Fitness and Exercise

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What is fitness? What is health? We hear these terms thrown around a lot, but what does it really mean? To some it might mean being strong, flexible, being able to run for hours, having a super low resting heart rate. To some being fit means being able to do the things they like doing without too much difficulty. I think everyone has to decide what being fit means to them, then work towards obtaining it or maintaining it.

There are several areas of fitness to consider. And to ideally you should work on all of them. These include;

  • cardiovascular: how efficiently your lungs and heart can carry oxygen to the working muscles.
  • muscular endurance: how efficiently your muscles can use the oxygen they receive. Results in being able to perform repeated contractions without tiring.
  • muscular strength: results in being able to work against high resistance.
  • power: it involves speed with strength. How fast muscles can contract against a resistance.
  • flexibility: deals with range of motion of joints and muscles.

All of these areas are important, and ignoring one can result in physical limitations. For example, what is the point of improving your strength if your cardiovascular system can’t get oxygen to your muscles. Or, what is the point of being super flexible if you don’t have the strength to lift thing or climb stairs. Check the site for ore info on each of these physical attributes mentioned above.

If you want to improve your fitness you need to follow a few simple rules. These are not hard to follow, but you need to keep in mind that in order for improvements to take place there needs to be somekind of increased stress placed on the body. With this increased stress, the body will seek to adjust, and by doing so will become stronger. Of course this takes time so be patient, but persistent. A simple acronim to keep in mind is the FIT principle:

F: frequency: increasing the number of workouts, e.g. per week. But do not exceed 6 per week. You need atleast one day of full rest per week. And you need to allow specific muscles groups to rest every other day. For example, if you work on your legs on Monday, don’t work on them again until Wednesday. But you can certainly to something else on Tuesday, e.g. go for a swim, or do weights for your upper body.
I: intensity: this means to increase the load as you become fitter. If you walk, walk a bit faster, walk up hill. If you lift weights, slowly increase the Kg you are using. If you swim, maybe use hand paddles to increase the resistance. Increase intensity slowly and listen to your body. If you begin to hurt then ease off a bit so you don’t cause an injury.
T: time: workout longer per workout.

Besides following the FIT principle here are a few othe things to keep in mind:

  • Start with a check up to make sure there are no underlying problems you need to know about.
  • Start slow. Fitness will not take place overnight, it takes time. But don’t give up.
  • Variety is crucial to fitness succes. Without variety chances are you will become bored very quickly and stop your attempts. With variety you also force your body to adapt to new things all the time. Think of it this way, if you want to become better in math, do you stick to doing the same math problem all the time? Of course not, you move on to different problems, harder problems, you practice division, multiplication, etc. Well, you should follow the same guidelines with your fitness. Every couple of weeks change things around. Switch from jogging to swimming. Switch from doing long distance jogs to doing sprints. Switch weight lifting to spin classes. etc.
  • Listen to your body. If something hurts don’t do it. Ask a professional for some advise. Pain usually means improper stress on joints which can lead to injury. If you feel tired take a day off. with increased exercise the body needs a lot of rest.
  • Eat lots of fruits and vegetables. This is where vitamins and minerals come from. Without these your body can not carry out all the metabolic activities it needs to, including being able to physically perform.
  • Get friends involved. Working out with others will increase motivation and may even create a bit of competition.