FINDING FITNESS: Exercise vs. training: What’s the difference?

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The combination of movements that make up a workout are endless.


In fact, the very definition of “working out” varies from one person to the next. Physical activity, fitness, training, working out and exercising are all words that people use inter-changeably, but they are not all the same.


The American Heart Association describes physical activity as “anything that makes you move your body and burn calories.


According to their website, for overall cardiovascular health, it is recommended that you do at least 30 minutes of moderat-intensity aerobic activity at least five days a week or 25 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity at a minimum of three days per week.


That recommendation is also coupled with doing a muscle strengthening activity at least two days per week.



These recommendations are the basics if you’re looking to stay healthy or get back there. It can be done in a variety of ways, and in reality, it doesn’t matter what is you do as long as you do something that reaches the specific time at the desired intensity.


While engaging in physical activity is good, this may not be the standard you want to hold yourself accountable to.


Physical activity, or exercising, is done for results produced that day. It burns calories, can relieve stress and you get a good sweat. But the long term results tend to be vague.
Physical fitness on the other hand is an alternative you might want to look into.


It’s been recently redefined by Lon Kilgore and Mark Rippetoe in 2006 in the Journal of Exercise Physiology Online [9(1):1-10]:


“Possession of adequate levels of strength, endurance, and mobility to provide for successful participation in occupational effort, recreational pursuits, familial obligation, and that is consistent with a functional phenotypic expression of the human genotype.”


Physical fitness is the framework for athletes and individuals looking to achieve a specific goal in performance. This long-term goal is achieved by increasing their physical fitness through training.


Training is more than just a workout – it’s a plan or program that is designed to increase your physical capacity over a given period of time.


To name a few, marathon runners, triathletes, CrossFitters and weightlifters are just a few that follow a program.


If you have already found some type of physical activity you enjoy, make the most of your workouts by setting a goal and start training to achieve it!



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