In its simplest form, physical fitness refers to our bodies’ ability to function and perform against various challenges. The term can also include physiological fitness, which refers to the body’s ability to sustain normal functions even under conditions of extreme stress or severe illness. For many people, the definition of fitness means a specific number of calories spent on exercise or other forms of physical activity each week. Physical fitness is usually achieved through appropriate nutrition, moderate-intensity exercise, and adequate (quality) rest. There are four components that make up an effective fitness program: aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility training and balance training.
Aerobic exercise is the activity that increases blood flow to the muscles. It is important for everyone, but it is particularly important for those with an unhealthy body composition, such as obese people, because physical fitness depends on having sufficient amounts of oxygen in your blood and receiving exercise energy, such as running or bicycling. Aerobic exercise also helps to reduce the amount of fat stored in the body. For example, it is recommended that overweight people begin a steady fitness regimen to help them lose weight, even if their only method of losing weight is through dieting.
Strength training involves muscular contractions that use large groups of muscles and is the basis for most weight loss programs. It may be done separately or in conjunction with cardiovascular exercise. It is important to be careful with strength training, however, because too much of a compound (one of several primary muscle groups) can be just as harmful to the body as too little, especially when it is combined with endurance activities such as swimming or jogging. Also, if the goal of strength training is to build a large and powerful muscular frame, then one should consult with a physician before beginning a program.
Flexibility is an aspect of physical fitness that relates to the heart. It is often overlooked, but being flexible means that you have less stress on your joints and tendons and that you are more mobile. This is not only good from an aesthetic standpoint, but it can be an important factor in maintaining an optimal health state, since flexibility aids in keeping the joints mobile and increases the range of motion for those with an abnormally restricted range of motion.
Finally, a strong immune system is another important factor in your health-related fitness factors. The more toxins and bacteria you have in your system, the less healthy you will be. The easiest way to boost your immunity is to eat a healthy diet that is high in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean protein, and low in saturated fat. In addition, make sure to exercise regularly (and get your heart rate up first). You can learn more about your overall fitness level by taking an online test to find out what your VO2 max is and how to optimize your health with exercise, by taking a quiz.
Fitness has multiple aspects and the three main areas to focus on are flexibility, strength, and immunity. In addition, keep in mind that the type of exercise you select will also affect these three areas and the muscles you use throughout life will affect your reaction time, which is necessary for your overall fitness level. For example, if you want to improve your reaction time in your core area, you should use exercises that work those muscles, such as squats or pushups. However, if you want to improve your speed, then you would workout for interval or circuit training.