trainer, to get a physical activity nutrition program that works for you on your road to managing weight.

Presenter: Mr. Min Naruki-van Velzen, Athletic Therapist, Vancouver, BC

Local Practitioners: Athletic Therapist

This content is for informational purposes only, and is not intended to be a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified healthcare professional with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.