Physical fitness could mean a couple of things: general fitness, and the ability to perform specific physical tasks. Cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, and strength, body composition, and flexibility – all come under the ‘physical fitness’ umbrella. Also, an individual is usually deemed physically fit when they can meet certain physical demands during an emergency scenario.
Physical fitness denotes the capacity of your blood vessels, heart, muscles, and lungs to perform at optimal levels. In the past, the term ‘physical fitness’ implied the ability to perform everyday tasks without getting fatigued. However, with the onset of the industrial revolution and modern lifestyle changes, this definition is no longer deemed fit (pun intended!).
Difference Between Physical Fitness and Exercise
The terms physical activity and exercise are often interchangeably used. Physical activity denotes energy expenditure brought about by physical movement. It encompasses the full continuum of activity – from maximal exertion to extremely low resting levels.
Exercise is essentially a part of physical activity. Exercise’s distinguishing trait is that it’s structured in nature and focuses on developing and maintaining physical fitness. The term ‘physical conditioning’ indicates an increase in physical fitness levels via the body’s adaptation to a training program.
Components of Physical Fitness
As mentioned above, physical fitness can be categorized into multiple parts, based on health and skill. All of the parts are key to solid physical performance, which includes sports. The health-related aspects play a significant role in reducing chronic disease risk and promoting wellness and good health.
Skill-related components assist with performing well in activities that need motor skills, such as sports. Speed, for instance, helps in track and field sports. Among older adults, agility, balance, and coordination help prevent falls and improve reaction times during situations that warrant an immediate response.
The Significance of Physical Fitness
People who are in top physical shape tend to be healthier, have no obesity issues and related health conditions, and are also less susceptible to cardiac problems. To be mentally fit or at peace with yourself, being physically active is vital. Physical fitness is only half of the story. Mental peace is the other half. If these two are not synchronized, coming to terms with the different ups and downs in life and tackling them can become difficult.
Doing some form of exercise or physical activity regularly will help increase flexibility and strength, control weight, improve endurance, improve bone mass, and also boost self-esteem. You would also experience a significant drop in stress, depression, anxiety, and your risk for high blood pressure would go down.
Besides expending energy, physical training also provides a full quota of energy required for the rest of the day. Your immune system gets a boost as well with regular physical activities. A strong and healthy immune system is needed to fight cold, fever, cancers, and several other diseases. It also helps accelerate recovery from an injury. The lesser you fall ill, the more time you will have in your hands to live your life and work toward achieving your dreams.
Building Better Bones
The correlation between physical fitness and healthy bones is something most people do not truly appreciate or realize. Exercising is usually associated with burning fat and building muscle. But the fact that it helps build stronger bones also needs to be accounted for. The kind of exercise that helps build bone is strength- or weight-bearing in nature – which includes weightlifting, walking, playing field sports, etc. The bones get strengthened as a direct outcome of these different activities. That is why indulging in different muscle-strengthening activities regularly is essential.
There are multiple ways in which strength- and weight-bearing activities help build stronger bones. These activities seemingly stimulate bone formation. Moreover, physical activity leads to muscle strength. That means muscles that are pushed to the brim grow stronger, thereby benefiting the bones. With improved strength, coordination, and balance, the risks attached to falling and getting a bone injured are significantly reduced.
Healthier, thicker bones help fight against arthritis – a medical condition that entails chronic joint inflammation. When this inflammation is not brought under check, it could end up like osteoporosis. Osteoporosis weakens bones over a period, making them extremely fragile. When osteoporosis strikes, even the simplest of physical activities become difficult to perform or could end up fracturing your bones.
That could lead to a crippling, painful condition that cannot be reversed. While it’s true that older people are usually at the receiving end of osteoporosis and other bone-related conditions, it’s the improper formation of bone during a person’s childhood and adulthood that lays the foundation for the disease. Developing stronger bones during childhood and adolescence would help combat osteoporosis and other similar diseases later in life.
Becoming Physically Fit
If you’re not physically fit, becoming one entails a lifestyle change. You would have to make exercise and healthy food a part of your routine. Eating healthier doesn’t necessarily mean completely avoiding junk – but you need to bring down your consumption of pizzas, burgers, fizzy drinks, etc. considerably. Bad habits such as smoking and drinking excessively need to go out of the window too. If you don’t sleep well or do not give your body the time to heal itself, your fitness levels could take a hit. Besides adopting healthy eating and sound sleeping habits, you may indulge in some light physical activities or sports such as bicycling, fishing, hiking, swimming, and even playing some football with your children.
The best method to incorporate exercise and physical activity into your life is to keep things enjoyable and fun. If you do the same kind of training, you will soon get bored and end up quitting the routine. By throwing in a mix of physical activities, you are not just keeping things fun but are also becoming a lot more effective at shedding those extra pounds since your body would not hit a plateau by being subjected to the same kind of exercises over a period. It’s also imperative to continually equip yourself with knowledge about exercise and physical activity so that every time you feel demotivated or are down, the benefits attached to being physically active would give you the push you needed.