“If you have a medical condition, are overweight, are pregnant, over 40 years of age or have not exercised regularly for a long time, see a health professional…”.1

Umbrella
What may the Physical Activity Umbrella include?

Depending on the Source (DotS) this Umbrella may include:

  • Active Living
  • Exercise
  • Fitness
  • Physical Activity

Physical Activity or Exercise

What is the difference between physical activity and exercise?

In Physical Activity the World Health Organization (WHO) elaborate on:

“The term “physical activity” should not be confused with “exercise”, which is a subcategory of physical activity that is planned, structured, repetitive, and aims to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness. Beyond exercise, any other physical activity that is done during leisure time, for transport to get to and from places, or as part of a person’s work, has a health benefit. Further, both moderate – and vigorous-intensity physical activity improve health”.2

Physical Activity

What is physical activity?

DotS the definition of physical activity may vary. The WHO’s definition is:

“WHO defines physical activity as any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure – including activities undertaken while working, playing, carrying out household chores, travelling, and engaging in recreational pursuits”.3

How Much

How much physical activity is recommended?

In Physical Activity: How Much Exercise Do You Need? the (United States) MedlinePlus elaborate on:

“The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans recommends that adults get a total of 150 to 300 minutes per week of moderate-intensity activity, or 75 to 150 minutes per week of vigorous activity. You could also meet this recommendation with an equivalent amount of combined moderate and intense activity. Muscle strengthening, also called strength training, resistance training, or endurance exercise, should also be done 2 or more days a week”.4

In Physical Activity: How Much of Physical Activity Is Recommended? Adults Aged 18–64 Years the WHO recommends:

Physical Activity

  • “Should do at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or do at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity
  • For additional health benefits, adults should increase their moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes per week, or equivalent
  • Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week”.5

In Physical Activity: How Much of Physical Activity Is Recommended? the WHO also include recommendations for Adults Aged 65 Years and Above.

On page 56 in Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition: Chapter 4. Active Adults – Key Guidelines for Adults the (United States) Department of Health and Human Services include:

  • “For substantial health benefits, adults should do at least 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes (1 hour and 15 minutes) to 150 minutes (2 hours and 30 minutes) a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Preferably, aerobic activity should be spread throughout the week”.6

Moderate-Intensity

What are examples of moderate-intensity amounts of physical activity?

In Guide To Physical Activity the (United States) National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute give Examples of Moderate-Intensity Amounts of Physical Activity for Common Chores and Sporting Activities.

Fitting In Fitness

How are women supposed to fit in fitness?

In Fitness: Fitting In Fitness: Finding Time for Physical Activity the (United States) Mayo Clinic explain how to fit in fitness at home and work out at work.

Incidental Physical Activity

What is incidental physical activity?

DotS definition of incidental physical activity may vary. The definition used by the (Australian) Department of Health is:

“Incidental physical activity is unstructured activity taken during the day, such as walking for transport, housework and the performance of activities of daily living”.7

In Physical Activity: How Much Exercise Do You Need? Build Physical Activity Into Your Regular Routine MedlinePlus explain:

“Simple lifestyle changes can make a big difference over time.

  • At work, try taking the stairs instead of the elevator, walking down the hall to talk with a co-worker instead of sending an email, or adding a 10- to 20-minute walk during lunch
  • When you are running errands, try parking at the far end of the parking lot or down the street. Even better, walk to the store or other nearby places
  • At home, do chores such as vacuuming, washing the car, gardening, raking leaves, or shoveling snow
  • If you ride the bus or other public transportation, get off 1 stop before your usual stop and walk the rest of the way”.8

Gym or Not

What if I am not a gym person?

If you are not a gym person the MedlinePlus explain:

“You do not need to join a gym to exercise. If you have not exercised or been active in a long time, start slowly to prevent injuries. Taking a brisk 10-minute walk twice a week is a good start.

Try joining a dance, yoga, or karate class if it appeals to you. You could also join a baseball or bowling team, or even a mall-walking group. The social aspects of these groups can be rewarding and motivating.

The most important thing is to do exercises that you can maintain and enjoy”.9

Health Benefits

Is there an association between health benefits and physical activity?

Yes. In Physical Activity the WHO elaborate on:

“Regular and adequate levels of physical activity:

  • Improve muscular and cardiorespiratory fitness
  • Improve bone and functional health
  • Reduce the risk of hypertension, coronary heart disease, stroke, diabetes, various types of cancer (including breast cancer and colon cancer), and depression
  • Reduce the risk of falls as well as hip or vertebral fractures; and are fundamental to energy balance and weight control”.10

Never Too Late To Start

Is it never too late to start physical activity?

Yes. In Physical Activity & Exercise the (Australian) Jean Hailes for Women’s Health (JH) explain:

“It’s never too late to become more physically active. Beginning or resuming exercise at any age will benefit your health.

Activity for 30 minutes on most days of the week will provide you with sustainable health benefits”.11

Health Care ProviderPhysical Activity

What if I am going to start doing physical activity?

If you are going to start doing physical activity, it may be in your best interest to choose to talk to your health care provider about this. In Physical Activity: Getting Started the MedlinePlus note:

“IMPORTANT NOTE: Talk with your health care provider before starting an exercise program if:

  • You have diabetes, heart disease, lung disease, or another long-term illness
  • You are obese
  • You have not been very active lately
  • You get chest pains or shortness of breath when you are active”.12

In Fitness: In-Depth – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity – The Bottom Line on Exercise the Mayo Clinic caution:

“Remember to check with your doctor before starting a new exercise program, especially if you have any concerns about your fitness, haven’t exercised for a long time, have chronic health problems, such as heart disease, diabetes or arthritis”.13

The JH also also caution:

“If you have a medical condition, are overweight, are pregnant, over 40 years of age or have not exercised regularly for a long time, see a health professional for medical advice before increasing your activity. They can refer you to an accredited exercise physiologist who can help you design an activity plan that is safe and helpful to your individual needs”.14

Health Topics A-Z

Where may I find Health Topics related to Physical Activity?

In Health Topics A-Z you may find:

Links

Where may I find Links related to Physical Activity?

Your Country may have Links similar to:

Sources

Where may I find the Sources quoted?

You may find the Sources quoted at:

Sources

  1. Physical Activity & Exercise: Starting An Exercise Program – Exercise Physiologists. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Revised: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 05 June 2020
  2. Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? 23 February 2018. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 05 June 2020
  3. Physical Activity: What Is Physical Activity? 23 February 2018. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 05 June 2020
  4. Physical Activity: How Much Exercise Do You Need? Review Date: 13 May 2019. Page Last Updated: 02 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 05 June 2020
  5. Physical Activity: How Much of Physical Activity Is Recommended? Adults Aged 18-64 Years. 23 February 2018. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/en/news-room/fact-sheets/detail/physical-activity Accessed: 05 June 2020
  6. Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, 2nd Edition: Chapter 4. Active Adults – Key Guidelines for Adults. 2018. Department of Health and Human Services https://health.gov/paguidelines/second-edition/pdf/Physical_Activity_Guidelines_2nd_edition.pdf#page=55 Accessed: 05 June 2020
  7. National Physical Activity Recommendations for Older Australians: Discussion Document – Definitions: Physical Activity – Incidental Physical Activity. Page Last Updated: 01 February 2011. Department of Health https://www.health.gov.au/internet/publications/publishing.nsf/Content/phd-physical-rec-older-disc~Definitions Accessed: 05 June 2020
  8. Physical Activity: How Much Physical Activity Do You Need? Build Physical Activity Into Your Regular Routine. Review Date: 13 May 2019. Page Last Updated: 02 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 05 June 2020
  9. Physical Activity: Getting Started. Review Date: 13 May 2019. Page Last Updated: 02 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 05 June 2020
  10. Physical Activity. World Health Organization https://www.who.int/health-topics/physical-activity#tab=tab_1 Accessed: 27 July 2020
  11. Physical Activity & Exercise. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Revised: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 05 June 2020
  12. Physical Activity: Getting Started. Review Date: 13 May 2019. Page Last Updated: 02 June 2020. MedlinePlus https://www.nlm.nih.gov/medlineplus/ency/article/001941.htm Accessed: 05 June 2020
  13. Fitness: In-Depth – Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity – The Bottom Line on Exercise. 11 May 2019. Mayo Clinic https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/fitness/in-depth/exercise/art-20048389 Accessed: 05 June 2020
  14. Physical Activity & Exercise: Starting An Exercise Program – Exercise Physiologists. Last Updated: 15 January 2020 | Last Revised: 17 February 2014. Jean Hailes for Women’s Health https://jeanhailes.org.au/health-a-z/healthy-living/physical-activity-exercise/ Accessed: 05 June 2020

Topic Last Updated: 10 September 2020 – Topic Last Reviewed: 05 June 2020
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