What is Fitness

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical fitness is defined as ‘the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits This requires proper conditioning through both structured exercise and leisurely activities.

Components of Fitness

Cardio respiratory endurance – typically measured by how long or fast a person can perform an activity and how this impacts measurements such as heart rate and oxygen consumption.

Muscular endurance – typically measured by how many repetitions of an exercise a person can perform. Common tests involve push-ups and sit ups.

Muscular strength – typically measured by how much weight can be moved in relation to repetitions. Exercises involving multiple joints and muscle groups such as squats or bench press are often used.

Muscular power – typically measured by how much force can be generated during a given activity. Advanced equipment used by biomechanists are often needed to measure muscular power.

Flexibility – typically measured by how far a muscle group can be stretched or joint can be moved. The most common tests involve the hamstrings and shoulders.

Balance – typically measured by how long a particular position can be held with or without some type of activity being performed. Simple tests such as standing on one leg can be used to assess balance. More advanced tests may involve standing on an unsteady object while trying to catch a ball.

Speed – typically measured by how quickly an individual can move from one point to another. The 40-yard dash is often used to assess speed.

Body composition – this is the amount of fat on the body versus other tissues such as muscle, bones and skin. Measured using a variety of tests and devices.

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12 important reasons to be physically active

  1. Be healthier
  2. Increase your chances of living longer
  3. Feel better about yourself
  4. Reduce the chance of becoming depressed
  5. Sleep better at night
  6. Look good
  7. Be in shape
  8. Get around better
  9. Have stronger muscles and bones
  10. Achieve or maintain a healthy weight
  11. Have fun
  12. Be with friends or meet new people

Physical activity reduces risk for eight conditions

According to the Centers for Disease Control, exercise can reduce your risk of:

  • Heart disease
  • Stroke
  • High blood pressure
  • Type 2 diabetes
  • Obesity
  • Depression
  • Breast and colon cancer
  • Osteoporosis