What comes to mind when you tend to hear the word fitness? Is it a person that's flaunting 6-pack abs or showcasing a conventionally slim body on Instagram? To understand what's meant by the concept of fitness, it's essential to realize that it encompasses more than just physical features.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical fitness, in humans, is defined as a person's ability to carry out daily tasks with alertness and vigor. While performing said tasks, they won't experience undue fatigue and still have enough energy to enjoy their free time while being more than capable of responding to emergencies.
In a nutshell, it is the state of health and well-being that enables us to carry out tasks efficiently.
What are the components of fitness?
- Cardiorespiratory endurance: It is measured by how quickly or how long a person can perform a task and how it impacts the human body like heartbeat and oxygen levels.
- Muscular endurance: This typically measures how many times a person can repeat a particular task like push-ups and sit-ups.
- Muscular power: This means how much force a person can exert while doing a specific activity.
- Flexibility: It is typically measured by how far a muscle group can be stretched or a joint can be moved.
- Balance: A simple test like standing on one leg can help determine the balance of a person.
- Speed: This refers to the pace of how quickly a person can move from one point to another.
- Body composition: This is the amount of fat on the body versus other tissues such as muscle, bones, and skin.
Factors that affect physical fitness:
- Heredity: The transfer of some traits from one person to their offspring is called heredity. Thus, some aspects, like body size, are transferred through genes.
- Lifestyle: Day to day activities of an individual also affects fitness. Laziness or dozing around can have a negative impact on a person’s fitness levels.
- Age: The fitness levels of the human body decrease with age. A young adult is more likely to be healthier than an elderly person.
- Diet: A proper diet with appropriate nutrition is needed for fitness. Consumption of foods like unhealthy burgers, processed items, etc. can harm the human body.
- Health: Of course, a healthy person tends to be more fit than a sick person.
Benefits of fitness:
- Reduces medical conditions:
The arteries' pressure is lowered through regular fitness exercises, and the heart doesn’t have to work hard to maintain adequate blood pressure, thus resulting in an active and healthier heart. As a result, it helps to treat or prevent chronic medical conditions like blood pressure and cholesterol.
- Boosts immune system:
Physical activity clears the airways and makes the lungs stronger. It also helps prevent colds, flu, and other bacterial diseases. Furthermore, exercises cause changes in white blood cells (WBC), which helps boost our immune system.
- Reduces obesity:
Daily exercise reduces the fat from the waist, thus slowing down the development of abdominal obesity.
- Helps with mental health:
Physical activity has been proven to help a person’s mental well-being by increasing the blood flow to the brain and releasing beneficial hormones. It helps in regulating sleep schedules, reduces stress levels, and creates a feeling of self-confidence.
Every Person is Different
By going over all of the information we have shared, we hope you have learned that fitness tends to encompass a lot. That’s why there’s no ‘one-size-fits-all’ when it comes to a person being fit. Due to heredity and a person’s natural state playing a role, not every human body can be the same.
Not everyone can exercise to achieve 6-pack abs or a model-like figure. Some people naturally have more curves and a bigger skeletal frame.
What's important is the realization that one should focus on leading a healthy life compatible with their body-type and natural composition instead of risking harming your health when trying to follow someone else's lifestyle.
Always refer to your health provider to ensure you are sticking to a healthy diet and exercise program that’s suitable for your body.