What Is Fitness?
Fitness is an inclusive term that refers to the total condition of your body, mind and spirit. Physical fitness encompasses all aspects of health, including but not limited to, healthy weight, a healthy body mass index (BMI), strong muscles and bones, an active digestive system, and a healthy attitude towards life. Being fit does not necessarily mean losing weight. It just means being able to participate in regular physical activity.
Fitness is an overall state of health and well being and, more specifically, the capacity to do specific tasks, sports and activities. Fitness involves maintaining good body composition, increasing muscular strength, and maintaining or improving cardiovascular fitness. Health professionals use the terms health, fitness, and health maintenance to describe the process of becoming fit. Health and fitness imply a balanced approach that considers wellness of the whole body as well as the functioning of each body part. Fitness implies a well balanced diet and adequate sleep.
The key components of an effective fitness program comprise strength training, flexibility exercises, cardiovascular exercises, balanced nutrition, and adequate rest. Health and fitness professionals agree that a combination of diet, physical activity and psychological counseling can maximize health and fitness. Some other components of the fitness program may include stress management techniques, such as relaxation techniques, meditation, deep breathing or even yoga. Aerobic exercise is important for promoting optimal health, but too much aerobic exercise can be harmful to the athlete’s performance.
The most common definition of fitness in the United States is the ability to meet the needs of the individual under normal circumstances without relying on extraordinary effort or risk. The American College of Sports Medicine defines physical fitness as the capacity to engage in vigorous, prolonged, repetitive exercise involving increasing intensity over a period of time. It may be viewed from a variety of perspectives. Physically fit individuals may have achieved health status comparable to the athlete’s, whereas the athlete may be viewed as having exceptional stamina. From a social perspective, physically fit people are attractive and may enjoy better health status.
When it comes to the definition of fitness, the actual physical activity involved in fitness programs is considered an essential component of the definition. It is not the only component. It can be an effective tool for promoting fitness when combined with a healthy diet and sufficient sleep. In the United States, fitness means different things to different people. For some, fitness means fat-burning cardio exercise; for others, fitness means weight-lifting and swimming.
Overall, fitness has been defined as a mixture of skill-related and health-related components. It is not necessarily an end in itself. It can be the beginning of an improved life-style or it can be the means by which improvement takes place. A well-balanced exercise program should include all the three components. That is, a good fitness regime should incorporate cardiovascular activity, muscle toning and flexibility, and balance training.