There is a strong desire to stay in shape. After all, the terms “fitness” and “health” are synonymous.
A high level of general fitness is linked to a lower chance of developing chronic diseases and a better ability to manage new health issues. Over the course of a person’s lifetime, increased fitness is also supportive of greater functionality and mobility.
Additionally, being active can enhance your short-term mood, focus, and sleep as well as daily functioning.Simply said, our bodies were made to move, and they function best when we’re in good physical shape.
To be fit, there are many different ways to go about it. For example, ballet dancers and bodybuilders and sprinters and gymnasts have very different fitness regimens. Additionally, fitness lacks a defined “look.” The truth is that a person’s appearance may not be the best predictor of their habits, amount of physical activity, or even degree of fitness.
What It Means to Be Fit
- There are five elements to physical fitness, according to the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans published by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS):
- Cardio respiratory Fitness A: common metric for this is your VO2 max. According to Abbie Smith-Ryan, PhD, professor and head of the Applied Physiology Laboratory at the University of North Carolina in Chapel Hill, your body’s capacity to absorb and use oxygen (which fuels all of your tissues) is directly tied to your health and quality of life.
- Musculoskeletal Fitness: includes endurance, muscle power and strength.
- Flexibility: This is the range of motion of your joints.
- Balance: To avoid fall and stay on your feet steady.
- Speed: This define as how quickly you can move.
In a widely cited peer-reviewed research publication from 1985, the distinction between “physical activity” (physical movement that results in energy expenditure), “exercise” (planned and organised physical activity), and “physical fitness” was created. The study defined physical fitness as a set of traits people possess or gain that determine their ability to carry out daily duties actively, attentively, and without suffering undue weariness. According to that study, flexibility, body composition, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and cardio respiratory endurance are all factors that can be used to evaluate fitness.
Fitness translates into function in the real world, claims Dr. Smith-Ryan. Do you have the ability to carry your groceries or climb stairs without getting out of breath, for example? Can your children play in the backyard? Can you go up the stairs? Fitness and exercise are distinct concepts since fitness is a byproduct of exercise.
Types of Fitness
A well-rounded training routine must include each of the essential components of fitness. The following are the ones that HHS identified as essential components of weekly exercise. They are all drawn from the Americans’ Physical Activity Guidelines. (It’s crucial to remember that some definitions of fitness also include additional components, such as physical stamina, strength, and speed as well as those not included above.)
Aerobic (Cardiovascular) Exercise
Aerobic exercise is always the first step in a fitness routine, and for good reason. This type of exercise, usually referred to as cardiovascular exercise or cardio, increases your heart rate and breathing rate while also improving your cardio respiratory fitness, according to the American Heart Association.
The Physical Activity Guidelines list brisk walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, aerobic fitness classes (including kickboxing), tennis, dance, yard work, tennis and jumping rope as examples of aerobic exercise.
Enhancing mobility and overall functioning, especially as you age, requires strength training.Age-related muscle mass loss can dramatically reduce quality of life. Strength training build strong bones and muscle and boost stamina, and more muscle protects your body from falls and the fractures in case of any accident or injury that can occur as you age, according to Robert Sallis, MD, a family medicine physician at Kaiser Permanent in Fontana, California, and the chairman of the Exercise Is Medicine initiative with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM).
The ACSM defines strength or resistance training as an activity “designed to improve muscular fitness by exercising a muscle or a muscle group against external resistance.” The HHS Physical Activity Guidelines list weightlifting, using resistance bands or your own body weight, carrying heavy items, and even vigorous gardening as activities that meet this need.
Flexibility and Mobility
Flexibility is the ability of tendons, muscles, and ligaments to stretch, whereas mobility is the capacity of the body to move a joint through its full range of motion.
According to the HHS Physical Activity Guidelines, there is no set recommendation for the number of minutes you should spend performing flexibility or mobility-improving exercises (such as stretching), and the health benefits of those exercises are unknown due to a lack of research on the subject. The suggestions emphasise the importance of flexibility training for preserving physical fitness, nevertheless.
It is stated in the recommendations that older people’s weekly fitness routines should include balance exercises.
Rest and Recovery
By planning rest and recovery days, your body will have enough time to repair the typical muscle damage that results from exercise. Exercise inevitably puts the body’s muscles under stress. By repairing or recuperating from that stress, you increase your strength (and fitness). However, you must allow the body ample downtime to relax in order for it to fully recover from a workout.Recovery days can either be completely devoid of physical activity or they can be active recovery days where you do light, low-impact exercises like light yoga or strolling. Usually, Dr. Sallis suggests taking a daily fitness regiment, such a 10-minute stroll outside.
The purpose of rest and recovery days is not to laze around on the couch; rather, it’s to avoid overexerting yourself to the point that physical activity becomes difficult or taxing.
Health Benefits of Exercise
Increased activity greatly reduces the risk of chronic diseases like type 2 diabetes, cancer, and heart disease. The creator of New York City’s Movement Vault, a mobility and movement company, Grayson Wickham, DPT, CSCS, asserts that fitness “is the one thing that will help prevent almost any type of disease.”
The American Medical Association and ACSM collaborated to develop the Exercise Is Medicine initiative in 2007. Its goals were to provide exercise resources to people of all abilities and integrate physical activity evaluation into routine medical treatment. The scientific advantages of physical activity are still clear and can be just as effective as any pharmacological agent in preventing and treating a wide range of chronic diseases and medical issues, according to research.
Here’s a breakdown of those benefits:
Exercise Boosts Your Mood
Regular exercise has been shown to be a protective factor against depression and anxiety, according to research. In addition, multiple studies have demonstrated that exercise can help treat and manage the symptoms of depression. According to study, physical activity may alter the brain in a favorable way and reduce inflammation, which has been shown to be increased in those who are depressed.
Exercise Is Good for Sleep
Your capacity to sleep through the night can be improved with regular exercise. 29 of the 34 studies that made up the systematic review came to the conclusion that exercise lengthened and improved the quality of sleep. It may also cause chemical changes in the brain that promote sleep, assist regulate your circadian cycle (so that you feel alert and sleepy at the appropriate times), and, according to a recent study, minimize pre-sleep worry that may otherwise keep you awake.
It’s crucial to remember that high-intensity exercise should not be done too close to night (within an hour or two), but rather earlier in the day.