The Difference Between Movement, Exercise, and Stretching

The Difference Between Movement, Exercise and Stretching
Medically Reviewed
January 27, 2021

Movement, exercise, and stretching, the differences between these three can be confusing, as the terms are often used interchangeably. They are all good for us in one way or another, but how do you tell the difference?

Movement, Exercise, and Stretching What’s the Difference?

Let’s clear up the difference between movement, exercise, and stretching and get you in a positive mindset about daily body maintenance!


Intentional movement (exercise) should be done every day. Start your day by moving each and every joint to get your “juices” flowing. Moving the joint specifically and repeatedly sends a signal to your brain to send synovial fluid to the joints to soften and lubricate. This helps to prepare the joint and surrounding tissue to move in the intended range.

Moving your lower and upper body more comes with a number of benefits, including improving your:

  • Stability
  • Balance
  • Coordination
  • And strengthening muscles

Even if you are sitting at home, try and move your body as much as possible to keep your joints and muscles in good health.


Stretching of soft tissue should only be done after gentle movement. Once an area or joint is warmed, we can then gently start to stretch. Keep in mind the fact that stretching should not be painful! There is an element of “good hurt,” but there should never be pain. Pain is our body’s way of telling us, “No! Stop what you’re doing!” Be mindful and pay attention to the messages that your body is sending you during this process.

Benefits of stretching routines include: 

  • Increases your flexibility
  • Improves your posture
  • Increases your range of motion
  • Improves physical performance
  • Increases blood flow to muscles
  • Reduces muscle tension
  • It helps to prevent back pain
  • prevent injuries when exercising
  • Great for stress relief
  • Calms the mind

Always remember to stretch before exercising as it allows the muscles to loosen and become resistant to the exercise’s impact, thereby reducing the chance of injury.


Many of us don’t like “exercise.” Often, when we think of exercise, we think of sweat, hard work, gym time, etc. A favorite definition of exercise is simply “to perform or make proper use of.” This is an excellent mindset to employ when it comes to getting your regular exercise.

Exercise encompasses stretching and movement, and it includes most of what we do every day. The important thing to think about when you “exercise” is to do it with intention. Remember the definition – “to perform or make proper use of” – move, stretch, and strengthen the muscles and joints, with intention.

Taking part in regular exercise will have a positive impact on your body and help you:

Feel Happier

Exercising can improve your mood and reduce anxiety and depression as exercise produces changes in the brain that regulate stress and anxiety. Also, it increases the hormones serotonin and norepinephrine, which relieve feelings of depression.

Increase Your Energy Levels

Exercise can increase your energy levels for both those that are healthy and those who suffer from various health issues. Furthermore, exercise can significantly boost chronic fatigue syndrome (CFS) energy levels and other illnesses.

Promotes a Better Sex Life

Exercise can help improve sexual desire, function, and performance in men and women. It can also help decrease the risk of erectile dysfunction in men. The health benefits of love making are also great for overall physical and mental wellness.

Help With Weight Loss

Exercise is essential to maintaining a healthy weight and reducing the risk of chronic disease. It also reduces your risk of illnesses such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.

Reduces Pain

Exercise can help reduce the pain associated with health issues as well as increase pain tolerance. If you exercise regularly, it can help you improve your overall health, reduce pain (including chronic pain) and improve your life quality.

Look After Your Muscles and Bones

Doing exercise over a period of time makes bones and muscles stronger, and it is essential for maintaining bone strength when we age.

Reduces Your Risk of Chronic Disease

Exercise improves overall health, and it also helps reduce your risk of chronic health issues such as type 2 diabetes, cancer, heart disease, dementia, depression, and anxiety.

Improve Skin Health

Exercise can also help improve your skin. For instance, exercise provides antioxidant protection, gets the heart rate up, and promotes blood flow, which can protect your skin and delay signs of aging.

Improve Sleep Quality

Exercising can also improve sleep quality for many of us. Regular physical activity can help you sleep better and boost your energy levels during the day. For instance, exercise can enhance sleep quality by reducing the time it takes to fall asleep and decrease the amount of time you lie awake in bed at night.

Help with Your Memory

Exercise can also help improve memory. As exercise improves mood and sleep, it reduces stress and anxiety, which is a cause of cognitive impairment, therefore indirectly improving memory.

Exercise has so many great benefits for your physical and mental health. Even if you do some moderate exercise, it will help improve your body and your mental outlook on life.

What are you waiting for? Get moving, exercising, and stretching! 

Create a Lifestyle of Movement

As you create an exercise habit, which is the first step in creating a lifestyle of movement, you will begin to see pretty dramatic changes in how you feel. Movement is the key to self-care, and if we were to intentionally move every day with a full range of motion as a lifestyle, we would rarely allow our bodies to get out of alignment or imbalanced.

Just imagine being physically able to move to the next level of wellness and fitness! It sounds like a dream, but it is completely attainable if you start at step 1 and create an exercise habit. This will enable you to be well on your way to creating a lifestyle of movement!

Get Help from The Experts!

If you are worried about your physical performance or any other aspect of your health. We can help.

Schedule a consultation today talk with one of our experts, and we will help you get your health back on track and feeling your best self again!


Article Name
The Difference Between Movement, Exercise, and Stretching
Movement, exercise, and stretching, the differences can be confusing. Let's clear up the difference. Read on to learn more!