physical activity vs exercise
Facts Health Care

Physical Activity vs Exercise: Understanding the Key Differences

Physical activity and exercise are two different things that are often mistaken about their meanings. Being physically active doesn’t necessarily mean that you exercise while exercising could mean that you are physically active. Confusing right? But don’t worry, we’ll talk about the real meaning of physical activity and exercise in this article. We’ll also provide examples of their differences. Whether you’re physically active, or exercising to build and develop muscular strength, monitoring fitness progress and keep track of your work out performance is useful.


So, What’s the Difference Between Physical Activity and Exercise?

Let’s focus on the meaning of the words to determine their differences. Like we mentioned earlier, their meanings have been jumbled over the years. That’s why people sometimes get confused when they talk about physical activity and exercise. Chances are, they may have mixed the meaning all up. To give you a better idea, here’s the definition of physical activity and exercise:

  • Physical Activity: The meaning behind the words physical activity is self-explanatory. Any type of movement that you do is considered physical activity. Whether you’re walking, running cycling, swimming, or building something with your hands, is regarded as physical activity. As in our example earlier, it doesn’t mean that you exercise if you are physically active. However, performing exercises is a type of physical activity. Physical activity refers to the actual act of moving that requires energy.
  • Exercise: The planning of repetitive physical activity to enhance or maintain a specific part of the body’s shape and functionality is called exercise. The movements are predetermined and are set to be repeated within a particular time-frame. That is how exercise is defined. As you can see, physical activity is your regular movements, while training is designed to be repeated.


The Benefits of Physical Activity and Exercise

Being physically active has its own set of benefits that are useful to your overall health and wellbeing. Studies say that all physical activities, especially if combined with exercise, are essential to your health. Being physically active alone is not enough to stay fit; that’s why fitness enthusiasts often recommend combining the two. Let’s talk about physical activity first.

PHYSICAL ACTIVITY is the perfect way to prepare yourself for exercise routines. Moving around to perform your daily tasks and not having somebody else do the chores for you, makes you the right candidate for training exercises. Your joints and muscles are somewhat ready for the tasks since they are always in motion. Compared to a person who is used to sitting around all day, a physically active individual has more energy to spare. Years of inactivity can take a nasty toll on the body, so, we recommend doing things independently. Now, let’s proceed with the exercise.

EXERCISE: There are many ways to exercise to keep your fitness level on top condition. There exercises to boost your cardio, and there are exercises to enhance muscular strength. The effectivity of exercising gets a dramatic boost with the help of exercise machines. Here are a few examples:

Cardio Exercise Machines:

  • Stationary Bike
  • Rowing Machine
  • Treadmill
  • Stair Climber
  • Elliptical Trainer

Cardio exercise machines are ideal for boosting your heart health and breathing capability. Although they are not designed to make your muscles more prominent, they are perfect for lean muscle development.


Strength/ Resistance Exercise Machines

  • Bench Press
  • Power Rack
  • Barbell
  • Dumbbells
  • Fly Machine
  • Pull-up Bar
  • Power Tower
  • Medicine Ball

The strength/resistance machines are perfect for bodybuilding. If you’re aiming to build a buff and well-sculpted physique, then these machines are the best for you.


Here’s a summary of the benefits that you can achieve with these machines:

  • Improved heart health and respiratory system
  • Improved range of movement and enhanced athleticism
  • Improved balance and stability
  • Improved joint mobility
  • Stronger physique
  • Weight-loss
  • Improved immune system
  • Better sleeping habits
  • Improved positive thinking
  • Promotes discipline and improves motivation
  • Relieves stress effectively



Now that you know the key differences between physical activity and exercise, you can start switching to a healthier and more productive lifestyle by combining the two. Always remember that being physically active gives you the energy to perform all types of exercises. Whether you’re trying to improve your stamina and endurance, or building muscles for competitions, physical activity and exercise are your best bet.

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