Physical Activity vs Exercise
Physical activity encompasses all body movements while exercise is a form of physical activity that is planned, structured and repetitive. Both are intended to maintain or improve one’s overall health. All forms of physical activity reduce risks of illnesses. There are many ways of cultivating an active lifestyle whether you decide to go to the gym, take the stairs instead of the elevator or walk to the next bus stop. It’s important to get moving the best way you can to achieve optimal health benefits.
Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines
To achieve optimal health benefits, adults aged 18-64 should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate- to vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.
It is also beneficial to add muscle and bone strengthening activities using major muscle groups, at least 2 days per week.
For the complete guidelines, visit Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology.
Aerobic exercise improves the health of your heart and lungs by increasing your heart rate. Practice aerobic exercises at least 150 minutes a week. A moderate to vigorous intensity level is recommended when doing exercises. Some aerobic activities include:
- Brisk walking
- Climbing stairs
- Swimming laps
Strength training exercises develops your muscle strength, endurance, and mass. Consider strength training exercises that involve lifting free weights, resistance bands or weight machines. Pick one of these activities and try to do 10-15 repetitions of each exercise. These repetitions count as 1 set. Gradually building intensity by increasing weights and working up to doing 2 more sets of 10-15 repetitions of each exercise.
Examples of strength training activities include
- Rock climbing
- Cable pulleys
Moderate intensity of physical activity causes you to sweat and to breathe harder. A rule of thumb is you should be able to talk, but not sing along to your favorite song. Moderate activities include brisk walking, bike riding, climbing stairs, swimming and dancing.
Vigorous intensity of physical activity causes you to sweat and be out of breath. When doing vigorous activity you should not be able to say more than a few words without pausing for a breath. It is recommended to do as much vigorous activity as you can. This can involve jogging, running, hockey, basketball or gym workouts.
It is important to not overexert your body’s limit. Overexertion can cause injuries or harmful health conditions onto your body. Take breaks when necessary and gradually build your intensity level when doing activities.
McMaster psychology professors say that exercise breaks in between lecture can help memory maintenance and retention.Regular exercise can increase energy levels and reduce fatigue, particularly in sedentary individuals. While aerobic exercise can reduce stress hormones such as cortisol and adrenaline while stimulating endorphins which help to elevate mood.
Being active for at least 150 minutes per week can help adults to:
- Increase overall fitness
- Strengthen muscles and bones
- Improve mental health and well being
- Reduce overweight and obesity
- Reduce the risk of chronic diseases including Heart disease, Stroke, High blood pressure, certain types of Cancer, Type 2 Diabetes, and Osteoporosis
- Reduce the risk of premature death
Information Box Group
Information Box Group
Delivers the McMaster community programs, services and facilities to promote active lifestyles. Offers intramural teams, indoor and outdoor recreational programs, the Pulse Fitness Centre, and many more.
A comprehensive, multi-disciplinary facility that specializes in sport medicine, orthopaedics and rehabilitation. Our services are available to the McMaster campus and greater Hamilton communities.
Offers First Nations, Inuit, and Métis students attending McMaster support services and opportunities. Indigenous students are provided information on academic success, transition, mental wellness, physical wellness, sexual wellness, and financial literacy
Advocates and ensures inclusiveness in the area of disability. Provides programming and peer support within the community. Peer support is provided by trained volunteers, with lived experiences with any of the following: disability, chronic illness, mental illness, neurodivergence, and additional identities that are part of the larger disability rights movement.
McMaster’s guide to the abundance of nature Hamilton provides. This guide allows the community to discover new areas in the city, as well as resources on safety, health and mindfulness in nature.
A peer-run health promotion, education, and referral service for McMaster University students. SHEC provides students with peer support, pregnancy testing, menstrual products, and safe sex supplies, while also disseminating health information through events and campaigns.