Frequently asked questions about Fitness

You can achieve fitness through exercise and/or physical activity. But wait, aren’t they the same thing? Find the answer to that and other frequently asked questions about fitness right here at Discount Medical Supplies.

Frequently asked questions about fitness

1.       What is physical fitness?

Fitness is the ability to perform everyday tasks vigorously and alertly, without undue fatigue, and with sufficient energy left to partake in leisurely activities and respond to emergency situations. Physical fitness includes cardio-respiratory endurance, skeletal muscle endurance, skeletal muscle strength, skeletal muscle power, flexibility, balance, speed of movement, reaction time, and body composition.

2.       What is physical activity?

This is any skeletal muscle contractions that produce a bodily movement that in turn increases energy expenditure beyond basal level.

3.       Is there a difference between physical activity and exercise?

According to the World Health Organization (WHO), the terms physical activity and exercise “should not be confused.” The latter is a subcategory of the former that is planned, structured, repetitive, and is intended to maintain or improve one or more elements of physical fitness, while the latter includes mundane endeavors such as household chores, travelling, and recreational activities.

4.       How is physical activity measured?

Relative intensity. The level of effort required to perform an activity. When using relative intensity, people pay attention to how physical activity affects heart rate and breathing. In theory, you can talk but not sing while performing moderate intensity activity; during vigorous intensity activity you can’t say more than a few words without pausing for breath.

Absolute intensity. The quantity of energy spent by the body per minute of activity.


Moderate intensity activities include:

  • Walking briskly (3 m/hour or faster, but not race-walking).
  • Water aerobics.
  • Bicycling slower than 10 m/per hour.
  • Tennis (doubles).
  • Ballroom dancing.
  • General gardening.


Vigorous intensity activities include:

  • Race walking, jogging, or running.
  • Swimming laps.
  • Tennis (singles).
  • Aerobic dancing.
  • Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
  • Jumping rope.
  • Heavy gardening (continuous digging or hoeing).
  • Hiking uphill or with a heavy backpack.

6.       How much physical activity do you need?

Children and adolescents 5 to 17 years old:

  • At least 60 minutes of moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity a day.
  • Physical activity greater than 60 minutes a day will provide extra health benefits.
  • Should include muscle and bone strengthening activities, at least 3 times a week.
  • Aerobic activity should constitute most of a child's 60 or more minutes of daily physical activity at least 3 days per week. This can include moderate-intensity aerobic activity or vigorous-intensity activity.

Adults 18 to 64 years old:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • For added health benefits, adults should increase moderate-intensity physical activity to 300 minutes a week, or equivalent.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week.

Adults 65 years old and older:

  • At least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity or at least 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity physical activity throughout the week, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity.
  • For extra health benefits, they should increase moderate intensity physical activity to 300 minutes a week, or equivalent.
  • Those with poor mobility should perform physical activity to enhance balance and prevent falls, 3 or more days a week.
  • Muscle-strengthening activities should be done involving major muscle groups, 2 or more days a week.

Pregnant or post-partum women:

·         At least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity during and after pregnancy, throughout the week.

·         Healthy women who already do vigorous-intensity aerobic activity can continue doing so during and after their pregnancy as long as they stay healthy and discuss how and when activity should be adjusted over time with their healthcare provider.

7.       What is aerobic activity?

Activities in which large muscles move rhythmically for a sustained period of time, and which improve cardio-respiratory fitness.

Moderate intensity aerobic activities include:

  • Walking fast.
  • Doing water aerobics.
  • Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills.
  • Playing doubles tennis.
  • Pushing a lawn mower.

Vigorous intensity aerobic activities include:

  • Jogging or running.
  • Swimming laps.
  • Riding a bike fast or on hills.
  • Playing singles tennis.
  • Playing basketball.

8.       What is muscle strengthening activity?

Physical activity – including exercise like weight-lifting, resistance bands, push-ups, sit-ups, yoga; and daily activities like heavy gardening – that enhances skeletal muscle strength, power, endurance, and mass. Muscle-strengthening activities must be done to the point where it's hard for you to do another repetition without help.

9.       What is a repetition?

This is the number of times a movement of an activity (e.g., lifting a weight) is completed. 8 to 12 repetitions is 1 set. 2 or 3 sets of an activity equal extra benefits. 

10.   What is duration?

Duration is the aerobic equivalent of repetition; it refers to amount of minutes that an activity is performed.

11.   Which are the benefits of physical activity?

·         Controlling weight.

·         Reducing risk of cardiovascular disease.

·         Reducing risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome.

·         Reducing the risk for depression.

·         Reducing risk of some cancers.

·         Strengthening bones and muscles.

·         Improving mental health and mood.

·         Improving ability to do daily activities and prevent falls in older adult.

·         Increasing chances of living longer.

·         Improving cardio-respiratory fitness.

12.   Which are the risks of physical inactivity?

  • Insufficient physical activity is 1 of the 10 leading risk factors for death worldwide.
  • Insufficient physical activity is a key risk factor for non-communicable diseases like cardiovascular diseases, cancer and diabetes.

13.   How to add physical activity to your life?

·         Pick activities that you enjoy according to your abilities.

·         Any activity counts provided it is done at a moderate- or vigorous-intensity for at least 10 minutes at a time.

·         Start slow and gradually increase the level of activity.

14.   How to add physical activity to your child’s life?

  • Lead by example.
  • Make physical activity part of your family's routine; e.g., taking family walks, playing active games together.
  • Provide your child with equipment that encourages physical activity.
  • Take young people to public parks, community baseball fields, basketball courts, and other places where they can be active.
  • Be positive about the physical activities in which your child takes part and encourage them to be interested in new activities.
  • Make physical activity fun. Activities can range from team sports or individual sports to recreational activities such as walking, running, skating, bicycling, swimming, playground activities or free-time play.
  • Encourage your child to find fun activities to do on their own or with friends and family, such as walking, playing chase or riding bikes, as opposed to watching TV.
  • Always provide protective equipment including helmets, wrist pads or knee pads.
  • Make sure activities are age-appropriate.

15.   What are age-appropriate activities?

Younger children strengthen muscles when they do gymnastics, play on a jungle gym or climb trees.

Teenagers may start structured weight programs along with football or basketball team practice.

16.   How to add physical activity to an older adult’s life?

  • Try to do a variety of activities to make physical activity more enjoyable and reduce the risk of injury.
  • Regular physical activity is safe and beneficial even if you have problems doing normal daily activities.
  • If you have to take a break from your regular workout routine because of an illness such as the flu, be sure to start again at a lower level and slowly work back up to your usual level of activity.
  • To get to and stay at a healthy weight, start by doing the equivalent of 150 minutes of moderate- intensity aerobic activity every week. Remember you may need to do more activity or reduce the number of calories you eat to get to your desired weight.
  • Check with a local senior center to see if they offer balance training.

17.   What is balance training?

Static and dynamic exercises designed to enhance an individual's ability to withstand challenges from postural sway or destabilizing stimuli caused by self-motion, the environment, or other objects.

18.   Is physical activity safe?

Moderate physical activity is safe for most people.

19.   What happens if you have a chronic condition?

Regular physical activity can improve the quality of life of people with arthritis, diabetes, heart disease, and other chronic conditions. People with these conditions should ask their doctors if and how their ability to be active is limited, and work together to devise an appropriate physical activity plan.

20.   What happens if you have a disability?

Disabled people should talk with a healthcare provider with experience in physical activity and disability before starting a physical activity regime.


Related: Awesome exercise benefits for seniors