Definition Of Physical
ActivityBy LISA LIDDANE - Orange County Register (from
Physical Activity Not Necessarily 'Exercise'
Mention "physical activity" or "exercise"
and the images that usually come to mind are gym workouts such as walking on a
treadmill, sports such as basketball, or recreational activities such as inline
So some people think that if they can't go to the health club,
participate in an outdoor sport, or exercise to a video at home, they just
can't fit physical activity into their lives.
A recent report from the
Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reminds us to free our minds and
think outside of the fitness box.
Several years ago, the government
broadened its definition of physical activity to include activities that aren't
traditionally thought of as exercise. Then, the government conducted a
state-by-state survey using the expanded definition in 2001 to find out how
many Americans were meeting the recommendations. Not surprisingly, they found
that more met the recommendations that year than in 2000, when broadened
definition was not yet used. For example, about 28.8 percent of Californians
were getting at least 30 minutes of moderate activity most days of the week in
2000, but that number jumped to 45.8 percent in 2001.
Still, as a
nation, we have a long way to go. Only 45 percent of Americans meet the
Moderate activity means activity that
burns 3.5-7 calories per minute. You also can use what exercise scientists call
your perceived rate of exertion to gauge what is moderate. Keep in mind that
moderate is relative. What may be vigorous for you may be moderate for another
Here are some activities we can try to add more exercise to our
lives. Some of these might not fall under what we consider a typical workout,
but they do qualify as moderate-intensity exercise, according to the
Walking to class, work or the store, or walking the dog. Doing
light calisthenics. Dancing (ballroom, line, square, modern or ballet). Playing
softball. Throwing a flying disc. Treading water. Playing an instrument in a
marching band. Raking the lawn. Weeding while standing or bending. Pushing a
power lawn mower or tiller. Scrubbing the floor while on hands and knees or
doing other household tasks. Walking while carrying a child weighing less than
50 pounds. Cleaning gutters, refinishing furniture and doing other home
improvement tasks. Hand waxing or washing a car. You can combine various
activities to complete 30 minutes-one hour of exercise every day. You also have
the option of doing vigorous activities for 20 minutes or more at least three
days a week.
Remember that this is the minimum requirement for general
For a comprehensive list of moderate and vigorous activities, go
and click on General Physical Activities Defined by Level of Intensity.