The hierarchy of physical training Physical activity is everything you do when you aren’t at rest. It’s basic movement, with no goal beyond getting from one place to another.
Exercise is movement you do on purpose. It includes sports practice, jogging, yoga, backpacking, swimming, cycling, or anything else you think is important enough to take precedence over all the other things you could be doing at that moment. (If you can operate your cell phone while exercising, you aren’t actually exercising.
You’re just proving you can walk and chew gum at the same time.) A workout is an exercise session that’s deliberately strenuous. You start with the goal of working up a sweat, pushing your muscles and your circulatory system toward their limit, and giving your body a challenge from which it will have to recover. Training is a system of workouts designed to achieve specific biological adaptations. The more physical activity you get, and the less time you spend sitting, the better. Some of that activity should be purposeful enough to qualify as exercise.
More exercise is generally better than less. A workout is even better, but there are only so many true workouts you can do in a week, a month, or a year. A workout that’s also a training session is usually best of all, because you aren’t just testing yourself to see what you can do now. You’re forcing your body to make adaptations that will produce better performances in the future.