One thing I read a lot is conflating “leisure-time physical activity” with “all physical activity”. For example, try the following, from a book on things that can affect happiness:
In the USA, roughly 62 percent of adults engage in at least some physical activity during their leisure time. That means 38 percent don’t engage in any physical activity whatsoever!
Gardening is recommended as a “leisure-time physical activity”. The landscape guy who spends 8 hours a day digging and planting and trimming and goes home exhausted? Gets “no physical activity whatsoever.” By this measure, Marines in boot camp probably get “no physical activity whatsoever.” Riiiiight.
Yes, for me, “at work” usually means “sitting down”. But not every job is sedentary. Yet I keep running into this. Even on health surveys: “Do not count physical activity that is part of your job.”
I know part of it is classist. Many of the people who create these surveys and statistics have desk jobs. Janitorial jobs are hella active, but not lucrative. But is that all? Is walking a mile to the office in the morning really not as good for you as walking a mile to nowhere? Is walking around a shop all day putting away stock and re-folding shirts not aerobic enough? Is it believed that the stress of being a construction worker all week isn’t as beneficial as working on your own house or a Habitat for Humanity house for a few hours? What?
Update: One study found “a high level of occupational activity is associated with a decreased likelihood of being obese.” Another found that one factor in heart disease – plasma viscosity – improves with leisure-time activity but not work activity. This study describes how work-related activity and leisure-time activity often don’t go together.