Think of exercise as “physical activity with some basic rules”. Exercise is designed to bring about a positive change. In other words, exercise results in increased strength, or endurance, or flexibility, or speed, or weight loss, etc. Walking isn’t “exercise” until you walk fast enough, long enough and often enough to bring about a change in your cardiovascular system. You must get your heart rate up enough to break a sweat. It is that simple.
Examples of EXERCISE are walking 30 minutes at a fast pace, lifting weights, whole body stretching, running on a treadmill, taking a fitness class, swimming laps at the pool, hiking a couple miles around the park, or jumping rope.
Examples of BEING ACTIVE include things like sweeping, cleaning, emptying the dishwasher, folding laundry, lifting boxes, walking to the road to get the mail, or getting groceries. Golfing while riding in a golf cart is very different than golfing while pulling your clubs behind you on foot.
Many Americans will visit their local doctor for an annual physical this year. The doctor will review their height, weight, pulse, heart rate, temperature, blood pressure, eyes, ears, nose, and throat. You get the idea. I wish doctors would start the visit by seriously asking “What did YOU do today for exercise?” It is never too soon to start the dialogue about the differences between exercising and being “active”.
How did YOU spend your last 24 hours? What exercise, if any, did you do? How many hours did you spend sleeping? How many hours did you spend sitting down in the car, at the computer, eating, watching TV, playing video games, etc.? How many hours did you spend moving?
Turn off the television, get out of the chair, back away from the table, go outside and exercise every day. Your heart will thank you!