What is physical fitness or what does it mean to be physically fit? To put it in technical defined terms, fitness is a set of characteristics that people need to be able to complete physical activities. Being fit is defined by what type of activity you do, how long you do it, and at what level of intensity you are working.
Important measures of fitness include cardiorespiratory endurance plus muscular strength and flexibility. You need to check out your body composition and your muscular endurance. If you can pass all these with flying colors you may be physically fit.
Cardiorespiratory Endurance or Fitness
To start with, cardiorespiratory fitness is the ability of your body to supply you fuel during physical activities. Utilize activities and exercises that maintain your heart rate at a safe level for a certain period of time. Use swimming, walking, or bicycling as your exercise of choice for cardio. You may find that you are having fun while exercising. Do start slowly with any activity and gradually work up to a high or more intense pace.
When you think of muscular strength don’t think of Mr. Strong Man punching out Mr. Small guy, think of the force that muscles need to exert during activities. The best way to make your muscles more robust is pushing them against an opposing object or through resistance training. Resistance training can come from gravity or using weights. To gain muscle strength, lift weights or run up and down the stairs. Muscular strength is the capacity of the muscles to work without getting worn-out. You might want to combine resistance training with walking, jogging, dancing or bicycling.
Body composition is a component of fitness. You body’s composition is the relative amount of muscles, fat plus bone, tissues and muscles of your body. Your total body weight or what you see on the scale at the doctor’s office may not be different from visit to visit, but you are actually gaining muscle instead of fat. Consider your entire body composition when managing your weight and trying to be fit.
Range of motion is a phrase that is becoming more and more popular and heard in every gym you enter. Flexibility is the way the joints move and prevent injuries though every stage of your life. If you have great flexibility and good joint action you will probably feel much better even if you are 90. Try swimming or a basic stretching program or if you are more serious, take up yoga.
BMI (Body Mass Index)
To determine if you are physically fit learn about body mass indexing. This is a very common tool used to gage levels of physical fitness. BMI is used by medical professionals when diagnosing whether a person is at healthy, over or obese weight level. The basic formula to determining BMI is:
Your weight in pounds x 704.5 divided by your height in inches x your height in inches. The result should be between zero and more than thirty. If you are physically fit your BMI should be between 19 and 24.9. If you are between 25 and 29.9 you are considered heavy and an obese person has a BMI over 30. You don’t want to be obese; you look awful, feel dreadful, and might just have horrible diseases.
The Yuhasz Method (or skin fold test) of testing for fat content and physical fitness is not as common BMI, but it has been used in schools to test the health of students. Yuhasz measure total fat percentages by measuring the layer of fat that is directly under the skin. There are various points on your body that are tested using this method and after these six sites have been examined your body’s composition is determined. The triceps, abdomen, front of the thighs, below the shoulder blades and directly above your pelvis is included in skin-fold tests. In males you may also test your chest and in females testing is done on the back of the thighs. Calipers define a precise measurement of the thickness of the sub-skin fat layer. Weight, gender and age all donate to the calculation of physical fitness. If a male has between fifteen and seventeen percent body fat, they are considered fit. If the normal female resides between eighteen and twenty-two percent body fat, they are healthy. Athletes generally have quite a bit less body fat and they are considered ultra-fit.
What is Physically Fit?
Are you physically fit if you don’t exercise? According to personal trainers, no you are not fit at all no matter what size you are. When asked why exercise is not a part of their lifestyles answers from “I don’t like to sweat” to “Why?” are produced. You may not like to exercise but exercise is a vital part of being strong, healthy and physically fit. If you would only exercise two or three times every week you would feel a dramatic improvement in daily life. More energy, strength and the ability to run around without being tired could be your reward.
“I am physically fit because I am active. There is a bit of a Catch 22 here, you can only be fit if you re active, and you can only be active if you are fit. In other words, you cannot become fit simply by being active. Only by being fit can you become more active. It just gets worse. The answer is to maintain a level of fitness through consistent and challenging exercise programs. This is the only way to truly be physically fit. You can consider yourself physically fit when your body is able to do what you ask it to do. This comes from flexibility, endurance and strength.
Do you exercise or do you just fool yourself with the ideas that being active is all the exercise you need. Reconsider what you actually do and what you should be able to do. Can you touch our toes? No, you are not fit. Can you walk a mile without breathing hard? No, you are not physically fit. There is no “I am active so I am physically fit” answer. You need to exercise at least three to four times a week. Try to touch your toes and work up to walking a mile without breathing difficulties. You might just find that you feel so much better being “physically fit.”
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