Q: What is the difference between exercise and fitness? I thought I was doing fine at exercise, but now I think I need a fitness routine. Any Advice?
A: Your definition of “fitness” may vary from person to person. According to Fit Day, the five health-related physical fitness elements are muscular endurance, cardiovascular stamina, functional strength, and body composition. However, there is wide agreement in the fitness world on the importance of the other four elements, which we discussed in our original article, to get optimal results. The cardiovascular and respiratory fitness elements are the foundation of any healthy lifestyle and require plenty of exercise for maintenance. Flexibility is important, too, but is not a key component of the equation. Lastly, body composition–a ratio of fat to muscle and other tissue–was not discussed in our original article but is an area that experts suggest checking for when evaluating your fitness routine.
Q: What is the best way for me to evaluate my cardiovascular fitness? For most people, a session or two long walks each week will get them on the right track. However, many other factors should be considered when improving your cardiovascular fitness. The following factors are the minimum that should be expected to achieve a desirable level of fitness:
This is the ideal that we all want to reach, but it takes time, commitment, and the appropriate motivation to make it a reality. To get fit and stay fit, it takes a combination of diet, regular physical activity, and enough rest to repair the damage that is done to the body during active fitness. No matter what the specific goal is in terms of fitness–I can always improve my performance by making small improvements in each of the areas described in this article. However, I did want to highlight these areas for those just getting started with their own fitness routine.
“Cardiovascular fitness” includes the ability of your heart and cardiovascular system to pump blood through your body and force the lungs to draw oxygen. Cardio is the physical act of moving your muscles (with exercise) and using your muscles to do work (such as lifting weights). To get the maximum benefit from cardiovascular exercise, you need to have your heart and lungs working at peak efficiency. To do this, you need to make sure that your muscles, heart, and lungs have the proper fibers. This can be accomplished through cardiovascular training, strengthening your heart and lungs, and increasing your endurance and resistance.
Physical fitness is another component of wellness and an important component of preventing illness. It involves maintaining a healthy weight and being in good overall health. Your weight and well-being are an indicator of how well you are doing in terms of fitness. You should consult your physician regularly for tips and advice on keeping your weight and body fat in a proper range.
Flexibility is another component of fitness, and it refers to your muscles’ ability to move freely. Having flexibility indicates that you have developed a level of muscular endurance. Muscular endurance refers to the muscles’ ability to endure a bout of muscular stress for a long enough period of time so that you can continue with your normal activities.
Fitness and wellness mean different things to different people. What is enjoyable to one may be less enjoyable to another. What is healthy to one person may not be a factor at all for another person. The key to becoming fit is to find your own personal definition of what it means for you. Then, you can combine what you learn about fitness and wellness with what works for you so that you can develop a daily regimen that will help you reach and maintain the health and fitness level of your choice.