How to be in Mint Condition

How does activity differentiate to exercise and what are the differences? These are some of the questions that many seem to be getting confused about.

One of my favourite sayings that explains it best is:

“The body reacts and adapts to stress…. the bigger the stress the bigger the reaction”

Stress the body through movement and the body will react accordingly (sore muscles, how sore will depend on the how much you stress them)

And just as a side this saying is applicable to mental as well as physiological stress.


The boss’s description;

Keeping it simple, activity is “our day to day movement” eg; walking, cooking cleaning, getting in and out of cars etc,.  Going for a walk from my perspective (even though it could be for an hour) is considered activity.  I say this as it does not normally stress the body enough to get an adequate reaction.


The boss’s description;

Doing exercise that stresses the body enough to either give cardiovascular or muscle fatigue.

In short, do something that stresses the muscles in your body, they will breakdown then knit together to get stronger.  This also applies to any cardiovascular movement that causes you to breath harder than normal (run… forest…  run)


 Fitness relates to a variety of things but the basics components are:

·       Muscular strength or endurance

·       Cardiovascular strength or endurance

·       Agility & speed

·       Body composition

·       Flexibility and mobility

There are others such as power, balance and co-ordination so as long as your exercise programme is stressing one or five of these components then you are on track to getting fitter.

 Is it activity or exercise which better

You need to do both,

Most of us have all heard that we should move at least 10,000 steps a day to maintain our body weight.  So, walking should be considered an activity and anything that is an offshoot of them, vacuuming, stair walking, etc etc…. until it causes enough stress to the body to warrant an upgrade to exercise.

But doing 10,000 steps of walking even though it may maintain or help us lose some body fat it will not get us fitter.

Walking for an hour a day will help with weight management by burning calories, as does hi intensity exercising for an hour also, but after that if you sit at a desk all day then it practically negates that exercise component.

I recently had a client that said they hadn’t run for more than 14 years even though they were avid mountaineers and could walk for over nine hours (which I am pretty sure that I couldn’t do) but two 100m sprints were enough to make them really suck wind.   (Extended the heart and lung capacity)

So, using this as an example walking on a regular basis will maintain a healthy body weight (if you eat well) but it will not get you fitter.

Fitness training also helps with weight loss, toning, and making everyday activities easier to perform.  It gives us more confidence and opens us up to experiences that we may have never tried.

You will eventually get to a point with strength training where your progress will slow. At this stage it is time to make a programme change to stress another fitness component.   You can always come back to the strength training if that is an area that you want to excel in or your specialist activity requires you to be fit in this area.

If you are not sure that your programme works for you, talk to one of the MINT trainers and they will defiantly challenge one or more of your fitness components.

I am not an endurance runner by any stretch of my imagination and to be honest I can probably run 10km if I put my mind to it and with a bit of training.  When spring rolls around I usually start my 5km running routine again, back off the strength section a bit (maintain a few simple ones) and add in some mobility and a bit more core work (gotta have some abs just in case I have to run after milo at the beach).

So in the end yes activity is important which requires you to MOVE THAT BODY and so is exercise which is more specific so MOVE THAT BODY!