Physical fitness comprises two related concepts: general fitness (a state of health and well-being) and specific fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations).
In previous years, fitness was commonly defined as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. However, as automation increased leisure time, changes in lifestyles following the industrial revolution rendered this definition insufficient. These days, physical fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypo kinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.
In its most general meaning, physical fitness is a general state of good physical health. Obtaining and maintaining physical fitness is a result of physical activity, proper diet and nutrition and of course proper rest for physical recovery. In its simplest terms, physical fitness is to the human body what fine-tuning is to an engine. It enables people to perform up to their potential. Regardless of age, fitness can be described as a condition that helps individuals look, feel and do their best. Thus, physical fitness trainers, describe it as the ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with left over energy to enjoy leisure-time activities and meet emergency demands. Specifically true for senior citizens, physical fitness is the ability to endure, bear up, withstand stress and carry on in circumstances where an unfit person could not continue.
In order for one to be considered physically fit, the heart, lungs, and muscles have to perform at a certain level for the individual to continue feeling capable of performing an activity. At the same time, since what humans do with their bodies directly affects the state of mind, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional expression.
Physical fitness is often divided into the following categories in order for people to be able examine its components or parts. Particularly, physical fitness is judged by:
1. Cardiovascular endurance: This is the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes over sustained periods of time.
2. Muscular strength & endurance: Strength deals with the ability of the muscle to exert force for a brief time period, while endurance is the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to sustain repeated contractions or to continue to apply force against an inert object.
3. Flexibility: This denotes the ability to move joints and use muscles through their full range of motion.
4. Body composition: Considered as one of the components of fitness, composition refers to the body in terms of lean mass (muscle, bone, vital tissue, and organs) and fat mass. Actually, the optimal ratio of fat to lean mass is an indication of fitness. Performing the right set of exercises can help people get rid off body fat and increase or maintain muscle mass.
Exercise and Physical Fitness
There are 1,440 minutes in every day. Schedule 30 of them for physical activity!
Regular exercise is a critical part of staying healthy. People who are active live longer and feel better. Exercise can help you maintain a healthy weight. It can delay or prevent diabetes, some cancers and heart problems.
Most adults need at least 30 minutes of moderate physical activity at least five days per week. Examples include walking briskly, mowing the lawn, dancing, swimming for recreation or bicycling. Stretching and weight training can also strengthen your body and improve your fitness level.
The key is to find the right exercise for you. If it is fun, you are more likely to stay motivated. You may want to walk with a friend, join a class or plan a group bike ride. If you’ve been inactive for awhile, use a sensible approach and start out slowly.
Physical Fitness Tips
Do these excuses about taking care of your physical fitness seem familiar?
- You’re too tired.
- You’ll start tomorrow.
- You forgot to wash your workout clothes.
- You like cheesecake.
There are probably just as many excuses why you think you can’t stay in shape, as there are good reasons why you should. Unfortunately, these excuses often outweigh any motivation to exercise or eat right. Sure, you want to look and feel your best, but why does staying fit have to be so much work?
It doesn’t. You can have stronger, more limber muscles; lowered blood pressure and cholesterol levels; a strengthened immune system; and an improved self-image — and you don’t have to spend hours at a gym pumping iron or doing endless abs exercises. You also don’t have to eat like a rabbit. Many of your daily activities burn more calories than you think. The chart below demonstrates how some of the functions you ordinarily perform burn calories and help keep you fit. For the greatest benefit, 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic activity three or more times a week and some type of muscle-strengthening activity is recommended, along with stretching at least twice a week. If you are unable to maintain this level of activity, however, you can gain substantial health benefits by accumulating 30 minutes or more of moderate-intensity physical activity a day, at least five times a week. Here are some walking fitness and weight loss tips to get you started:
- Walk with a buddy. You’ll improve your overall fitness as you catch up with friends.
- Stretch before you begin. Muscles need to be warmed up to prevent injuries.
- Wear the correct shoes. They should be comfortable with a rubber sole to absorb the shock of each step, especially if you walk on concrete or asphalt.
- Adjust your pace. If you’re huffing and puffing as you walk, you’re exerting yourself too much.
Eating Right is One of the Most Important Fitness Tips
Unfortunately, we humans sometimes have an appetite for fatty, salty and sugary foods. Don’t forget that when you exercise, your body needs four to eight ounces of water every 20 minutes to replace water loss. This also holds true for everyday activities that are big calorie burners. Keep in mind that if you feel thirsty during exercise, you’ve already passed beyond a “safe” stage of hydration. If you are exercising vigorously for more than an hour, you may want to consider sports drinks — the extra carbohydrates in these drinks help your body to retain body — and always avoid caffeine or alcohol, both of which further dehydrate your body.
Be patient about seeing results from any fitness program. If you’re out of shape, you didn’t get that way overnight. You won’t get back in shape overnight either. Work your way into a routine, one step at a time. Pushing yourself too hard after a long period of only exercising the finger that presses the button on the remote can result in injury. And don’t be too concerned with the numbers on your scale. Your weight might actually climb — muscles weigh more than fat — so aim for a certain look in your clothes rather than how much you weigh.
Also called: Annual checkup, Annual physical examination, Routine physical examination
Regular health exams and tests can help find problems before they start. They also can help find problems early, when your chances for treatment and cure are better. Which exams and screenings you need depends on your age, health and family history, and lifestyle choices such as what you eat, how active you are, and whether you smoke.
To make the most of your next check-up, here are some things to do before you go:
- Review your family health history
- Find out if you are due for any general screenings or vaccinations
- Write down a list of issues and questions to take with you