Fitness Basics: What it Really Means
For most people, the word fitness probably evokes images of sweat-smelling weight rooms and out-of-breath aerobics enthusiasts. However, adhering to good "fitness" does not actually mean you have to slave away at the gym for hours on end. And it also doesn’t necessarily lead to rapid weight loss. In fact, true fitness is really just about doing what you can to help your body be its best. In this way you can achieve all the benefits of exercise, including a reduced risk of health-related diseases, increased energy levels and, best of all, a better body image, without adding anymore stress to your life. So read on to find out what you can do to help improve your fitness routine!
Performance and Health Fitness
In spite of its ubiquitous presence in our society, the real meaning of fitness eludes most people. For example, most people probably are not aware that there are two different types of fitness: performance fitness and health fitness.
Performance fitness is what most people associate with the term; that is, physical fitness. However, this type of fitness is actually reserved primarily for professional athletes. It emphasizes improving performance times and is based on strict training goals.
Health fitness, on the other hand, is more focused on the improvement of overall health and well-being. It includes activities that are designed to improve both your emotional and physical health. In fact, by practicing regular health fitness, you will enjoy a number of health benefits, including:
- increased energy
- better sleep patterns
- improved mood
- improved self esteem
In addition, practicing regular fitness can also help lower your risk of dangerous illnesses, including:
- heart disease
- cardiovascular disease (including heart attack and stroke)
- certain cancers
Health Fitness & Exercise: Fitness Tips
To improve your overall health and fitness levels, it is recommended that you participate in a variety of exercises that fall under each of the following three categories:
- Aerobic Fitness:
When you participate in aerobic fitness or exercise you are testing your heart’s ability to supply your muscles and organs with the necessary amounts of oxygen and nutrients. If your heart has to work too hard to provide your body with these things, you are at an increased risk for a variety of heart diseases. To boost your heart’s functioning capacity, try participating in exercise that increase your heart rate, such as walking, running, swimming or bicycling.
People with good strength are able to endure an activity for an extended period of time. When you have strong muscles you are able to get activities done with less energy and protect and support your bones, tendons, and ligaments. Strength training exercises should form a part of any type of fitness regimen; strength training activities include resistance and weight training.
For whatever reason, flexibility is often overlooked when it comes to overall fitness, despite the fact that good flexibility is an important part of your health and well-being. When you think about it, having flexible muscles and joints allows you to enjoy a full range of movement and reduce the risk of muscle injury. Flexibility exercises should be included in every fitness routine, and can include slow stretching, yoga, or Pilates.
If you start incorporating these fitness tips into your routine, you’ll be well on your way to achieving the real goal of fitness: a lifetime of good health.