To get things out of the way, let’s clarify the difference between what Physical Activity and Exercise is. These terms are often used interchangeably, but these terms are not synonymous. Physical Activity is defined as any body movement produced by muscle contractions that result in caloric expenditure. Exercise is a type of physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive body movements done to improve or enhance physical fitness.
The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommend participating in moderate intensity, physical activity for 30 min a day for 5 days week or vigorous intensity for 20 min a day for 3 days a week. The CDC recommends at least 2 hours and 30 minutes of moderate intensity aerobic activity and two, or more, days of a Strength exercise routine per week.
Evidence supports an inverse relationship between physical activity and exercise for the following …
IMPROVEMENT IN CARDIOVASCULAR AND RESPIRATION FUNCTION
- Increase max oxygen uptake
- Decreased heart rate and blood pressure at a given submax intensity
- Increased capillary density in skeletal muscle
- Increase exercise threshold for the accumulation of lactate in the blood
- Increased exercise threshold for the onset of disease signs or symptoms(e.g., angina pectoris, ischemic ST-segment depression)
REDUCTION IN CARDIOVASCULAR DISEASE RISK FACTORS
- Resting systolic/diastolic pressure
- Serum triglycerides with an increase in serum HDL
- Total body fat
- Insulin needs
DECREASED MORBIDITY AND MORTALITY
- Higher activity and or fitness levels are associated with lower death rates from coronary artery disease
- Higher activity and or fitness levels are associated with lower incidence rates for CVD, CAD, Stroke, Type 2 diabetes mellitus, metabolic syndrome, osteoporotic fractures, cancers and gallbladder disease.
- Decreased anxiety and depression
- Improved cognitive function
- Enhanced physical function and independent living in older individuals
- Enhanced feelings of well being
- Enhanced performance of work, recreational and sports activities
- Reduced risk of falls and injuries from falls in older individuals