Physical fitness refers to one’s overall measure of physical, bodily health; it is typically made up of things such as cardiovascular endurance and body composition, as well as overall muscular strength and stamina.
Just because you are active doesn’t mean you’re fit. People who appearskinny aren’t necessarily healthy either. Physical fitness is the ability to function effectively throughout your workday, perform your usual other activities and still have enough energy left over to handle any extra stresses or emergencies which may arise.
1. Cardiorespiratory (CR) endurance – the efficiency with which the body delivers oxygen and nutrients needed for muscular activity and transports waste products from the cells.
2. Muscular strength – the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort.
3. Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements with a sub-maximal force for extended periods of times.
4. Flexibility – the ability to move the joints or any group of joints through an entire, normal range of motion.
5. Body composition – the percentage of body fat a person has in comparison to his or her total body mass.
This is the reason why diet & exercise is so important. It helps improve or maintain all the components of physical and motor fitness through sound, progressive, mission specific physical training.
The Deal with Exercise
You have to adhere to the basic exercise principles in order to develop an effective program. The same principles of exercise apply to everybody–elite athletes to the weekend jogger.
Here are the basics when setting up your fitness program:
Working out once a week isn’t going to cut it folks. Exercising often in several of the fitness components each week is best. For example, cardio 3-5 days, strength training 2-3 days and round it out with some stretching 1-2 days per week (yoga, etc). Regularity is also important in resting, sleeping, and following a sensible diet.
The intensity (how hard) and/or duration (how long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness. For example, if you have maxed out a particular rep range for a specific amount of weight–pick up heavier weights. If you have been jogging on the treadmill for 20 minutes for the last few weeks, add some more time to each session.
To be effective, a program should include activities that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the others.
Mix things up. Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom and increases motivation and results. For example, use different machines or switch out to free weights.
Training must be geared toward specific goals. For example, people become better runners if their training emphasizes running. Although swimming is great exercise, it does not improve a 2-mile-run time as much as a running program does.
A hard day of training for a given component of fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day for that component and/or muscle group(s) to help permit recovery. Another way to allow recovery is to alternate the muscle groups exercised every other day, especially when training for strength and/or muscle endurance.
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