Fitness is defined as the condition of a person, wherein he can sustain a minimum level of activity for his survival and continue throughout his life. Fitness implies proper weight and body mass index, regular and adequate menstrual cycles, sufficient sleep and rest, an active and healthy lifestyle, and an end to addictive habits such as smoking and drinking. Basically, physical fitness pertains to our organs and tissues that support us. Hence, it would be our muscles, bones, ligaments, heart, lungs, immune system, digestive system, etc. that are important in maintaining our well-being.

The concept of fitness has long been known among many cultures as the key to staying fit and physically healthy. In recent times, however, the concept of fitness has undergone radical changes especially when it comes to exercise. Exercise plays an essential role in keeping our body fit by triggering various processes that help in promoting metabolism, strengthening muscles, reducing risks for cardiovascular diseases, etc. It also helps people to cope with daily stress by making them psychologically fit.

Fitness refers to a general state of well-being and physical activity that facilitates regular and healthy distribution of oxygen to all parts of the body. Physical fitness is the state of health and well being and, more importantly, the capacity to carry out various parts of human activities and sports. General fitness means a balance between body composition, energy requirements, physical performance, and age. General fitness is usually achieved through regular exercise, proper nutrition, and adequate rest.

Our body composition is composed of mainly of fats, muscles, and nerves (which are also called “exercise hardware”). Therefore, a fitness program is defined as the modification of physiological functions (muscle building) to enhance functional capacities (exercise performance). There are two types of muscle fiber types: primary and secondary. Primary fibers are fast-moving and make up the large muscle groups such as the legs, feet, and pelvis; secondary fibers are slow-moving and make up the limbs and torso; and mixed fibers are somewhere in between these two categories.

A lot of people have problems with fitness because they don’t perform enough exercises or perform the exercises incorrectly. The biggest mistake one can make when it comes to fitness is performing the exercises incorrectly. One should perform long and difficult workouts until the muscle group feels sore, then one should reduce the workout until the muscle group is not sore anymore. One should also perform the exercises with proper form, pause at the right time, and gradually increase the weight. The main key to achieving an effective workout is the intensity or the “load” (weight) being performed. The load can be a variety of exercises, the number of repetitions and sets, the number of times you rest between sets, or a combination of these and other factors.

Fitness is vital to the maintenance of general health, physical attractiveness, and self-confidence. The goal of fitness is to provide the body with an adequate supply of oxygen and fuel for movement and repair of tissues and muscles. Fitness is different for everyone; in general, it is how well we use our resources (exercises) to meet our needs and increase our productivity and/or protection against chronic diseases. Fitness can improve circulation and aid in blood-clotting. It is the basis of a healthy and active life.

By Arlene Huff

Arlene Huff is the founding member of Golden State Online. Before that She was a general assignment reporter. A native Californian, she graduated from the University of California with a degree in medical anthropology and global health. She currently lives in Los Angeles.

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