Physical fitness refers to a condition of well being and health and, more importantly, the capacity to perform various tasks, jobs and parts of everyday life. Physical fitness can be achieved through regular exercise, proper nutrition and adequate sleep. These are followed by a healthy lifestyle, which includes relaxation and an active social support network. The discipline promotes and develops strength, flexibility and endurance through working out. The body is made stronger through working out.
The word “fitness” is derived from Latin. It comes from the Greek word “fit”, meaning “not wanting to die”. Fitness has been taken from this word and related meanings, such as being healthy and free from infirmity and death. In current use, fitness means a quality of being able to do the physical activities that one is intended to do. Physical fitness therefore, is a combination of things like body composition, muscle strength, endurance and muscular power.
The three components of fitness include cardiovascular conditioning, muscle strength, and muscular power. Cardiovascular conditioning is associated with the ability of the heart to pump blood throughout the body, including all major organs. Muscle strength refers to the extent of an individual’s muscles that can be strained during an exercise bout. And muscular power is about moving one’s body with enough force to move a weight over a distance of one meter without breaking a sweat.
One of the ways of improving each component is through exercise. Aerobic exercises, such as running, cycling, swimming and skating, are considered the foundation of an active lifestyle. Aerobic exercise improves heart rate and boosts energy levels. As stated, it is the foundation of fitness.
A healthy diet, sufficient sleep and rest are also important in building fitness. This leads to a balanced workout program and a higher degree of muscle strength as well as flexibility. Some of the key ingredients for a complete fitness program include cardiovascular, strength, flexibility and aerobic activity. These core elements should all be present in a daily routine.
Flexibility is an essential component of functional fitness. It refers to a person’s ability to move his or her joints and muscles without restriction. This is why a healthy back and neck area are so important to an athlete. The flexibility also makes it easier to maintain proper posture. Hence, a muscular body also equals a healthy head.
Chronic Disease Fitness: Fitness for the chronic disease patient should also include movement of the joints and muscles. In fact, movement of the joints and muscles has been recommended as part of treatment for patients suffering from some forms of chronic diseases. Among the many fitness programs recommended for these patients are exercise and skill-based therapies. Skill-related fitness exercises include activities such as bowling, swimming and tennis. Sports that involve throwing and catching can also promote joint and muscle flexibility.
Muscle Strengthening and Flexibility: A well-balanced routine of exercise and skill-based activities is essential for promoting flexibility. A muscular body is equivalent to a healthy and tight mind. Hence, muscle strengthening and flexibility can reduce the risk of osteoporosis, certain heart problems and even improve one’s physical performance.
Disease Prevention: The prevention of diseases such as cancer, diabetes, Alzheimer’s and other chronic illnesses are also an important part of a healthy overall fitness program. It is not only important to lose weight, but it is equally important to keep the weight off. Obesity is a major preventable cause of poor health-related outcomes. Similarly, having diabetes increases the risk of heart problems. Thus, the proper nutrition and regular physical activity are key to a disease-free life. It is also important to watch the amount of sugar in the diet and try to maintain low blood pressure.
Interval Training and Disease Prevention: One of the most interesting trends emerging in fitness training is the idea of incorporating interval training into fitness programs. Interval training is a type of exercise that typically involves bursts of high intensity activity that is performed in short intervals. For instance, a runner might run several miles in ten minutes. This burst of activity, however, is done between bursts of moderate intensity activity.
The main article continues with some good suggestions for staying active and getting fit. The first thing is to get enough rest. A lot of people think they need to work hard, when in fact, they just need to take some time off. In addition, the main article points out that cardiovascular exercise is a necessary part of fitness, but in order to improve stamina and reduce overall body fat, participants need to vary their exercise routines. Finally, the main article notes that weight loss can be accomplished by increasing aerobic activity.
This article was designed to provide some useful information for those who are involved in fitness or simply want to become fit. If you are concerned about your physical activity, then the main article recommends that you speak with your doctor. The author gratefully acknowledges the many colleagues, who helped with this article. The ideas expressed herein are the authors’ own and are intended for use solely as a guide. While keeping this article completely confidential, permission is granted to copy this article for non-commercial purposes only.