Being physically fit provides a foundation for overall health and well being (Health and Fitness Principles). We can define physical fitness as, the physical attributes and skills that one has that allows them to perform the tasks of daily living effectively and alertly, while leaving an adequate amount of energy in reserve for recreational and/or emergency activities (Health and Fitness Principles). When we hear the term, physical fitness, we typically think of activities such as running, jumping, or lifting weights. But, fitness involves much more than how much you can “lift”, how fast you can run, or how high you can jump (Physical Activity and Health).
Practically speaking, it has more to do with your ability to easily and effectively carry out common activities like shoveling snow, back packing, mowing grass, or playing with your children.
What can exercise do for me?
Regular physical activity has been associated with decreased risk for many illnesses. According to the American Heart Association, regular, moderate exercise has been shown to provide the following benefits:
o Decreased risk of heart disease
o Decreased risk of heart attack
o Lower total cholesterol
o Lower blood pressure
o Decreased risk of being overweight or obese
o Decreased risk of stroke
o Lower stress levels
o Improved sleep
o Improved physical appearance
o Increased energy and strength
o Stronger heart, lungs, bones, and muscles
(Why Should I be Physically Active, AHA)
As with other components of wellness, the transition to becoming more physically fit requires lifestyle changes. In order to reap the benefits of regular physical activity you must be able to make a lifelong commitment to your program (Fitness Fundamentals). It isn’t necessary to have any special equipment, or to join a health club or gym. It only requires that you participate consistently in some type of moderate – vigorous physical activity. Again, this does not need to be limited to traditional health club style exercises. Use your imagination, and select activities that you can enjoy. For example, rock climbing, hiking, rowing, or dancing would be excellent alternatives to the typical exercise program.
Regardless of your current health or physical condition, it is always a good idea to have a physical examination before undertaking any exercise or nutrition program. This is especially true if you are over the age of 35 and have been inactive for several years (Fitness Fundamentals). There are several other indications that would also suggest the need to consult with your physician before starting:
o High blood pressure
o History of heart disease
o Dizzy spells
o Difficulty breathing after mild exertion
o Arthritis or other bone ailment
o Muscle, ligament, or tendon problems
o Known or suspected disease
o If you smoke
Although there are some small risks that Biofit Reviews go along with exercise, it has been well documented that the risks associated with inactivity, and/or being overweight are much, much greater (Fitness Fundamentals).
A properly designed fitness program should always focus on balance. In other words, a program should address each component of fitness. According to The Aerobics Fitness Association of America, there are five components of fitness (Yoke, et al).
1. Muscular Strength
2. Muscular Endurance
3. Cardio-respiratory endurance
5. Body Composition
In addition to including balance in your routine, you should always begin the program development process by establishing a set of realistic goals. It is unfortunate that the majority of information about cardio and strength training that people hold as true are nothing more than “urban legend”. I have listed below several of my favorite fitness and exercise myths:
Popular Exercise Myths
1. “If you stop weight training the muscle that you have built will turn to fat.” As bodybuilding legend, Franco Colombu once said, “That would be like saying that an apple can turn to an orange.” Muscle and fat are two completely unique types of tissue. Therefore, it is impossible for fat to “turn into” muscle. Likewise, it is not possible for muscle to “turn into” fat.