The terms “fitness” and “health” are used frequently to describe people that are in an especially good condition. But, what does it mean to be truly fit? Does it mean having a chiseled muscular physique? More importantly, how does being fit contribute to a healthy life?
If you have ever puzzled about such questions, you have come to the right spot. In the following reading we will explore the conditions of fitness and the connection it has to a life of good health.
What is Fitness?
What is the first image that comes to your mind when you picture physical fitness? It might be lifting 200 lbs clean into the air; it could also be running a marathon in under 6 hours, or even completing your workday without feeling exhausted.
According to the experts, fitness is the state of physical and mental well-being. It’s all about being able to face the demands of your day with vim and verve and without collapsing from the effort. It means that you have physical and mental stamina to engage in leisurely enjoyable activities after professional or academic demands have been met.1
When you look at it this way, fitness touches on just about every activity you perform from the minute you rise from bed, to the time you return and even how well you sleep. Fitness is a state of maintaining the body to meet the demands it will face, as such, fitness is different for each individual.
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But one thing that is not subjective is the way fitness is maintained. The only way to keep fitness levels high and body functions performing well is by regularly pushing the boundaries of apparent physical capacity by engaging the cardiovascular and muscle systems. In other words, fitness comes through regular exercise routines that challenges the strength and endurance of the heart and voluntary muscles.
The Connection Between Health and Fitness
A body maintained in a fit condition promotes better health. Good health can be summarized as the capacity of the human body to acquire and use energy with maximum efficiency. One of the primary symptoms of poor health is low energy levels. Here are some of the most important ways that regular exercise can keep the body’s energy expenditures on point:
Increased Energy Levels
One of the surest signs of a lack of fitness is getting winded by the smallest exertions and feeling completely exhausted daily after your regular routine. When engaging in regular healthy activities, the body begins to transform to address these increased demands. After 30 minutes a day of vigorous exercise, walking up three flights of stairs is nothing.
This is because the muscle systems that power the body and the brain rely on hefty amounts of oxygen to stay energized. Exercise improves the delivery of oxygen to all the parts of the body. As the heart and lungs increase their capacity for oxygen delivery, your body can be counted on for increased output.
Perhaps the primary advantage of regular exercise is firing the metabolism and addressing stored energy reserves, better known as body fat. When the body is struggling with excess body weight, it is often from more energy being consumed and stored than used. This can make small tasks tiring and energy transactions off balance.
Regular exercise optimizes the body’s energy assimilation so there is always plenty of energy to be used as needed. It doesn’t mean you have to run a marathon daily. Simply increasing your regular exercise to overtake your energy consumption will begin to work wonders. But this must be done consistently and intentionally.
Disease and Injury Resistance
There are many maladies, both physical and mental, that can stem from a lethargic lifestyle. Regular exercise can effectively lower the risks of diabetes, stroke, arthritis, high blood pressure, some types of cancer, and even physical injuries.2 Through regular engagement and physical activities, the vital systems of the body are kept energized, well-maintained, and functioning optimally.
Regular exercise even boosts the production of important chemicals that control the brain and nervous system. This boosts cognitive function and can help balance the mood and emotions, which brightens the day and avoids degenerative conditions like Parkinson’s, or Alzheimer’s.3
Balances Stress Levels
Do you feel constantly stressed? Do relatively small issues at work or home cause your blood to boil? Improving your fitness levels can provide important mental and emotional relief. Studies have shown that the brain stimulates the production of “feel good” brain communicators during and after exercise.4 This is not even considering the incomparable feelings of confidence and accomplishment that come from sporting a fit and healthy body.
High Quality Sleep Habits
Fitness promotes better sleep cycles which are essential to good health. Through the reduction of stress and consistent consumption of energy the body will regulate its sleep habits accordingly. Furthermore, getting regular exercise is a good way to avoid the problems with daytime sleepiness.
Adds Excitement and Challenge to Life
No matter how fun and exciting your job may be, both body and mind benefit greatly from a change of pace. Regular exercise can be one of the greatest sources of simple pleasure and enjoyment as well as a great opportunity for positive social relations. This addresses one of the most important aspects of health and fitness which is mental and emotional well-being.
Final Notes on Fitness and Good Health
If you are just beginning your path to better health through improved fitness, be sure to plan for success. The foods you eat will play a key role in the energy levels you can rely on now that you will be increasing your physical and mental output. Choosing a diet plan that suits your goals for physical health will go a long way in maximizing the energy you will need.
Finally, don’t forget the fun factor. It is equally essential that the routines and life adjustments you will commit to are a source of positivity and enjoyment or they could be counter-productive.
Photo credits: JacobLund/shutterstock.com, SydaProductions/shutterstock.com, DeanDrobot/shutterstock.com, FlamingoImages/shutterstock.com