What is your age? Be it 20s, 30s, 40’s or more, if you have not made physical activity a habit, begin now. It is never early nor late when it comes to fitness. Yeah, fitness routine along with right nutrition are important to lead a healthy life and maintain a proper lifestyle. If you are fit, your energy levels increase, your organ functionality increase, on the top of it complications of chronic diseases minimize.
What Is Fitness?
Fitness is not just being physically fit. It is a person’s physical as well as the mental state of health. In simple a physically fit person may not be functionally optimal if he is mentally unwell. Ironically, the mental fitness can only be achieved when the body functions well. Getting confused? Do not complicate, keep it simple. Exercise regularly, eliminate stress, relax your mind, and eat right.
The Components of Fitness
Basic fitness have 4 main components embedded: speed, strength, stamina and flexibility. Exercise scientists have identified nine components that comprise the definition of fitness. They include:
- Strength – the extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance
- Power – the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements.
- Agility – the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions
- Balance – the ability to control the body’s position, either stationary or while moving
- Flexibility – the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue
- Local Muscle Endurance – a single muscle’s ability to perform sustained work
- Cardiovascular Endurance – the heart’s ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it
- Strength Endurance – a muscle’s ability to perform a maximum contraction time after time
- Co-ordination– the ability to integrate the above listed components so that effective movements are achieved.
Of all the nine elements of fitness are the most important to develop.
Why Should I Be Fit?
- Decreased cholesterol
- Decreased risk of hypertension (or high blood pressure)
- Decreased risk of Type 2 diabetes
- Stress relief
- Better quality sleep
- Improved mental health
- Decreased risk of early death
- Increased bone density
All of these add up to your good health and overall lifestyle, helping your improve your quality of life. Moreover, fitness helps you get more active.
What Are the Advantages of Being More Active?
Now, more activeness means increasing energy levels in your body, avoiding health complications like hypertension or high blood pressure, diabetes, etc. With exercises you can make your overall body stronger.
How Can I Get Fit?
To take the first step towards being fit, several factors contribute. The main factors are listed below.
- Motivation Matters: There is nothing like self motivation. Encouragement helps get started. Pick a criteria that can be your motivator. It varies among individuals. Here are a few examples of some reasons:
- You can be a positive role model for your kids
- You can decrease your chances of developing Type 2 diabetes or hypertension
- You will look super good
- You can maintain ideal, healthy weight
- Lifestyle Change Is Required: The key is the change in lifestyle. Incorporate a regular exercise routine and plan to eat healthy.
- Most importantly, avoid junk food, bad habits, fizzy drinks, alcohol, smoking, etc.
- Also, ensure to get enough rest.
- Concentrate on your mental well-being too by eliminating unnecessary or bad thoughts, through meditation and encouraging positive vibes and keeping your cool.
- Try spending time outdoors in the sun, breath fresh air, participate in healthy activities.
- Swimming, fishing, gardening, even playing football with your kids should be a part of your lifestyle.
Types of Physical Activity
There are four types of fitness activities that can be incorporated into your physical activity routine:
- Anaerobic exercise – examples: football, tennis, sprinting, weight training, and skiing
- Cardiovascular/aerobic exercise – examples: running, cycling, walking, stair-climbing, rowing and dancing.
- Joint flexibility – examples: yoga and stretching exercises
- Muscular endurance and strength – examples: broad jump, vertical jump, and bench press
All these lifestyle changes and the physical activities can make you active than ever before.
How Much Exercise Is Required?
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services developed the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans after years of research. In 2018, a new set of guidelines is expected. The guidelines are applicable to adults aged between 18 and 64 years.
- At least two and half hour of moderate intensity or one and half hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week is required.
- Use all the major muscle groups to include strength training, at least twice a week or more.
- More health benefits can be achieved with 5 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity or 2½ hours of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity per week.
- Healthy pregnant women require at least 2½ hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity per week. Vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity can be continued only after consulting the doctor.
Does Walking Count?
Slow walking is a light-intensity activity, whereas brisk walking is a moderate-intensity activity. While brisk walk, you can walk, talk, but cannot sing. While doing vigorous-intensity exercise, one can only say a few words before catching on the breath. The goal is to continue following the guidelines, even when 65 years and older.
No More Excuses!
Many of us are aware of the importance of fitness, but perhaps have been busy with many many things in life like beginning the career, raising the family, etc. If you have never prioritized physical activity, begin now by setting reasonable goals. No more excuses can help.
To make it easy, begin with the activities you enjoy and slowly shift to other efficient activities. Whatever way, physical activity should be an essential part of your life. After all, being fit helps you stay younger inside and out. You, as a fit person, would be able to breeze through the next few decades of life feeling healthier and stronger.
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