Everyone wants to be physically fit—able to look, feel, and do their best. Many people think the only way to get fit is by exercising, but many studies report on the benefits of physical activity, which differs somewhat from exercise. Check out each term for clarification.
- Physical fitness: According to the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports’ publication “Fitness Fundamentals,” physical fitness is “the ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with energy left over for enjoying leisure-time activities and meeting emergency demands.” Physical fitness involves the performance of the heart and lungs, and the muscles of the body. And since our bodies affect our minds, fitness influences mental alertness and emotional stability.
- Exercise: Exercise is a structured program of activity geared toward achieving or maintaining physical fitness. It is actually a sub-category of physical activity.
- Physical activity: Physical activity is any body movement that burns calories, including housecleaning or lawn maintenance, as well as running or weight-lifting. While not as structured as exercise, regular physical activity contributes to physical fitness.