Fitness has become quite the buzzword over the years, with everything and everyone saying it. So what is fitness? Many people have their own interpretation, but the official definition from the National Federation of Professional Trainers Handbook defines fitness as this.
“Having the energy and strength to perform daily activities vigorously and alertly, with energy left over to enjoy leisure activities or to meet emergency demands. The muscles, lungs, and heart should be strong, and weight and body fat should be within a desirable range – 25% body fat or less for women and 18% body fat or less for men.”
To many that seems like a sensible definition and it brings out what fitness is all about. That said, you should give your mind some exercise as well. You need to work out if you want to obtain fitness in both the physical and mental areas.
Breaking Fitness Down Even More
To analyze fitness entirely, you need to look at four different factors and take all of them into consideration.
Cardio Respiratory Conditioning
In other words, if you have cardio conditioning your lungs and heart can keep up with your muscles during your workout. If it’s not conditioned it can cause hindrances to your workout, such as you running out of breath easily. Having great endurance when it comes to cardio can give you much more energy. In addition to that you can burn calories, shed the body fat and keep your weight at a normal level.
To achieve this, here’s what you do:
Intensity: Around 60 to 70 percent of your max heart rate should be ideal when you’re training using cardio.
Activity: All of your large muscle groups will be used, and it will work for steady exercises over a long period. For example, cycling, running and swimming.
Frequency: You should do cardio activities about three to five times a week depending on your endurance.
Duration: It should be about 15 minutes to one hour per day, depending on your tolerance.
In just six to eight weeks, you’ll see a difference.
Muscular endurance means that your muscles can do contractions for long periods of time. For instance, holding your baby for an hour or doing crunches gives a low intensity jump to your muscle over a long period, showing a sign of muscular endurance.
To achieve this, here’s what you do:
Intensity: About 40 to 60 percent of your weight capacity should be used, so do about 20 to 25 reps each time.
Activity: Performing three different circuits of three different exercises is what you need to do. Those exercises include pressing, pulling, pushing and leg squatting.
When it comes to strength in your muscles, there’s two types you need to look at.
Static: This is the weight your muscles can hold without any form of movement. A few examples of this include a plank or a bridge.
Dynamic: This is based on the weight that your muscles can move. For instance, bench presses and curls are a few examples of dynamic.
For fitness, you have to be tough enough to do these daily exercises without fear of injury, especially when it comes to lifting heavy objects, which, no matter who you are, you may have to deal with at some point.
Intensity: Eighty to 90 percent of your total weight capacity should be used. Perform four to six reps for each set.
Activity: Static or dynamic exercises, which we’ve covered above are some of the exercises that you should do. Compound movements are the best idea as they’ll target your muscle groups instead of just an individual muscle.
Frequency: Each muscle should be exercised no more than twice every week. This will give everything a chance to heal.
When it comes to flexibility, it’s one of the most underrated parts of achieving true fitness, and fittingly, it’s also one of the most important. Basically, you move your muscles and joints through a complete range of motion. There should be no pain or feeling of discomfort throughout this.
To figure out how flexible you are at the moment, do the Toe Touch Test. Straighten your legs and bend forward, attempting to touch your toes. If you do touch them, you’re flexible. If you can’t, you need to improve your flexibility.
Why is flexibility important? Besides lowering your chance of injury, it can help keep your muscles and joints going, even when you age. A few ideal areas to work out are your posterior thighs and lower back. These areas get injured the most and by keeping them fit you can reduce your chance of a serious blow to yourself.
Intensity: Stretching is not intense at all. You have to pull gently on your muscles, and not feel any pain. If you feel even a tad uncomfortable, ease your stretching and try again.
Activity: Simple stretches are the best ones. Loosen up every muscle and joint in your body beforehand.
Frequency: Perform stretches before and after every workout so that you will lessen your chances of sore muscles and injury.
Duration: Stretching should not be done more than 10 to 15 minutes daily. Do more, however, if you want to improve your flexibility.
The Best Workout if You Want To Achieve True Fitness
The NFPT recommends this workout if you want general fitness.
Begin by warming up from five to 10 minutes. A few examples include stretching and an easy aerobic activity. Walk or get on the cycle to do that.
Then, do 25 minutes of weights. Three sets of 25 reps are ideal for the following workouts: squats, pulling, and pushing. Do three of these circuits and you’ll have nine sets.
Afterwards, do 20 minutes of an ab workout. Planks, crunches, push-ups, and more, these will get your ab muscles screaming and burning.
In addition, perform 20 minutes of aerobics. Get your heart rate up to 70%. Aerobic exercises include cycling, jogging, swimming and running.
Finally, spend five to 10 minutes to cool down. Stretching can help to relive your tired muscles and stop them from being injured. Make sure to stretch the muscles that you worked out.
For this workout, try these exercises:
Achieving true fitness is something that many have tried, and failed to do. However, by following this guide, you can be physically fit. You’ll feel better, age gracefully, and live a long life. So what do you have to lose?