Please don’t fall into the mistake of confusing ‘activity’ with ‘exercise’. There is a huge difference between the two and knowing the difference is vital to your health and future well being.
Being ‘active’ is great and has many benefits, but the critical weight loss and health benefits only come from ‘exercise’. Exercise essentially means getting breathless and staying breathless for at least 30 minutes or longer at least 3 times a week! It requires ‘brisk’ movement. It is only at this level that you will get any noticeable weight loss benefits and the critical health benefits to heart, lungs, hormone balance, osteoporosis, cancer prevention and anti-aging that we all so desire.
I always tell people that if you can ‘walk and talk’ it is great for getting some news but not much good for your body!! A lot of people are ‘active’ – gardening, golfing, leisure walks, painting, bowling and doing stop/start laps of the pool etc. This will bring you some benefits like relaxation, slightly improved circulation, slightly improved joint function and such like but the truth is that the weight loss benefits are almost negligible and the health benefits are very limited. It doesn’t matter how much time you are ‘active’ even if you spend hours at it, just be aware that it is not enough to stimulate real change.
I am clarifying this because so many people are doing such activities and then are mystified as to why they ‘are not working for them’ and not helping them lose weight or improving their cholesterol or lowering their blood pressure. The bottom line is that such ‘activity’ is never going to do that because it simply does not provide enough of a stimulus for the body to change.
‘Exercise’ is much more challenging (remember you must get and stay at least mildly breathless!) and brings the real benefits. It is like an internal power hose that flushes out the debris and toxins, greatly improves the circulation, drives nutrients into remote body areas and challenges the bones and tissues to respond and get stronger and be more prepared for the next session. ‘Exercise’ is vital if you want to help with weight loss and lower blood pressure, lower cholesterol, reduce you risk of heart disease, reduce your risk of cancer and stimulate bone maintenance. ‘Exercise’ and not ‘activity’ brings anti-aging benefits.
So the next question is to ask yourself are you just ‘active’ or do you ‘exercise’. The expression ‘if you don’t use it you lose it’ is very true but what is more true is that you must use it at the right level!