What counts as exercise?

This may seem a simple question but ask this to anyone and you’re likely to get a bunch of different answers. Is exercise sport? Is it any type of movement? Does an activity have to be a certain level of intensity before it becomes exercise?

People doing different exercise

Let’s consult the experts. According to the Cambridge dictionary, exercise is “physical activity that you do to make your body strong and healthy”. That’s a pretty broad definition. Basically, any activity that gets you moving can be counted as exercise. It’s important to note that to achieve a healthy and strong body, the intensity and frequency of our exercise is important.

The NHS recommends that adults aged between 19 and 64 should do at least 150 minutes of moderate intensity exercise a week or 75 minutes of vigorous exercise. They also recommend that we take 2 days a week to strengthen all our major muscle groups.

So, while any exercise is better than nothing, and while any physical activity can be counted as exercise, to achieve a fully healthy body we need to be varying the types and intensities of the exercise we do.

Something we can all work on is to limit the time we spend sitting or lying down for long periods. Break up these periods of being stationary with light exercise or even just time standing up. This is really small, but it can have huge health benefits.

In summary, exercise is any physical activity we undertake to create a healthy body. But, that doesn’t mean a simple walk round the block every day will get us into great shape. We need to change up the intensity of our exercise to ensure we’re pushing our bodies to be the best they can be.