Understanding physical fitness

Physical fitness refers to the ability of your body systems to work together efficiently to allow you to be healthy and perform activities of daily living. Physical fitness is a big component of our well being. Being physically fit does not mean being able to run a marathon or do 100 pushups; the level of fitness we aim at would be different for different people. True fitness is about feeling healthy and being insufficient shape to do the activities you want to do and live the lifestyle you want to live.

Experts agree that physical fitness involves 5 components. 

1. Muscular Strength: All of us have different capacities to lift and carry heavy weights and this capacity is our muscular strength. Muscular strength is important to keep up with the demands placed on our bodies every day. 

2. Muscular Endurance: This is our ability to continue doing a particular activity for a period of time. While carrying a heavy suitcase from the trunk of the car to the ground might be possible, carrying the same suitcase for 15 mins is an impossible task for most of us. 

3. Cardiovascular endurance: The ability to do high impact cardiovascular activity like running, swimming, or cycling for a period of time. While most of us can run for 5 mins, running a marathon is something that is beyond most of us. Together the heart and lungs fuel our body with oxygen, and high cardiovascular activities pushes both the systems to function at a higher rate for a long period of time. 

4. Flexibility: An important component of physical fitness, without flexibility our muscles and joints would have limited movement and be stiff. Flexibility training ensures that our bodies can move through their entire range of motion without pain or stiffness.

5. Body Fat Composition: Body fat composition refers to the proportion of fat on our body. Ideally, men should have less than 17% fat and women should have less than 24% fat. 

Physically fit people are less likely to develop a hypokinetic condition - a health problem caused partly by lack of physical activity - such as heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes, osteoporosis, colon cancer, or a high body fat level. People who are physically fit also enjoy better wellness. They feel better, look better, and have more energy. You don't have to be a great athlete in order to enjoy good health and wellness and be physically fit. Regular physical activity can improve anyone's health-related physical fitness.


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