Physical activity is a well-established cornerstone of good health, yet it’s often challenging to incorporate appropriate amounts of physical activity in your daily routine.
Here’s what you need to know to benefit from movement. First, let’s define physical inactivity and activity, and then we’ll explore the benefits of physical activity followed by simple recommendations to incorporate more of it in your daily routine.
Physical inactivity (sedentary behavior)
Sedentary behavior refers to reclining, seated, or lying activities requiring very low energy expenditure, like watching TV, playing video games, computer use, driving, and reading.
Physical activity is associated with a multitude of positive health outcomes and too much inactivity results in poor metabolic and cardiovascular health. Therefore, we must balance inactivity with purposeful physical activity or exercise to maintain good health.
Physical activity (movement)
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that requires energy expenditure, encompassing all activities at any intensity. It includes both exercise and incidental activity from our daily routine like walking to the local shop, cleaning, working, or active transport. This integrated activity may not be planned, structured, repetitive, or purposeful for improving fitness but is part of our daily activity and increases total daily energy expenditure, making it a factor in determining our energy requirement from food.
Physical activity occurs on a spectrum from light to moderate to vigorous activity. It’s important to recognize that all forms of physical activity are valuable contributors to our health.
So why is physical activity healthy?
There are immediate and long-term benefits to physical activity.
Clever ways to increase physical activity during winter
Although our cold and snowy Chicagoland winters may make exercise and physical activity seem daunting, there are many safe ways to get physically active during the winter:
Invest in your health with a good pair of walking/running shoes and a good pair of insulated, water-proof hiking shoes that will provide the comfort and safety to get more physically active – whether that’s to do your errands running in and out of stores or a walk through the park or forest preserve.