Most of the people aspire to maintain a good level of physical fitness. But do most of us know what fitness means? It varies for everybody. For an average person, fitness helps to live life to the fullest by empowering their physical and emotional health as well.
Being fit means feeling good, having a sense of well being, an emotional balance, a sharp mind with a positive outlook, a consistent level of energy to perform daily tasks without feeling tired, ability to handle and perform well in stress. Feeling tired most of the time, stressing out about small tasks with a knot in the stomach is not a sign of being fit.
Health and Fitness are beyond working out and hitting the gym daily. Although it is an important aspect, it defines a single area of fitness. The fitness market in India grows at an annual rate of 16-18%. So many of us follow influential fitness icons and aspire to be like them. So before searching for a fitness gym near me, try to understand what fitness actually means. Since there are so many definitions out there, to measure fitness, there are a variety of fitness components. Individuals need to fulfill each of the components to be called fit. Wholesome eating and proactive living are elementary to fitness.
Moreover, these components are measured timely when indulging into weight loss or fitness programs to monitor the progress. So through these parameters, we can determine the fitness level of a person by looking at how well each component is fulfilled. Let us take a look at these fitness components:
What Are The Components of Fitness?
1. Body Composition
Body composition is the measure of fat and non-fat (water, bones, muscles, tissues, and organs) proportion. A fit body has a lower percentage of fat and a higher percentage of non-fat mass. This composition differs for men and women. The body fat in women is more to prepare for the pregnancy.
Fat i.e body fat is found around the organs which are known as visceral fat, under the skin, and in muscle tissues.
Non-fat mass consists of mass of water, bones, muscles, tissues, and organs. Body fat does not burn calories to generate energy, while non-fat mass does.
Body fat percentage determines what percentage is fat in your total body weight. The remaining part i.e non-fat is fat-free mass. People who are morbidly obese have a higher percentage of body fat.
Varied methods are available to calculate body composition.
Flexibility is the range of motions that can be performed across a joint. When someone bends down and touches their toes or does a split, we generally term them as flexible. But it is simply not just this ability to stretch. Flexibility depends on the rigidity of ligaments.
Every joint, muscle, and group of muscles in our body has a different range of plasticity or flexibility. Some parts of our body may feel tight and rigid where the muscles are confined and tight. While some parts may feel very loose and free.
Flexibility can be easily increased by doing exercises that stretch joints. The different types of activities to enhance flexibility skills are:
- Dynamic Stretching: The stretches which help the body to get ready before any athletic event or physical activity which we call as a warm-up. So it is the warm-up routine which consists of controlled movements to prepare the muscles and tissues to perform. It includes torso twists, lunges, sit-ups, etc.
- Static Stretching: The stretches in which you need to sit, stand, or lie still and hold this position for a while. Eg splits & hamstring stretches. It should be a part of your cool-down routine which helps in reducing the risk of injuries.
- Ballistic Stretching: It is popular among athletes and includes bouncing and stretching in various positions. It helps to increase the body’s normal range of motion. For eg., it will help an athlete kick with more force.
There are a large number of ways to enhance flexibility. Start with the basics and be consistent and follow a stretching routine to make the entire body flexible.
3. Muscular Strength
People generally refer to muscle strength as the ability to lift huge weights at the gym, carry huge weights, or do a huge number of push-ups and pull-ups and term them as a fitness freak. But muscle strength is not limited to this. It is the strength to produce the maximum muscle force while doing an exercise. The muscle will increase in strength if worked consistently daily.
The ability of nerves to actuate muscle fibers and the size of muscle fibers are related to muscle strength. Muscle strength helps to make every day tasks easier, increases metabolism, and removes structural imbalances.
4. Muscular Endurance
The ability of a muscle to go through replicated contractions in opposition to resistance for a while is muscle endurance.
In simple meaning, it means the number of repetitions of exercises you perform without rest. Let’s say how many times you can do sit-ups without a break.
To improve muscular endurance, running, cycling, and swimming – the cardiorespiratory endurance exercises are recommended. Take short rest periods in between the exercises.
5. Cardiorespiratory Toleration
During long intervals of exercises, how well does the body perform can be known through cardiorespiratory toleration tests? A person with high cardiorespiratory toleration won’t get tired during high-intensity exercises and activities.
How well does a person’s body take up oxygen and utilize it can be measured using this. Activities such as swimming, running, jogging and cycling can help improve cardiorespiratory endurance as they raise the heart rate.
When we inhale, some part of the air gets filled up in the lungs whereas some of it passes in the bloodstream with the oxygen. This oxygen-rich blood is circulated by heart to the other organs in need. When we perform high-intensity exercises, the muscles require an adequate amount of oxygen. If the proper amount of oxygen is not supplied, one might feel weak and tired.
So people who indulge in weight loss need to have high cardiorespiratory endurance as high-intensity exercises are to be done which will help to burn more calories.
Also, people with high cardiorespiratory endurance are less likely to be expected to have high blood pressure and reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases, lung cancer, stroke, and diabetes.
Why is Physical Fitness Important?
1. Helps to Build a Positive State of Mind
Having a positive outlook helps in every aspect of life. Exercising enhances our emotional health. It reduces tiredness, fatigue, and stress. By exercising, we get a sense of purpose in our life which keeps motivating to perform better. Start with building fitness goals and you will feel confident once achieved. So physical fitness will ultimately boost positivity and help to keep the mind stable in stressful conditions.
2. Prevents From Chronic Diseases
Chronic diseases such as – heart disease, diabetes, asthma, back pain, cancer can be improved by exercising daily. Aerobic exercise improves endurance, heart health, and fastens the weight loss process. Consistent exercise routines help to lower sugar levels preventing diabetes. So by improving the overall health, being physically fit will prevent all the chronic diseases and if one is suffering from any, they can improve by starting with basic walking.
In times of COVID, it is very important to have strong immunity. Being fit will automatically boost your immunity preventing any such diseases.
3. Keeps You in Shape
You will never be overweight if you exercise daily. You will not have to browse through fitness articles, fitness tips, or how to lose weight. Being in shape will make you a lot more confident and happier about yourself. There are so many problems that overweight people go through – heart diseases, joint problems, high blood pressure, and whatnot!
It also makes one feel bad about their bodies. So exercising with workout goals daily will always keep you in shape and attractive, preventing all the diseases.
4. Strengthens Muscles And Joints
Regular walking, swimming, and morning stretching help to strengthen the muscles and joints. The range of motion gets increased, so your fitness level also gets increased. You can also use a fitness band to check the number of steps walked, heart rate which will help you to do more. Always always keep track of your progress – fitness tracker tools which will help you to do more. Suffering from stiff and sore muscles or arthritis can practice light exercising and stretching to soften the muscles.
How Can You Keep Your Body Fit?
1. Exercise Daily
The least that you can do for your body – one of the basic physical fitness tips is to exercise for at least an hour. If you do not hit the gym, or exercise on fitness equipment, start with the basics – running, jogging or doing some sort of physical activity every day. Stay hydrated throughout the day. Try to expose yourself to nature at different times of the day. Make sure that you do not exaggerate and feel tired. Exercise should make you feel active and not tired.
Extensive fitness workouts can be tiring in the beginning, the best alternative is Yoga. It is the best way to stay healthy and fit. Start with Surya Namaskar. It is about knowing your breath and starting to observe how you breathe in different situations. Start with the basic pranayamas and practice mindfulness.
So grab your yoga mat and experience peacefulness. It is for everyone, do not get intimidated by the tough yoga poses, start with the basics. It should make you feel good.
3. Get Good Sleep And Wholesome Food
It is very important to have six to eight hours of sleep which recharge our body to perform activities the other day. The question is how much sleep do we need? According to researchers, it depends on our age group. Exercising and doing yoga will result in a good night sleep. Try to sleep at the same time every day and follow the same sleep cycle.
Our gut health is the basic thing which we need to take care of. Avoid junk food and invest in good organic food, proteins, healthy fruits, and veggies.
4. Emotional Balance
An important key to maintain the exercise routine is to stay motivated and have a positive mindset. You do not have to be a fitness freak to maintain the routine, discipline is enough. Negative thoughts burn cells and may harm the gains done through the exercise. So having an emotional balance is very important. Try to stay calm and do not get stressed out in situations that are out of control.
So now that you know the importance of being physically fit, get up and go for a gentle and quick walk!
Try to cover a little more each day. Soon you will master the components of physical fitness.
Stay fit, and stay healthy!