Health Related Fitness

Are you Fit & Well?
Health related fitness is determined by what we eat, how we live our lives, our daily activity and what we do to keep ourselves physically fit.

However, fitness is a broad term and a complex subject. Physical activity," "exercise," and "fitness" are terms that describe different concepts, although they are often confused with one another, and you'll see the terms used interchangeably.

All physical activity (done properly, including both sports, occupational and household types of activity) is likely to improve your fitness. However, exercise is a distinct subset of physical activity in that it is planned, structured, and repetitive and has as one's objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness, weight control or weight loss.

I'm using the term 'health related fitness' in terms of a person's "wellness". That is the extent to which you are able to go about daily life and a degree of activity with ease and enjoyment.

In this sense, how 'fit' you are can seriously impact on your sense of 'happiness' and lifestyle pursuits!

Society's attitude towards health related fitness has changed over the last decade. We are all much more aware of the importance of diet, nutrition, daily activity and exercise than ever before. So shouldn't we take better care of both our bodies and our minds - but what does health related fitness or keeping fit really mean?

Well, to keep your body looking and feeling good, you need to maintain a level of physical fitness which will enable you to have the energy and vitality to manage and enjoy your daily lifestyle.

There are several common parameters for health related fitness:

* Cardiovascular fitness
* Strength
* Endurance
* Blood pressure recovery

For an explanation of these and some examples, go to my page on Health Related Fitness Components. For information on fitness tests, the Teach PE site is worth a visit.

Health related fitness tests are a way fo finding out how healthy you or perhaps you want to analyse your strengths and weaknesses for sports training.

The usual data collected includes:

* Speed
* Power
* Local muscular endurance
* Aerobic endurance
* Anaerobic endurance
* Flexibility
* Balance
* Reaction time

However, for the purposes of weight loss, the main parameter will always be ideal weight and body composition.

Getting and Keeping Fit and Healthy

There are many local schemes to encourage people in their community to take part in regular physical activity through active recreation. You can find some great deals on gym membership, swimming clubs and sports sessions based on council's promoting health related fitness.

Getting fit is not a short term thing, you'll need to adapt your lifestyle and a regular programme of sensible healthy eating and exercise for long term health and fitness.

It's not always easy with today's hectic lifestyles. We often get home late, eat all the wrong things to give us an energy boost and think nothing of spending the evening in front of the TV. If that sounds like your routine, then start slow and remember any physical activity or exercise is better than none at all.

In addition to good diet and nutrition, it's important you choose an exercise regime that is likely to suit you in the longer term. Think about your personality and schedule and choose activities that you enjoy doing, and are prepared to continue with on a regular basis through any season or throughout the year.

So what's the right amount of exercise to get fit and healthy without injuring yourself in the process?

Many people regard exercise as something they have to suffer for it to be working, that you have to work out intensively if you are to lose any weight at all or you have to commit to doing it 4-5 times a week for it to do you any good. This is all simply not true.

As a rule of thumb, the recommended amount of exercise to start building your health related fitness is at least 20 minutes three times a week. This can be any form of exercise from mild to moderate, i.e. mild would get you moving while moderate will get you slightly out of breath but not gasping! Both should increase your pulse, heart rate and breathing above the resting state.

This is a helpful guideline, because if you're just getting started, it's critical not to overdo it. So an initial level of regular exercise could simply be a brisk walk, a short cycle, dancing, or even going up and down your stairs a few times over.

Once your fitness level increases, you can do more strenuous activities, including sports pursuits.

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