Physical fitness is your ability to perform daily tasks and routine physical activities without fatigue. It’s a state of physical health and wellness that reflects your body’s ability to participate in various sports, occupation and daily activities. Generally, physical fitness is attained through proper nutrition, regular exercise and adequate rest. Physical exercise is vital for good health and overall wellness.
Components of fitness
Fitness has five components that includes cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition and flexibility.
Cardio respiratory fitness
Cardiorespiratory fitness indicates your endurance level during physical activity. It depends on the energy available through the circulatory and respiratory systems in your body. You can increase your body’s cardiorespiratory endurance by exercising. Regular exercising strengthens the heart muscle, which helps it to pump more blood per heartbeat. In addition, muscle tissues grow small arteries so that blood flows to the working muscles. This ensures that the oxygen taken by the lungs is used more effectively by your body. So, exercise enhances the efficiency of the body to absorb, distribute and use oxygen. Over time, this improves your overall health and wellness.
Many studies published on medical journals have suggested that cardiorespiratory fitness can help in reducing the risk of health conditions like heart disease, lung cancer, type 2 diabetes and stroke.
“Muscular strength is the ability of muscles to exert force during an activity.” – US Department of Health and Human Services.
Strength of your muscles will determine how active your life will be. Muscular strength can be increased by building more muscles, which involves regular exercises and intake of adequate protein. A healthy balanced diet including protein, carbohydrate, fat, water, vitamins and minerals through natural sources of food and drinks is needed for muscle formation. And regular exercises are vital for strengthening the muscles in your body. People with more muscle strength live an active life and have energy to work and indulge in all sorts of sports for relaxation.
Muscular endurance is the ability of your body’s muscles to continue exerting force without getting tired very soon. Endurance capacity of muscles can be enhanced by physical exercises, supported by protein intake. Exercises for endurance training focus on the cardiovascular system, which provides oxygenated blood to muscles for continued functioning. Muscular endurance is an important component of fitness that enables us to live an active life, a determining factor for health and happiness.
Fitness is also dependent on your body composition that includes muscles, bones, fat and water. The body composition is a measure of the relative amounts of muscles, bones, fat and water in your body. You can have the same body weight, but the ratio of each of the components (muscles, bones, fat and water) can be changed radically. For example, a lean muscular person may have more weight than a person with same height and waist circumference but less muscles. This is because muscles weigh more than fat. A healthy body composition comprises of lower percentage of fat and a higher percentage of non-fat mass (muscle, bones, and water). Knowledge of your body composition keeps you motivated to continue exercising and eating a healthy diet while trying to achieve optimum fitness.
Flexibility is vital for body’s joint health as it allows you to perform a range of movement. It enables your body to smoothly link together movements, without any injuries. Improved flexibility will make your movements more comfortable throughout the day. Your body’s flexibility can be improved by practicing stretching exercises like yoga or Tai Chi. These activities are designed to stretch joints, ligaments and tendons to make your movement smooth and fluid. Adopting stretching activities into your daily routine is the easiest way to achieve whole body flexibility.
Benefits of exercise
Regular exercising has immense benefits for your health and overall wellness. Regardless of age, sex or physical ability exercises or some form of physical activity benefits each one of us. Physical exercise makes you healthier and happier due to the following benefits:
Exercising for just 150 minutes per week regularly can help you in weight loss and maintenance of a healthy weight. Any form of physical activity will burn calories. So, it’s not necessary to visit a gym to shed the extra calories. Just be active to reap the benefits of exercise – even taking the stairs instead of the elevator or doing additional household chores will work. But make sure that you are consistent.
Improved health conditions
Exercising regularly helps to combat health conditions like stroke, high blood pressure, Type 2 diabetes, depression, anxiety, metabolic syndrome, arthritis, falls and some types of cancer. Physical activities boost production of high-density lipoprotein (HDL) cholesterol (good” cholesterol), which decreases the unhealthy triglycerides. It ensures smooth flowing of blood that reduces risks of cardiovascular diseases.
If you exercise regularly, you will have a fit body that boosts your confidence and improves self-esteem. Hitting the gym or a brisk walk after a stressful day can be a mood lifter. During physical activities various brain chemicals are released, leaving you feeling happier and relaxed.
Exercise boosts energy
Regular physical activities help to improve muscle strength and muscle endurance. When you exercise, oxygen and nutrients are delivered to every cell of your body and the cardiovascular system works more efficiently. Improved health of your heart and lungs means that you have more energy for your daily chores.
Having problem falling asleep? Then exercise is your antidote. Exercising or practicing some form of physical activity will help you to fall asleep faster and get better sleep. Just make sure that you don’t exercise before bedtime, or you may get too energized for sleep.
Improved sex life
Out of shape people lack in confidence, needed for physical intimacy. Exercising regularly will not only increase your energy but also improve your physical appearance, giving you confidence to boost your sex life.
Boost social life
Engaging in a physical activity or exercising regularly is good for your social life. Taking regular walks in the park or going to the gym brings you in contact with like-minded people. So, you can easily connect with them and make friends. It makes you happy and enhances your health and wellness.
Make exercise a habit
Each one of us have a different perception of fitness. But the bottom line is that practicing some form of exercise regularly will benefit your health. The more exercise you do daily, the healthier you will feel and look.
Most people cite lack of time as the reason for not exercising regularly. However, health experts have suggested that even short bouts of 10-minute segments of physical activity will provide you the health benefits of exercising.
The goals for physical fitness must be realistic to achieve success. Make small changes in your life to fit more physical activity into your daily life. For instance, take the stairs instead of the elevator and walk to the neighborhood grocery store instead of driving. Start gradually and be prepared; but be consistent.
Introduce variation to your exercise regimen to make it a habit. If you go swimming one day, go for cycling or walking the next day. Play a game of soccer or basketball with your kid. Have a plan B for the rainy days – join a community gym, a health club or consider buying an exercise bike. Make exercising as regular as brushing your teeth or sleeping.
Physical fitness is achievable with some discipline in your lifestyle. Start today with the first session of exercising or any physical activity – and continue with it. This small step will pay off in future.