What is Physical Fitness
Everyone would like to be considered physically fit. Physical fitness is a term that is commonly used, but you may wonder what it actually means. According to the USDHHS, physical fitness refers to a set of attributes that a person possesses that relate to their ability to perform certain physical activities.
Five key elements are necessary to be considered physically fit. These include muscle strength, muscle endurance, flexibility, cardiorespiratory endurance and body composition. If a person isn’t considered fit in one of these areas, he cannot be considered physically fit. Understanding what each of these terms mean will help you understand what is involved in physical fitness.
Muscle strength refers to the muscle’s ability to exert force throughout an activity. Muscles can be strengthened by working them against the resistance of weight or gravity. Weight lifting and performing lunges are ways to improve muscle strength. When lifting weights, gradually increasing the total weight will help you gain more muscle strength. Also, walking up the stairs can help boost muscle strength in your legs.
Muscle endurance refers to the muscle’s ability to continue performing without getting tired. Intensive cardiovascular activities like jogging and dancing can help you develop muscle endurance.
Flexibility means the range of motion around your joints. Good flexibility is important because it can help you prevent injury. Enrolling in a basic strength training program or swimming can help you lengthen muscles and achieve more flexibility.
Cardiorespiratory endurance refers to the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to provide energy to the body during a sustained period of physical activity. Boosting cardiorespiratory endurance can be obtained by performing simple cardio activities like walking, biking and swimming. Start out slowly and for short periods of time. From there, work your way up to a longer workout at a more vigorous pace.
Body composition refers to the total amount of fat, muscle and other parts contained in the body. To assess body composition, more is involved than simply knowing your total weight. BMI tests can reveal how much fat and lean mass you have on your body. Lean mass includes bones, tendons, muscles and ligaments. Building more muscle contributes to a faster metabolism and can lead to weight loss.
Setting Fitness Goals
Set short and long term goals. If your goal is to walk for an hour, first set the goal to walk 15 minutes and work your way up. By doing this, you will avoid getting discouraged and ultimately meet your long term goal. Exercising regularly for a minimum of 5 times a week, for at least 30 minutes each time will help you achieve physical fitness.
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