Get Fit, Not Just Physically: How Fitness and Exercise Differs in Concept

The health benefits of working out with a crowd

Having a healthier life has become a thing for many people now. COVID-19 has especially urged people to think more about their health and well-being. Yes! There are several ways we can be healthier. But to achieve a healthier life, proper guidance and knowledge are required. So, many people try to find a personal trainer or go to the gym. Some people also run every morning or do other home exercises alone. But, have you been curious if there is a difference between physical fitness and exercise? Guilty as we are, we often mix up the terms. Let’s find out the difference between fitness and exercise! And why it is vital to know the distinction.

Physical Fitness

As paraphrased in the book Fitness for Life 6th Edition With Web Resources-Cloth by Charles B. Corbin and Guy Le Masurier – physical fitness is the ability of the body’s various components to function effectively together to be healthy and carry out daily chores. Being efficient implies getting things done as quickly and painlessly as possible.  A fit person can do schoolwork, meet home obligations, and still have enough energy to participate in sports and other leisure activities. A fit person isn’t only someone who looks good; a fit person can perform practical tasks, like leaves raking at home or stocking shelves at work, and physical activities, like marching in a band. A fit person can also respond quickly and effectively to dangerous situations – for example, by running away from harm or helping out a friend in need.

It means that physical fitness is more than just the ability to do the physical activity; it’s a state of general well-being. A fit person isn’t only physically healthy but also mentally and emotionally stable.

Moreover, it has five components:

  •  Muscular strength
  • Muscular endurance
  • Cardiovascular endurance
  • Flexibility
  • Body fat composition

Each component is essential, and you need to pay attention to all of them to be truly fit. For example, your fitness level isn’t as high as expected if you can run a marathon but can’t do a single pull-up. It is best to consult a certified personal trainer to help you assess which areas need work and how to improve each one.


On the other hand, exercise is a subset of physical activity that you can plan, structure, and repeat, and it aims to improve or maintain one or more aspects of physical fitness. In other words, it is a type of physical activity that aims to get fit.

While fitness is a state, exercise is a process that leads to a state of improved fitness. You can’t exercise without being engaged in physical activity, but not all physical activity counts as exercise. For something to be considered “exercise,” it has to have three things:

  • Planned and structured
  • It has to be repetitive
  • Its purpose must be to improve fitness

If something doesn’t have all three of those things, it’s not exercising. For example, going for a walk with a friend isn’t exercise because you did not plan or structure it – you might decide to turn back after five minutes or keep going for an hour. It also isn’t repetitive since you’re not doing the same thing repeatedly. And finally, its purpose isn’t to improve fitness but to catch up with a friend and get some fresh air.

Meaning that while all exercise is physical activity, not all physical activity is exercise. It’s essential to make the distinction because it can help you better understand how to get fit.


It is essential to know the difference between physical fitness and exercise to be able to set appropriate goals. A certified personal trainer Orlando can help you understand what fitness level is appropriate for you and create a plan to get you there. They will also be able to give guidance on which types of exercise are suitable for you and how often you should be doing them. A personal trainer’s cost varies depending on your location, the trainer’s experience, and the type of services you’re wanted. It is still an asset that is beneficial if you are serious about getting fit.

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