Fitness is a condition of physical well-being and overall health and, more importantly, the ability to do daily functions, activities and sports without limitation. Physical fitness is normally achieved through proper nutrition, light Moderate-vigorous exercise, adequate rest, and adequate restorative sleep. To achieve maximum fitness, it is important for an individual to have a balanced lifestyle that combines diet, regular exercise and participation in fun, low-impact physical activities. For example, even the best athlete will not be able to compete at the high level at the Olympics if he or she does not have enough rest between training sessions. Therefore, it is important for an individual to learn the basics of fitness and adopt a regular routine for maintenance.
Proper conditioning of the muscles, ligaments and tendons of the body enables the body to move properly and efficiently. In addition, fitness enables the organs in the body to function properly. The major benefit of physical activity is increased mobility, endurance, muscular strength and flexibility, balance, endurance, flexibility and bone mineral density. Fitness involves specific types of exercises which are designed to increase muscle mass, reduce fat and build muscle tone and strength. Other benefits of fitness include cardiovascular fitness, weight reduction, decreased risk of osteoporosis, decreased risk of hypertension and diabetes, increased musculoskeletal performance, improved sensory function, improved balance and gait.
Fitness is usually measured by certain tests including resting heart rate, maximum oxygen consumption, pulmonary artery response time, cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle strength, muscle power, muscle co-ordination, total body function, and body composition. These are measures of overall health that can be directly related to physical fitness. Some of these tests are often used in clinical settings, while others may only be used for screening purposes. Based on results of these tests, a diagnosis of the individual’s general health status is determined and personalized fitness programs are developed to promote optimal health.
Anaerobic fitness, also called anaerobic conditioning, is the process by which the body uses energy to complete a task. It is measured using parameters such as maximum oxygen intake, maximum heart rate, time and speed at which the maximum energy was expended, percentage of total heart output recovered, and muscle strength. Anaerobic fitness is often assessed during treadmill, bicycle and running tests. Aerobic performance can be improved by increasing the total amount of calories that are burned during exercise. Aerobics can improve physical, mental and emotional health by decreasing stress, tension and depression. Exercise can also prevent and relieve common diseases and symptoms such as high blood pressure, arthritis and asthma.
Flexibility, strength and stamina are the three domains of physical functioning or action. These domains are measured using the same tests used to assess fitness, but on different scales. The domains are flexibility, strength and stamina and are commonly measured in minutes, hours, days or weeks. Flexibility refers to the ability of joints to move freely; strength refers to how much an object can be lifted; and stamina measures the effort and fatigue required to complete a certain task, such as walking, running or swimming. These are often measured during exercises such as push-ups, sit-ups, jump roping or balance training.
Muscles, or muscle fibers, consist of bundles of tissues filled with glycogen (a sugar molecule). These bundles are covered by connective tissue. Muscle fiber type (type I) determines the rate and type of energy a muscle requires to function. Types II and III have lost their collagen and elastic fibers, rendering them ineffective for repeated physical activity. Resistance training increases the amount of muscles available for use.
muscular endurance, on the other hand, is associated with body composition. A person with a low body weight, low muscular endurance, and poor health conditions have a low total fitness level. Muscular endurance can be improved through regular aerobic exercise, strength training, stretching and bodybuilding. A study involving children showed that those who had higher fitness levels were less likely to develop asthma or allergies.
In conclusion, all physical activity plays an important role in maintaining a healthy body composition. Fitness activities should not be done in excess or too frequently. Instead, a daily routine should be made, incorporating exercise into the daily schedule for maintenance of fitness. Fitness exercises should be combined with stretching, relaxation, proper diet, sleep and other factors to promote good health. A balanced lifestyle must be maintained.