What is fitness? Key markers for a healthy lifestyle.

Fitness is when your jeans fit?  Maybe, but there may be a better definition: physical fitness is a state of well-being with low risk of premature health problems and energy to participate in a variety of physical activities.

Fitness can be broken down further into either health related fitness (wellness) or performance fitness (sports and competition). Here, we’ll address health related fitness as broken down into 5 markers:  body composition, strength, endurance, cardiovascular fitness, and flexibility.

You’re one vowel away from being either fit, or fat.
BODY COMPOSITION relates to the relative amounts of muscle, fat, bone and other vital parts of the body. When fitness professionals work with clients to change body composition, the primary focus is on increasing lean body mass. In other words, melting that muffin top for good!

If you had to, could you run from a swarm of killer bees?CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS relates to ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen during sustained physical activity.  Cardio exercise also depletes excess fat stores by using them for fuel.  Move it and lose it!

Your toes. Maybe you can see them, but can you touch them?
FLEXIBILITY relates to the range of motion available at a joint. Ideally, movement within your range of motion will be pain free. If you experience discomfort or limited range of motion during exercise or in daily activity, you would benefit from flexibility training.

Can you make it to the corner, or run to Tibet and back?
ENDURANCE relates to the muscle’s ability to continue to perform without fatigue. Endurance is important when we need to perform a task over a period of time. Even walking through an amusement park can be taxing if we have trouble with our endurance. Hopefully, your goal is the tilt-a-whirl and not the funnel cake.

Drop and gimme 10! OK, how about just ONE! 
STRENGTH relates to the ability of the muscle to exert force. One great benefit of strength training is a muscular body burns more calories.

As you can see, fitness isn’t just for athletes. These five aspects of fitness bring a body into balance, help us to feel better, look better and live happier lives.  And, unless that funnel cake is on the end of a dumbell, walk right past it.

Sources: Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Corbin and Lindsey, 1994 and Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health, USDHHS, 1996 as adapted from Wilmore and Costill, 1994.

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