Fitness refers to the ability to do physical activities and other elements of daily life and, more importantly, the capacity to do certain parts of strenuous activities without breaking or wearing down. The word ‘fitness’ was first used in the dictionary by Means, in 1874. Fitness has been defined as the condition of being able to endure or perform any given activity with minimum pain, discomfort, or risk of injury. It also refers to the ability of a body to heal itself and to avoid any permanent or lasting disability or disfigurement.
In general, fitness relates to the average person’s capacity to do physical work. However, there are many different factors that may affect an individual’s ability to do work, such as his/her physical strength, stamina, endurance, flexibility, balance, and body composition. In order for an individual to meet his/her fitness goals, it is important to determine what those goals are. Fitness should be evaluated on an individual basis, and a fitness program should be developed that fits the individual’s lifestyle. For example, an individual who is constantly injured and unable to move around much would not be a good candidate for rehabilitation.
One of the most common forms of fitness involves skill-related activities. Skill-related tasks include but are not limited to, push-ups, sit-ups, sprints, skating, dancing, golf, tennis, martial arts and other sports-related activities. These activities build strength, coordination, stamina, flexibility, balance, reaction time, and motor control. The skill-related component of fitness is necessary throughout life, because some skill-related activities cannot be mastered without consistent training and practice. These activities also allow individuals to develop and reinforce the acquired skills and to practice self-control and self-awareness.
The second component of good health-related fitness is muscular endurance. Muscular endurance is comprised of muscular endurance during the normal daily tasks such as walking, climbing stairs, using the restroom, and working at the computer. Individuals who can perform these tasks for a longer period of time without tiring or straining their muscles are considered to have good physical health-regarding fitness. This type of fitness should be developed during childhood and adolescence, although it can be maintained throughout one’s lifetime.
The last component of good fitness involves muscular strength. Muscular strength includes strength training, which exercise and tones the muscles, and aerobic exercise, which increase oxygen intake and expenditure through cardiovascular (cardio) and respiratory processes. Cardiovascular (cardio) fitness is necessary for achieving and maintaining optimal health. It also helps maintain and improve body weight and body fat, reduces blood pressure and increases pulse rate, and increases the amount of lean body mass.
In addition to aerobic activity and muscle strength training, it is important to develop resistance training. Resistance training improves bone density, muscle tone, overall body composition, and body posture. Resistance training also improves the function of joints and ligaments, which reduces the risk of developing osteoporosis. To achieve and maintain good fitness goals and prevent the development of chronic diseases, an individual should eat a balanced diet that is rich in protein, carbohydrate, and low in fat. The most recommended diet is one that is low in saturated fat and cholesterol but high in fiber. Drinking large amounts of water throughout the day is another way to maintain good health.