Physical Activity, Exercise and Sports – Differences and ROJoson’s Recommendations

What are the differences between physical activity, exercise and sports?
The terms physical activity, exercise and sports, are often used interchangeably. They are, however, different in some ways.

Physical Activity
Physical activity can be defined as any activity that involves some form of physical exertion and voluntary movements that burn calories. Such an activity causes a person’s body to work harder than normal.

Examples of physical activity range from gardening, dancing, walking the dog, shoveling snow and raking leaves.

Exercise also involves physical exertion, voluntary movements and burning calories. This form of physical activity, however, is specifically planned, structured and repetitive. It does not usually involve any kind of competition.

Examples of exercise include jogging, cross-country skiing, recreational swimming, cycling and aerobics.

Sports also involve physical activity and exercise but differ in that they also have a set of rules, or goals to train and excel in specific athletic skills. Some are individual sports such as golf and swimming. Others are played in teams — for example, soccer and
hockey. Sports are often, but not always, competitive.

When doing a physical activity, exercise or individual sport, it is usually possible to control factors such as speed, length of time, intensity and movements as needed for the protection of muscles and joints.

But with competitive team sports like basketball and contact sports like tackle football, it is difficult and often impossible to predict the actions of teammates and opponents. This generally results in more injuries and bleeds that can be very serious for any person.
Physical activity, exercise and sports provide numerous benefits for everyone, young or old.

Physical Benefits

There are many physical benefits.

Physical activity, exercise and sports help:
• develop strong bones and joints
• develop strong and flexible muscles (provides good support to the joints and reduces the risk of injury)
• keep in good physical shape (healthy weight reduces stress on joints)
• improve balance, reflex and coordination
• improve overall fitness
• promote healthy physical development


ROJOSON’s Thoughts, Perceptions, Opinions and Recommendations (TPORs):

  1. I like the above write-up which clearly shows the difference among physical activity, exercise and sports.
  2. Exercise and sports are special types of physical activity.
  3. To stay in shape, minimum is to have more physical activity than no physical activity at all.  Always have physical activity within the day.  The physical activity can be exercise and sports and any physical activity not classified under exercise and sports.
  4. If one goes for sports, make sure to modulate so as to prevent injuries and chronic debilitation from wear and tear.
  5. If one does not go for sports, I personally recommend doing exercise (specifically planned, structured and repetitive) on a daily basis on top of a daily regimen of non-sport / non-exercise physical activity.  The simplest and practical exercise regimen is a combination of walking and stretching -flexing.  Walking is recommended to be at least 30 minutes of continuous walking per day.  It can be and preferably, more than 30 minutes.  I personally continuously walk for one hour and 30 minutes or a 5-km distance every day starting 2019 (done this before circa 2015, resumed in 2019).  I have used the every other day frequency before. However, my experience is that I usually succumb to temptation to postpone my obligation to do my walking exercise. Now, I go for a daily frequency and have incorporated walking exercise as my daily routine, in the category of a must sleeping and eating meal routine.  Aside from the walking, stretching-flexing of body parts, joints and muscles, is recommended to be be at least 15 minutes.  It can be and preferably, more than 15 minutes.  I  personally do stretching-flexing exercise for at least 30 minutes, also on a daily basis, right after my walking exercise.
  6. A guide to follow on the duration of the exercise (say walking and stretching-flexing) is the minimum recommended duration per day and if one goes beyond the minimum, preferred, until a point of discomfort is reached.  If one has to increase the duration, one has to do it gradually.
  7. Aside from the daily exercise, I also like to recommend avoiding prolonged sitting as much as possible.  Break the anticipated long sitting duration by standing-up at least, for a few minutes at least, say 5 to 10 minutes.  Simply stand up to break the prolong sitting or do some short-duration physical activities like going to the restroom, going downstairs to take a drink, doing a 5-minute stretching-flexing exercises, etc.  Honestly, I have to confess, for the past 5 years up to now, I have not been very successful in accomplishing my resolution on avoiding prolonged sitting position. I have kept on resetting and refocusing on my resolution every now and then.  I will renew my resolution again today (19jul21).  I will have a timer or an alarm clock or watch beside me to call my attention to have a break every hour when I do computer work sitting down.



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