If you want to improve your physical fitness, but you find the idea of exercise overwhelming, it may help you to know that exercise and physical activity are not the same thing; However, both are beneficial to your health. Most importantly, no matter what your current fitness level, you are able to improve your physical fitness—and, therefore, your heart health—by increasing physical activity and/or exercise as you are able.
- Physical activity is defined as movement that involves contraction of your muscles. Any of the activities we do throughout the day that involve movement — housework, gardening, walking, climbing stairs — are examples of physical activity.
- Exercise is a specific form of physical activity — planned, purposeful physical activity performed with the intention of acquiring fitness or other health benefits. Working out at a health club, swimming, cycling, running, and sports, like golf and tennis, are all forms of exercise.
Most daily physical activity is considered light to moderate in intensity. Keep in mind that there are certain health benefits that can only be accomplished with more strenuous physical activity. Improvement in cardiovascular fitness is one example. Jogging or running provides greater cardiovascular benefit than walking at a leisurely pace, for instance. Additionally, enhanced fitness doesn’t just depend of what physical activity you do, it also depends on how vigorously and for how long you continue the activity.
Ideally, an exercise program should include elements designed to improve each of these components:
- Cardio-respiratory endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
While it’s possible to address all of these fitness components with a physically active lifestyle, an exercise program can help you achieve even greater benefits.
Increasing the amount of physical activity in your everyday life is a good start — like parking a few blocks from your destination to get in some walking. However, to really achieve a higher level of physical fitness, you’ll want to incorporate structured, vigorous activities into your schedule to help you attain even more of your fitness and health goals.
Read more about this online at: http://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389?pg=2
If you are in the Las Vegas area and are considering bariatric surgery, schedule a consultation with Dr. Heidi Ryan. She and her expert team are ready to help you!