Physical fitness is a condition of well-being and health and, in particular, the ability to do certain types of physical activities, jobs, sports and other daily activities without being hampered by pain, sickness or disability. Common physical fitness activities include walking, running, bicycling, hiking, swimming, aerobics, martial arts or stretching. However, physical fitness can also be achieved through yoga and Pilates. Yoga and Pilates are designed around breathing techniques, posture and movement that are very beneficial for individuals with any type of physical limitation. In addition, this type of fitness can help an individual to reach a level of health and wellness that goes beyond the gym or exercise class.
Physical fitness has many benefits for an individual’s well-being, including reducing the risk of cardiovascular disease, diabetes, hypertension, obesity and osteoporosis. Physical fitness is typically achieved through regular exercise, proper nutrition and enough rest. Research indicates that there is an association between low levels of physical activity and the onset of several kinds of chronic diseases, including cancer, stroke, diabetes, heart disease, and hypertension.
An effective fitness program includes a combination of aerobic and strength training. Aerobic exercises are those that require a person to move at a moderate rate of speed and use their muscles for extended periods of time. Examples of aerobic exercises include walking, bicycling, running, golf and swimming. Strength training is another important component of an effective fitness routine. Strength training exercises build muscle strength, which improves an individual’s ability to move freely and gently and improve body composition.
A sound nutrition strategy reduces health risks and promotes optimal health and fitness. Nutritional guidelines for a sound fitness program include an intake of a balanced diet that contains the correct amounts of protein, carbohydrates, fiber, fat, vitamins, minerals and calcium. Health and fitness professionals believe that a good exercise regimen is also essential to a healthy lifestyle. Exercise helps to reduce stress and boost self-esteem and confidence.
Health and fitness experts recommend that a combination of aerobic and strength-training exercise is the most effective way to improve fitness and decrease the risk of health conditions such as obesity, heart disease, stroke, high blood pressure, diabetes and osteoporosis. Exercise helps to reduce stress and boost self-esteem and confidence. Strengthening the musculature, including the cardiovascular system, helps to control body composition. Muscular strength has a positive effect on one’s physical function. Flexibility improves posture, enhances range of motion, decreases soreness and improves health and fitness.
Health and fitness involve a comprehensive lifestyle change. The need for total change of lifestyle cannot be overstated. Physical inactivity contributes significantly to morbidity and disability. A sedentary lifestyle, accompanied by poor nutritional habits and lack of regular exercise, can jeopardize health and fitness. People must commit to a program of regular physical activity to remain fit and to reduce the risk of chronic diseases. Health and fitness professionals recommend adopting some or all of the recommendations provided here.