Fitness—hearing this word makes people think of huge guys with bulging muscles and it carries the image of the Incredible Hulk. However, it also adds up to the fire in the hearts and minds of those endeavoring to achieve physical fitness. Although a Hulk-looking physique may be an indication of a fit person, it is just the icing on the cake. In this article, we are going to break down the basics of physical fitness: what it is, its components, why it is important, and how to achieve a physically fit body. Without further ado, let’s get down to business.
What is physical fitness? The very essence of it is when your body systems work efficiently, thus allowing you to perform daily tasks without tiring out easily. Hence, you can do schoolwork, household chores, and still, have enough energy for sports and other recreational activities. It also allows a person to meet the demands needed in an emergency, such as when a friend runs into an accident or if immediate help is needed at home.
What are its components? The five components commonly taught in school curriculums, gyms, as well as health clubs are cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. The first one, cardiovascular endurance, refers to the ability of the heart and lungs to work together, fueling the whole body to sustain loads for long periods.
Activities in this category include swimming, jogging, and cycling. Muscular strength or simply called ‘strength’ refers to the amount of force the muscles can produce. Activities include bench press, bicep curls, and deadlifts. Usually, this component can be measured by a push-up test to see how much weight an individual can lift or how much resistance a person can withstand.
On the other hand, muscular endurance, as the name itself tells us, uses certain muscles that are forced to perform repeatedly and continuously without fatigue. Stationary bikes, elliptical machines, and cycling are all activities that fall under muscular endurance. Next, flexibility refers to the joints and their ability to move through a wide range of motion without getting injured. Gymnasts and ballet dancers are excellent examples of people with flexibility. This aspect is often measured using the sit-and-reach test.
Finally, body composition, as the name stands for, refers to tissues such as fat, muscle, organ, and bone that make up the entire human body. Body composition is usually shown as your body fat percentage versus your lean body mass. Hydrostatic weighing, skin calipers, bioelectrical impedance, are examples of the most common ways to measure body composition.
Why is being physically fit considered as important? As you might expect, there are countless benefits in being fit—both immediate and long term. In the US alone, 86% of healthcare costs and 7 out of 10 deaths are due to chronic diseases, and basically, people who ignore the significance of physical fitness. Although conditions such as stroke, diabetes, and heart disease cannot be prevented, the risks of getting these can be greatly reduced by staying physically active.
So, being physically fit will not only save you money, but it will also save your life. Life expectancy and reduced risk of getting injured are also some of the benefits of being fit. A stronger muscle means you’re less prone to fall and good bone health minimizes the risk of getting a fracture or the like should you tumble.
Therefore, how do you get a physically fit body? There’s no secret, no shortcut, no easy way to achieve this. But, to spare you the effort, here’s the equation: proper nutrition + regular exercise + adequate rest = physical fitness.