The American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the American Heart Association (AHA), and the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services released guidelines for physical activity/exercise in 2008.  Before the guidelines are discussed the difference between physical activity and exercise must be clearly defined.

  • Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by the contraction of skeletal muscle that increases energy expenditure above a basal (rest) level.  This includes personal grooming/hygiene, feeding oneself, standing, walking from a parking lot to the entrance of a building, family care, household chores, occupational requirements, gardening, and so on.
  • Exercise is structured physical activity specifically designed to improve one’s cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength/endurance, flexibility and body composition (lean mass/fat mass).

All exercise is physical activity but not all physical activity is exercise.

For recommendations about cardiovascular activity, visit New Life Center for Bariatric Surgery’s blog.

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