What is Physical Fitness?
Fitness is hugely misunderstood. Everyone has his or her own opinion to explain fitness. General people or many fitness enthusiasts relate physical fitness with bodybuilding sport but it is not.
They measure fitness on the basis of mere aesthetics. Is it right to make opinions of anyone’s fitness on the basis of his or her looks? People often tell me that I am fit but everyone must understand that fitness and being healthy are different.
I think you should give this title to those who prove themselves efficient in different components of fitness.
Physical fitness is not about one thing. It has many components. If any of these components lack, he/she cannot be considered “fit”. For instance, a body builder can efficiently lift 200 kg in deadlift but if he is not able to run some miles continuously, he is not fit.
Likewise a runner can run for a longer period of time, but if he is not able to lift a good amount of weight as per his lean body mass then he is also not fit.
“Fitness” and “Healthy”
In today’s time, everyone is suffering from one disease or the other. Some complain of pain in the back and others have sugar problems, blood pressure issues etc. In such a condition, anyone will find it difficult to perform his or her activities of daily living i.e., ADL Activities efficiently.
By ADL Activities I mean, climbing stairs, washing clothes, sweeping the floor, sitting in and getting up from a chair, picking and placing the household or office things from one place to another. Your efficiency of performing such activities without pain and injuries will decide whether you are fit or not.
There is a major difference between Fitness and being healthy. Fitness is not just the ability to perform but the ability to endure as well. For how long you can perform a specific activity also decides the level of your physical fitness.
Fitness is all about “ Efficiency” whereas being “Healthy” simply means absence of any pathology or disease. You can work on the level of your body’s fitness with the help of Personal Trainer or the Master Trainer but you can never guarantee a person that he or she will live his or her life disease free.
Are You Fit ?
If a person climbs some floors with difficulty, he can not be considered as fit. Like wise lifting a submaximal weight leading to body pain does not fall under physical fitness.
“Efficiency” in performing the daily life activities is a vital requirement to stay “fit”.
How To Stay Fit ?
1. Work on the most ignored component i.e. Cardiorespiratory Endurance
This is true that there are few people who know the importance of running, swimming, jogging or cycling. You should acquire the knowledge that even if you want to lift heavy, it certainly depends upon the condition and ability of your heart and lungs that how long they can provide oxygen to your working muscles so that you can lift heavy.
Your muscles need oxygen to carry out activities in an efficient manner. The more the availability of the oxygen is, the more you can lift weight or stretch a particular activity without getting fatigue.
The capacity of your heart and lungs to deliver oxygen whether you go for a run or perform strength training, totally depends upon how you train them. But do you really train your heart and lungs or do you know how to train both?
Well, it is easy. Perform those movements which are continuous and place maximal load on them. For example running some miles, skipping, swimming, cycling, spinning etc.
2. Focus on your Muscular Endurance
When you perform various cardio activities such as running and skipping, the efficiency of your muscles increases. They learn to contract for a prolonged period of time without getting fatigue. But remember, the endurance of a particular muscle gets better as per the activity you choose.
If you go for a run, your calf muscles are under maximum load as compared to other muscles and that is how their efficiency increases during running. But you cannot use their efficiency in swimming because to swim, core muscles need to work in order to make your body float in water.
3. Develop Musculoskeletal Strength
Everyone must lift weight as per his or her lean body mass. With cardiorespiratory exercises, you will definitely make your heart and lungs strong but the combined strength of muscles and bones also play a crucial role in each and every activity. Focus on the word, “strength” which I just said.
Remember, if you can lift more, you can run more! Every component of Fitness is interdependent. If you miss any one of them, you will certainly end up with injuries and stiffness in your body. This is a fact which people do not understand.
When you get into lifting weights, your muscles learn to produce maximal contraction they can.
For instance, during strength training, your wrist muscles with barbell produce 100 newton force while rotating upwards to which we call “wrist flexion” whereas same muscles produce very less force, say 40 to 50N force in skipping I.e. endurance training.
Do you stretch yourself often? If you do not work on the flexibility of your muscles, prepare yourself to say hello to injuries! Flexibility training such as stretching exercises and yoga lengthen your muscles in a much efficient way. Why do you need to lengthen your muscles?
Well, while executing cardiorespiratory or strength training, you tend to shorten your target muscles. That means they are in continuous pressure to move your joints and so they produce concentric and eccentric contractions. Such contractions will lead to muscle shortening or stiffness if not stretched often. People often complain of pain in shoulder, back or knee in later stages.
Holding the stretches for at least 15- 30 seconds for 2 to 4 times are must!! This is for each muscle you target while implementing exercises. You must perform static stretches 2 to 3 times in a week.
5. Do You Have An Ideal Body Composition ?
It is not false to say that everyone in this world must work on maintaining the lean body mass of his or her body. Lean body mass means the weight which you measure on a weight machine must be more of muscles, tendons, ligaments, bones, organs, water and essential body fat in your body.
Now, focus on the word I said ,” essential body fat”. Your body should not contain unnecessary fat as it poses undue load on your body systems. This decreases your immunity and make you prone to many diseases.
Learn to maintain the body fat percentage. In males, it must be up to 15% of the body weight and for females up to 20%. This is the maximum threshold to be in ideal body composition.
After reading this blog you must have got the clear idea about fitness and being healthy.
Hope my blogs will introduce some positive changes in your life. I have lots of things to write and say regarding nutrition, exercises and society. I hope I get success in delivering my experiences and knowledge in this lifetime so that you get maximum benefits and wish you will remember me in your thoughts.