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Exercise: A type of physical activity that involves planned, structured, and repetitive bodily movement done to maintain or improve one or more components of physical fitness.

Leisure-time physical activity: Exercise, sports, and physically active hobbies done in one's leisure time.

Light-moderate physical activities: These activities might include moderately-paced or leisurely walking or bicycling, slow swimming or dancing, and simple gardening. This definition is available in the NHIS Interviewer's Manual to provide clarification to respondents, but only if the interviewer is asked.

Metabolic Equivalent (MET): The MET is a unit used to estimate the amount of oxygen used by the body during physical activity. The harder the body works, the higher the MET. 1 MET = the energy (oxygen) used while sitting quietly. Any activity that burns 3 to 5.9 METs is considered moderate-intensity physical activity. Any activity that burns 6.0 METs or more is considered vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Occupational activity: Activity undertaken as part of one's employment. This does not include exercise or physical activities engaged in at employer sponsored gyms or other facilities.

Other physical activity topics: Physical activity topics include knowledge of the health benefits of physical activity, engaging in physical activity for health-related reasons, receiving medical advice to exercise, availability of and participation in employer-sponsored exercise facilities, and engaging in family discussions about exercise.

Perceived physical activity level: Self-perceptions of one's own physical activity level compared with:

  1. Other persons the same age;
  2. One's own activity level at an earlier point in time; and
  3. The amount of physical activity considered desirable for health.

Physical activity: Any bodily movement that is produced by the contraction of skeletal muscle and that substantially increases energy expenditure.

Physical fitness: A set of attributes that people possess or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity and is comprised of skill-related, health-related, and physiological components.

Strengthening activities: Activities that require strenuous muscular contractions such as weight lifting, resistance training, push-ups, sit-ups, etc.

Transportation-related activity: Physical activity undertaken for the purpose of getting from place to place, which may include walking, jogging, biking, or any other physically active method of getting from one place to another.

Vigorous physical activities: These activities might include fast walking, fast bicycling, jogging, strenuous swimming or sports play, vigorous aerobic dance, or strenuous gardening. This definition is available in the Interviewer's manual to provide clarification to respondents, but only if the interviewer is asked.