NASM PT, WLS, FNS
According to the dictionary, Fitness is the condition of being physically fit and healthy.
Its synonyms are good health, strength, robustness, vigor, athleticism, etc.
Each person according to their personality and likes can choose how to start their personal fitness journey, which will bring great health benefits as:
- Prevent chronic diseases (diabetes, cancer, heart attack, etc.)
- Improve body composition
- Improve balance and flexibility
- Gain strength and endurance
Fitness involves a series of activities that provide good health. You can choose an activity of your choice to improve your health and wellbeing: Weight Training, Yoga, Biking, Swimming, Dancing, Ice skating, playing a sport, etc.
When you decide to incorporate fitness as part of your life style it means that you want to be more active instead of just sedentary and you want to make healthier food choices.
What does being FIT mean?
Being physically fit involves a combination of different components as: Cardiorespiratory fitness, muscular strength, muscular endurance, body composition, flexibility, balance & coordination.
When your exercise routine involves a combination of all these, you get in the best shape and condition your body to a new and excellent fitness level.
Let’s review these:
- Cardiorespiratory training: When we talk about cardiorespiratory training we refer to walking, jogging, swimming, brisk walk, hiking, biking, etc.
Cardiorespiratory endurance indicates how well our bodies can supply fuel during physical activity through the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems, plus the heart muscle is strengthened so it’s able to pump more blood per heartbeat.
- Muscular Strength: Resistance training or weight lifting is a great proven way to gain muscular strength. According to the U.S department of health and human services muscular strength is the “ability of muscle to exert force during an activity”.
To build muscle an individual must exercise their muscles regularly and consume enough protein. Increasing your muscular strength not only improves your physical composition and metabolism but it also helps you correct your posture, prevent pain, and perform better during daily activities.
- Muscular Endurance: Fitness can include muscular endurance, which is the ability of a muscle to continue exerting force without tiring. Muscles that are specifically trained for endurance concerns the different types of muscle tissue – fast twitch and slow twitch fibers:
- Fast twitch fibers – contract quickly but get tired quickly. They use a lot of energy and are useful for sprints. They are whitish in color as they do not require blood to function.
- Slow twitch fibers – best for endurance work, they can carry out tasks without getting tired. They are found in core muscles. These fibers appear red as they rely on a good supply of oxygenated blood and contain stores of myoglobin.
Different exercises will promote fast twitch fibers, slow twitch fibers, or both. A sprinter will have comparatively more fast twitch fibers, whereas a long-distance runner will have more slow twitch fibers.
Body Composition: Body composition measures the relative amounts of muscle, bone, water, and fat. An individual can potentially maintain the same weight but radically change the ratio of each of the components that make up the body.
For instance, people with a high muscle (lean mass) ratio weigh more than those with the same height and waist circumference who have less muscle. Muscle weighs more than fat.
How can you make these measurements? You can get in contact with a health care or fitness professional to help you get your current body fat levels, BMI levels, and set goals to make the necessary adjustments to get your body in the best possible body composition levels.
- Flexibility: Flexibility is the range of movement across a joint. Flexibility is important because it improves the ability to link movements together smoothly and can help prevent injuries. Flexibility is specific to each joint and depends on a number of variables, including the tightness of ligaments and tendons.
Flexibility is increased by various activities, all designed to stretch joints, ligaments, and tendons. There are three types of exercise that are generally utilized to increase flexibility:
- Dynamic stretching – the ability to complete a full range of motion of a particular joint. This type of flexibility is used in standard “warming up” exercises as it helps ready the body for physical activity.
- Static-active stretching – holding the body or part of the body in a stretched position and maintaining that position for a period of time. One example of static-active stretching is the splits.
- Ballistic stretching – only to be used when the body is already warmed up and limber from exercise, it involves stretching in various positions and bouncing.
There are a number of ways to improve flexibility. A daily stretching regimen can be the simplest and most efficient way of achieving whole body flexibility.
Balance and Coordination: There are two types of balance: static and dynamic. Static balance is maintaining equilibrium when stationary, while dynamic balance is maintaining equilibrium when moving. We use our eyes, ears and ‘body sense’ to help retain our balance. Coordination is a complex skill that requires not only good balance, but good levels of other fitness components such strength and agility. Balance and coordination can be improved through practice and training within specific sports.
In conclusion, fitness can be applied by people in different ways, but an excellent exercise and training program should include a combination of all the components mentioned above. The National Academy of Sports Medicine has develop the OPT model, Optimum Performance Training which involves all the components mentioned above and helps an individual progress in a safe manner to their best fitness level.
Embarking on any regular exercise will be of benefit to your health and life. The more exercise that is carried out, the healthier an individual will look and feel, and that’s enough reason for you to make it part of your life style.
Live healthy and Happy.