Physical Activity Vs Exercise & Training

There is much to be said about living an active lifestyle and it’s correspondence to a long and healthy life but is there a difference between activity and exercise or training?

Let’s explore that and find out which is beneficial for you and at what stage. 

Physical activity is your overall movement and your day to day activity levels can be what determines your total energy output. However the type of activity can be broken down a little further into intensity levels which helps determine the type of activity.

Physical activity might look like:

  • Your commute to work on foot or bike
  • Running around with the kids
  • Gardening
  • House cleaning and chores 

Exercise is also physical activity but may be a little more intentional. We have either planned to exercise or have a type of activity, duration and intensity level that remains consistent. 

Exercise could look like:

  • Going for a walk
  • Getting out for an intentional bike ride , swim or jog
  • Casual team or individual sport

To be in training is to be monitoring progress and in most cases is to reach a goal. This goal may be physique, competitive competitions , grading or ability related and usually has a timeframe attached. Training is structured, intentional and specific to the end goal.  

Training is more like:

  • Following a structured workout
  • Following a training schedule to achieve a particular goal
  • Setting out a target to hit
  • Monitoring your progress
  • Challenging your body
  • Specific training leading up to an event

So as we have outlined how each category can be identified, let’s highlight the benefits of each type of activity. 

Physical activity:

  • Increases your daily energy expenditure, helping maintain movement and manage a healthy weight range
  • Continue to keep you active & able without too much intentional thinking or planning
  • Great for mental health
  • Builds relationships and brings families closer through activity and engagement


  • Helps manage a healthy weight and lifestyle
  • Includes something of interest and brings people together
  • Promotes quality of life and decreases Vit D deficiency if outdoors
  • Promotes good heart health
  • Creates a stronger and more ale body 
  • Social 


  • Helps to reach a specific goal
  • Encourages progress
  • Gives people purpose and drive
  • Can be monitored and measured
  • Get’s results

So, where do you fit in? Maybe it’s time to start at the top or start by increasing your activity level from the top down. We always say start where you are, with what you have and build from there. Maybe you have a goal in mind but have now identified you are not quite in the training phase. This might be a great opportunity to reach out to a coach who can help create a training plan to reach the goal/s you have in mind.