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Movement vs Exercise - What's more important?

In the realm of health and wellness, the terms "movement" and "exercise" are often used interchangeably, but they carry distinct meanings and implications for our physical well-being. While both contribute to your overall well-being, they offer unique benefits and cater to different aspects of fitness. Let's dive a little deeper into this movement and exercise and how each contributes to your health journey.

Exercise typically involves structured and intentional physical activity aimed at improving fitness and health, movement encompasses a broader spectrum of bodily motions that occur throughout our daily lives.


150 minutes per week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, coupled with at least two weight-lifting sessions, serves as a guideline endorsed by health organizations worldwide for its proven benefits in reducing the risk of chronic diseases like heart disease, diabetes, and certain cancers. But what exactly constitutes moderate intensity?

Moderate-intensity exercise refers to physical activity that elevates your heart rate and causes you to break a sweat but still allows you to carry on a conversation. Examples include brisk walking, cycling, swimming, or dancing.  To calculate moderate intensity, take your resting heart rate and divide it in half.  Add that half to your resting heart rate.  For example, a resting HR of 80 + 40 = 120 = moderate-intensity.  Again, only at this level of exertion, or greater, will you change your risk of disease, boost your mood, and enhance overall fitness.

Additionally, incorporating at least two sessions of weight lifting or resistance training per week helps maintain muscle mass, bone density, and metabolic function, especially as we age.


However, focusing solely on structured exercise overlooks the significance of everyday movement in maintaining overall well-being. Movement encompasses the countless ways our bodies engage with the environment – from walking up stairs and gardening to playing with children and dancing in the kitchen. These spontaneous and varied movements not only contribute to physical health but also enhance cognitive function, mood, and quality of life.

The distinction between movement and exercise becomes particularly relevant in the context of modern sedentary lifestyles. With the prevalence of desk jobs, prolonged sitting, and screen time, many individuals struggle to meet the recommended exercise guidelines. Embracing movement as an integral part of daily life offers a flexible and sustainable approach to staying active, regardless of one's schedule or fitness level.

As a Health & Wellness Coach, encouraging my clients to integrate movement into daily routines doesn't require elaborate gym sessions or specialized equipment. Simple habits like taking short walks during breaks, opting for stairs instead of elevators, and standing while talking on the phone can accumulate significant physical activity throughout the day.

Moreover, I advocate for a personalized approach to movement/exercise that aligns with individual preferences, interests and needs in a way that brings joy and fulfillment – whether it's dancing, gardening, or playing a sport.  In other words, when you move the way you love, it’s easier to keep movement/exercise a sustainable, daily practice.  By honoring your unique relationship with movement, you are empowered to discover activities that resonate deeply and bring joy into your life. 

As you embark on your health journey, it's essential to strike a balance between structured exercise and spontaneous movement. By embracing movement and exercise as a joyful expression of vitality and self-care, you unlock the transformative power of holistic wellness – one step, stretch, and breath at a time. 

So, whether it's hitting the gym for a workout or taking a leisurely stroll in nature, every movement counts toward nurturing a healthier, happier self.  Embrace the diverse way your body moves and celebrate the journey towards holistic well-being.

Empower Yourself through Movement and Exercise

  • Do you thrive in a structured exercise environment or are you more of a solace outdoor activity kind of person?

  •  What kind of activities “light you up”? 

  •  Are you ready to create a plan to make movement and exercise part of your daily routine? 


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