Physical activity is not exercise. Being active is not enough.

When people find out that we use exercise as a recovery treatment method, they would tell us that already exercise. Some will also emphasise that they are already active in their jobs. Today, we will discuss what is exercise and why being active is not exercise enough.

What is physical activity?

who physical activity guideline, functional training singapore
150 minutes of aerobic exercise alone may not be good enough for you! The World Health Organisation (WHO) clearly recommends at least 2 days of “muscle strengthening activity”.

It’s important to know that not all physical activities are exercise. World Health Organisation defines physical activity as any movements made by your body’s skeletal muscles that require energy expenditure.

This means any movements made your body count as physical activity! From walking to house chores to cooking, they all count as physical activity.

What is exercise?

Exercise is a bit different from physical activity because it has an emphasis on physical health. It’s true that all exercises count as physical activity, because they inevitably involve the use of your skeletal muscles. However, not all physical activities are exercise.

Exercise is an activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive. They are activities that you can undertake to purposefully improve our physical fitness. Exercise is a subcategory of physical activity that we do to improve one or more of the components of physical fitness.

I already carry heavy things in my day job, isn’t that exercise?

exercise programme singaporeTo make things complex, there are different times of physical activities. Leisure-time physical activity are things that you do in your free time for pleasure. This can include walking or tennis.

how There are other types of physical activity. For example occupational physical activity that is activity that is associated with work.

Since there are many benefits to being active and exercise, a lot of people would assume that being active at work (i.e., construction workers, farmers, etc) makes them healthy. But what does research actually say?

Well, people who are active at work tend to have poorer health. Occupational physical activity increases the risk for all-cause mortality, cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), and also overuse injuries.

This is why not all physical activity or exercise are created equal.

So, your exercise is different from what I already do at the gym?

load capacity
At any given point in time, there must be something that your body can do. For minor injuries, this will be very close to what you can usually do. For severe injuries, it will be just a fraction of what you used to do. It’s absolutely crucial

Well, yes and no.

You may already squat at the gym, and we may also get you to squat as part of your treatment plan. However, not all squats are created equal.

You may squat at the gym for hypertrophy (muscle building) or strength (powerlifting). The squats you do with us, however, will be for recovery.

There are only so many types of exercises in the world so it’s very likely that what you do with us is what you have already done before. Besides for some slight differences.

For example, you may prefer a hip-dominant squat because you don’t like having your knees go past your toes. That’s fair. But we may get you to perform knee-dominant squats as part of your recovery because we want to stress the knees a little more.

You may also be doing a StrongLifts 5×5 programme at the gym. What we may do is to get you to do is a high volume programme — three sets of 12 repetitions? Perhaps three sets of 18 repetitions?

Depending on your condition, what you need to do for recovery may be very different from what you do at the gym.

But I am already physically active!

Yes, we hear you. You are already exercising on your own, and you live an active lifestyle. If what you are already doing is not enough to make your pain or injury go away, it means what you are doing isn’t working for your recovery.

They may be good for your physique, your cardiovascular fitness, your mental health, but not catered to your recovery. This is why you are getting fitter but yet at the same time your condition is not improving yet.

Remember, exercise is an activity that is planned, structured, and repetitive. This means there’s a certain level of intent involved. If you are exercising for leisure, that’s completely different from exercising for recovery!

So, can you help me with my recovery?

Yes, remember not all exercises are created equal. Some may benefit you while others may make your condition worse. A professional chiropractor in Singapore can help you navigate your pain and injury to a full recovery.

Reach out to us via the form below to find out how we can use exercise to help you help yourself find freedom from pain.


Frustrated by the lack of results-driven and ethical chiropractic clinics in Singapore, Chiropractor Jesse Cai found Square One Active Recovery to deliver meaningful and sustainable pain solutions.

Our goal? To make our own services redundant to you.

*We do not offer temporary pain relief such as chiropractic adjustments, dry needling, or any form of soft tissue therapy.