What is Physical Activity benefits difference with physical exercise

Physical Activity

Physical activity , according to the World Health Organization (WHO), is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure . Physical activity encompasses all day-to-day movements. This includes during leisure time, transportation to and from places or work . Adding a moderate to vigorous intensity helps treat health problems and contributes to disease prevention for those who have exercised.

For adults, WHO recommends the practice of intense physical activity of 75 to 150 minutes per week or moderate. And from 150 to 300 minutes, when there are no contraindications. Science proves that regular physical activity improves health. 

It causes a sense of well being, preventing and controlling heart disease , stroke, diabetes and various types of cancer . However, if you are a sedentary person , the ideal is to seek medical advice before starting a regular practice of physical activity .

Benefits of physical activity

Have you ever stopped to think what physical activity prevents? Check out some benefits below.

1. It’s good for mental health

Any physical activity can improve mood and relieve symptoms of depression, anxiety and stress . Moving regularly helps increase the brain’s sensitivity to the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine . They alleviate feelings of depression, and the production of endorphins , which are known to help produce positive feelings and reduce the perception of pain.

2. Helps you lose or maintain your ideal weight

Anything goes for healthy weight loss : 

  • Go up and down stairs
  • Take a walk around the block
  • Play with your dog in the park
  • cleaning at home

These methods help speed up metabolism and burn calories, favoring the weight loss process.

3. Strengthens the muscles

As you age, your body loses muscle mass and function, which can result in injury. Therefore, practicing physical activity regularly is essential to reduce muscle loss and maintain strength over the years.

4. Increases energy

Practicing physical activity or physical exercises is very important to keep energy up there! One study found that six weeks of regular exercise reduced feelings of fatigue in 36 healthy people who reported persistent fatigue.

5. Reduces the risk of chronic or non-chronic diseases

According to studies , lack of regular physical activity is the main cause of chronic diseases such as diabetes and hypertension . On the other hand, the practice of physical exercises improves insulin sensitivity, cardiovascular fitness and body composition. These factors help regulate blood pressure and blood fat levels.

Furthermore, two surveys revealed a significant correlation between physical activity at the end of life and increased levels of presynaptic proteins. Kaitlin Casaletto, a neuropsychologist who worked on both studies, says the results support the hypothesis that maintaining synaptic health in old age may be the key to avoiding dementia.

6. Improves skin health

Oxidative stress is a phenomenon that occurs when the body’s antioxidant defenses fail to completely repair the damage caused by free radicals in cells. This can damage our internal structures and is directly reflected in the appearance of the skin.

While intense and strenuous physical activity can contribute to oxidative damage, a moderate amount of exercise increases the body’s production of natural antioxidants. These are the substances that help protect cells from premature aging.

7. Helps you sleep better

Energy expenditure during physical exercise stimulates recovery processes during sleep. In addition, the increase in body temperature that occurs during exercise is believed to improve sleep quality. Thus, helping our body in better thermal regulation while we sleep.

8. Reduces and relieves chronic pain

Chronic pain can be debilitating, but exercise can help reduce it. For many years, the recommendation for treating chronic pain was rest and inactivity. However, recent studies show that regular physical activity actually helps relieve chronic pain.

Are physical activity and physical exercise different?

Physical activity is any bodily movement that promotes energy expenditure greater than if the body were at rest. Physical exercise, on the other hand, is a more planned and structured physical activity according to a goal. Did not understand? So, check out an example that happens a lot.

Pedro needs to reconcile his formal work with domestic tasks, so he doesn’t have much time to attend the gym or crossfit classes. He comes home tired after a day at work, but he always takes advantage of a few moments on the weekend or days off to dust the furniture, clean the floor, wash the dishes, etc.

Pedro performs physical activities every week, as the effort to complete household chores results in energy expenditure for his body, not to mention all the things he struggles with when going to and from work. However, due to lack of time, Pedro does not perform physical exercises.

What is physical exercise?

Physical exercise is a well-structured activity, with a systematized sequence of body movements, which are performed with a specific objective. It is a repetitive practice, which usually needs to be monitored by a professional, as it involves intensity, duration and other factors that vary according to the person’s physical state.

Because they are repetitive, physical exercises cause the increase of muscles and the reduction of body weight more quickly, when compared to physical activities. In addition, they also improve the capacity of the cardiovascular system, reduce blood pressure , prevent the onset of diabetes and other diseases associated with a sedentary lifestyle.

Some very common physical exercises:

  • swimming;
  • fitness;
  • soccer;
  • daily walks;
  • workout at the gym;
  • crossfit.

The practice of physical exercises requires a little more attention and planning, compared to the practice of physical activities. It’s important, for example, to look for exercises aligned with each one’s lifestyle , so that the schedule doesn’t interfere with other routine commitments. This is essential to keep the body active regularly and, only then, to obtain health benefits.

Difference between physical activity and physical exercise

Physical activity is characterized by any bodily movement made by skeletal muscles when they are above the resting level. Hiking, sweeping the house, walking the dog, playing, etc. are considered physical activities.

Physical exercises, on the other hand, present a sequence of systematic movements that aim to work specific parts of the body more intensely. Bodybuilding, push-ups and sit-ups are some examples of specific physical exercises.

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