Fitness and exercise are words you always hear. These words, together with nutrition, crop up in every conversation or article about health and disease prevention, not to mention weight loss. Fitness is the goal, and exercise is the road, but what constitutes a state of fitness and how much exercise is necessary?
Although specific parameters of fitness can be measured, overall fitness is somewhat loosely defined. It is similar to keeping a machine in its best condition for optimal performance; it is the physical condition at which one looks, feels, and performs the best.
Energy for both work and leisure
Performance refers to the ability to perform one’s daily duties with vigor and have surplus energy for both unexpected additional tasks and leisure time activity. Fitness is the ability to withstand stress and continue to function. This immediately brings most of us to a stopping point. We live in a culture where work is ever-increasing to occupy nearly all of our time.
Most people have enough energy to perform their jobs, but an extra hour of overtime or a longer than usual commute wipes them out, and they return home to collapse in front of the TV. Shouldn’t life be more than that? Increased fitness is the path to getting the energy to build a fuller, more rounded experience.
Fitness involves distinct measurable parameters such as heart and lung performance and muscle strength. However, our minds and bodies are firmly linked, and overall fitness includes mental alacrity and emotional health.
“Strong mind, strong body.” Often, our physical condition drags down our spirits; we don’t have the necessary energy to do that extra thing that adds quality to our lives, and we get depressed. Exercise is the way to achieve additional energy and is perhaps the strongest known natural tool in decreasing depression.
Exercise is already indicated for prevention of #depression …How about anxiety? Our new meta-analysis shows physical activity reduces risk of anxiety by 20% for adults, 50% for children! https://t.co/3HFfgq7oGX by @SchuchFelipe @BrendonStubbs @simon_rosenbaum @PhilWardAu
— Joseph Firth (@joefirth7) June 18, 2019
The individual parameters of fitness, such as strength, increased lung capacity, increased endurance, and others, are all individual goals that vary from person to person, according to age, habit, sex, and even heredity. Fitness goals should always be set within one’s limitations, and optimal fitness will probably be more rigorous for the younger than the older person. Still, everyone can achieve a state of individual optimal fitness.
Over 35? Visit your Physician
With this understanding, if you are over 35, it is wise to begin a fitness program with a visit to your physician for an exam that will provide you with some baseline parameters and pinpoint any areas of concern, such as high blood pressure.
If you know that your health history has some problematic aspects such as diabetes or asthma, or if you have a familial predisposition to heart disease, it is necessary to get clearance from your doctor before beginning a fitness program.
Next, decide what components of physical fitness are essential to you. Of course, you want to increase your overall fitness, but perhaps flexibility and increased endurance are more crucial elements to your lifestyle than muscular strength.
There are several components to physical fitness, all of which are important, but you may tailor your fitness goals to highlight those that will contribute to your life and goals. The integral elements are endurance, both muscular and cardiorespiratory, strength, and flexibility.
Exercise your whole body!
It is important to include exercise that will improve each of these aspects, stressed according to your preference, into your regimen. This will allow you to achieve your fitness target and gain another sought after goal, improved body composition.
Endurance refers to the cardiorespiratory capability to deliver nutrients, especially oxygen, throughout body tissues and to remove waste products over a period of time. The second factor is muscular endurance, the ability of muscles to continue to contract or exert force overtime. This is different from muscular strength, which is a measurement of how much force a muscle can exert at a given time.
Flexibility is an integral part of muscle performance and refers to the ability to enjoy a full range of muscle or joint motion. Flexibility is essential to pain-free and spontaneous movement, which are prime fitness goals for most people, as is achieving the correct ratio of lean mass or muscle to fat mass, which constitutes a balanced body composition.