Should you do one or the other? Or both? How do you know which one you’re doing? And what makes them different?
All good questions. And all can be a challenge to answer.
Exercise IS activity. But activity is NOT necessarily exercise. For instance, you might be among those in the office that say this…
“Since I work at a desk all day I sit on a stability ball. It makes me feel like I’m doing something.”
“To be quite frank, I cannot see any advantage or reason for a person to be using an exercise ball as an office chair,” says Dr. Jack Callaghan, who holds the Canada Research Chair in Spine Biomechanics and Injury Prevention at the University of Waterloo in Ontario.
Dr. Callaghan and his team found no difference in muscle activity by sitting on a ball, chair, or stool. However, other research shows you burn up to 4 more calories per hour. Whoop-dee-doo-da!! You can practically burn that many calories by twiddling your thumbs for the hour.
Let’s try another…
“I use a pedometer and try and get 10,000 steps in by the days end.”
10,000 steps is a lofty goal. That’s somewhere around 5 miles throughout the day. So the question becomes, is running 5 miles at one time better than random steps throughout the day?
You must take into account speed, incline, intensity, heart rate, and other factors when determining the answer to that question. If you put all that down on paper then you will clearly see they are NOT equal. Because, activity is NOT exercise.
Parking further, taking the stairs, doing housework are all great ways to start being more active throughout your day. But that is very different than working all major muscles of the body for 20 total sets at 15 reps per set. It’s also different than riding the bike up and down hills at 85 RPM.
Activity is NOT exercise. Do you see the difference?
Playing basketball for 60 minutes sprinting up and down the floor and jumping every 15 seconds is a fun activity for a lot of people in America. But that is also a workout. The heart rate is up, legs are exhausted afterward and you feel like you’ve worked out.
Exercise IS activity.
Is this making sense? I hope so. If not, this could be a major reason why you’re not seeing results with your exercise program. Maybe you would benefit from working with an trainer or instructor.
Everyone should be active in their daily life. Walk the dog, take the stairs at work, play catch with your kids, work in the garden, and the hundreds of other things you could do to increase your activity.
But if you’re trying to lose weight and get in shape, you MUST be exercising. Specifically at the right intensity level with strength and cardiovascular training. Separate the two and you’ll be on your way to better results!