Physical activity vs. exercise?
Many New Years Resolutions include components that focus on improving physical fitness. People may plan to do this by increasing their physical activity or taking on an exercise plan. Making these lifestyle changes may seem overwhelming at first, but it is important to note the difference between physical activity and exercise. Physical activity includes any everyday activity, such as taking stairs instead of the elevator, housework, gardening, walking around the block, and stretching more, this will burn more calories than your body typically would at rest. On the other hand, exercise is defined as planned, focused, and structured activity with the purpose of improving fitness, burning fat and building muscle. Both physical activity and exercise have their merits, as their ultimate outcome is improving bodily wellness and increasing fitness.
The benefits of physical activity and exercise.
Benefits of increasing physical activity include increasing mental acuity and concentration, getting a better night’s sleep, building muscle, and increasing stamina. Regular physical activity also boosts your energy. More oxygen and nutrients are carried to the tissues and muscles as physical activity increases, leading to your cardiovascular system – the heart and lungs – working more efficiently without getting fatigued as easily. Further, physical activity and exercise are also a mood boosters. When you are active, it stimulates the release of neurotransmitters – chemical messengers in your brain – which can enhance mood, leading to feeling happier and more relaxed.
Exercise smarter, not harder.
Everyone starts somewhere when changing their lifestyle to focus more on physical health. It is important to start at a pace that you are comfortable with and build from there. Starting at a level that is sustainable for your energy level and abilities will help you build up instead of burning out. It is also important to pick a physical activity that you will find enjoyable so that it is easier to find the motivation to stick to it.
It is important to focus on preparing your body before increasing physical activity and exercise. Stretching to prepare your muscles and a warm up to get your heart rate up will make the transition into more rigorous activity. It is also important to pick an activity that will be beneficial to your body’s health. If you are dealing with an injury to your hips or knees, it might be better to start with a no or low impact activity such as swimming. It is also important to remember that exercise can be a “team” activity – finding a running group or shooting hoops with friends can get your heart rate up and working out with a partner will boost your motivation and accountability.
If you feel like any soft tissue injuries are limiting where you want to be in regards to fitness, don’t let that hold you back. Call into SF Custom Chiropractic at (415) 788-8700 to schedule an appointment to see if there is a functional or structural problem that can be treated with chiropractic care to get you back on the road to better health.
Be sure to post to our Facebook page this week to be added to the drawing for a one hour massage!