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WHAT IS PHYSICAL FITNESS?

What is Physical Fitness? Physical fitness is an important part of life. It is an indicator which shows whether you have the ability to perform and enjoy day to day physical activities with ease. Physical fitness is generally achieved through physical activity and exercise, correct nutrition, enough rest (good quality sleep), Stress management and relaxation.
Physical fitness is a general concept defined in many ways by differing scientists. [1] Here two major categories are considered: general fitness (a state ofhealth and well-being), and specific fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations). Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, exercise, hygiene and rest. Physical fitness has been defined as a set of attributes or characteristics that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.

Definition of Physical Fitness: So what is Physical Fitness after all? Physical fitness is defined as the state of general well being, physically sound and healthy, along with mental stability. Previously fitness was commonly defined as the capacity of the person to meet the physical demands of daily life and carry out the days activities without undue fatigue. However, because of increased leisure time, changes in lifestyles rendered this definition insufficient. These days, physical fitness is considered a measure of the bodys ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypo-kinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.

Physical fitness is not only one of the most important keys to a healthy body, it is the basis of dynamic and creative intellectual activity. John F. Kennedy

I hope you are still with me looking for an answer of what is physical fitness? Well, there is no true physical fitness definition, as the meaning of that term varies frequently from expert to expert. However, fitness does encompass the following key components. If you work steadily on health related components of physical fitness, it will make you fit within a short span of time.

Physical fitness can be classified into following categories: A. Health related fitness components B. Skill related components of physical fitness C. Physiological components of fitness D. Sports related components of fitness

Health related fitness components: These are 1. Body composition 2. Cardiovascular fitness 3. Flexibility 4. Muscular endurance 5. Muscle strength Health Related Physical Fitness What is Physical Fitness or what is Health Related Physical fitness? - It is best defined as activity aimed to improve your health. The goal of health related fitness is prevention of or rehabilitation from disease as well as the development of a high level of functional capacity for daily tasks.

Health related physical fitness is further divided into 5 parts i.e. components of health related physical fitness are -

1. Balanced BODY COMPOSITION In other words the ratio of fat to muscle. Minimum of fat and maximum of lean mass is a sign of a healthy and fit body 2. CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS or ENDURANCE Cardiovascular endurance can be defined as the component which helps to determine if the heart and lungs are working in coordination. It shows the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes.

Cardiovascular exercises or aerobics -walking, running, biking, rowing, treadmills 3. FLEXIBILITY Flexibility can be defined as the component which checks the ability of the joints in the body to move to their full range of motion. Flexibility exercises - stretching, yoga, Tai Chi 4. MUSCULAR ENDURANCE Muscular endurance is defined as the ability of the body to perform repeated exercises without getting tired. If a person can perform more number of repetitions of a particular strength training exercise, then it can be said that he/she has good muscular endurance. Strength training exercises such as running, jogging, cross-training on an elliptical machine, etc.

5. MUSCLE STRENGTH Muscle strength can be defined as the capability of the muscles to lift weight. By doing weight training exercises every alternate day increases the muscle mass of the body. Weight training exercises - push ups, pull ups, biceps curls, pectoral fly, leg extensions, back extension, etc. Skill related components of physical fitness: 1. Agility 2. Balance 3. Coordination 4. Power 5. Reaction Time 6. Speed

Physiological components of fitness: 1. Metabolic 2. Morphological 3. Bone integrity 4. Other

Sports related components of fitness: 1. Team sport 2. Individual sport

So what is physical fitness? It is a combination of all these fitness components mentioned above. Physical fitness and wellness is far more attainable than commonly perceived. A good physical fitness and wellness can be described as a condition that helps individuals look, feel and do their best. Physical fitness is not just about having a thin lean body frame, but it is about having cardiovascular and muscular endurance, strong immunity system, and most importantly, a satisfied, happy and well balanced state of mind. You should get the full knowledge and information about the importance and benefits of physical fitness.

COMPONENTS OF PHYSICAL FITNESS

Components of physical fitness are essential for complete fitness of the body and mind. All these fitness components have a specific purpose and part in being physically fit and healthy. Physical fitness and wellness is far more attainable than commonly perceived. It helps individuals to look, feel and do their best. Obtaining and maintaining physical fitness is a result of physical activity, exercise, proper diet and nutrition along with proper rest for physical recovery.

If you really want to measure the overall fitness of a person you have to take into consideration the five components of physical fitness. For an average person, workout should be based on the major 5 health related fitness components. Other skill related components of physical fitness like speed, agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and power are considered for judging the physical fitness of an athlete. Following are the four categories to differentiate these components of physical fitness: A. Health related fitness components B. Skill related fitness components C. Physiological components of fitness D. Sports related components of fitness

Health related fitness components:

Health Related Physical fitness is defined as activity aimed to improve the overall health and well being. The goal of health- related fitness is prevention of disease or rehabilitation from disease as well as the development of a high level of functional capacity for daily tasks. Health related physical fitness is further divided into 5 parts. These 5 components of physical fitness are describes below: 1. BODY COMPOSITION In other words the ratio of fat to muscle. Minimum of fat and maximum of lean mass is a sign of a healthy and fit body. To know your fitness level you need to understand your body composition. The reason is body composition directly relates to the overall fitness level. Body composition is the component which considers the individual body type, according to the height, weight, frame size and the ratio of the fat mass to lean muscle mass. 2. CARDIOVASCULAR FITNESS or ENDURANCE Cardiovascular endurance can be defined as the component which helps to determine if the heart and lungs are working in coordination. It shows the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes. EXERCISE: Cardiovascular exercises or aerobics -walking, running, biking, rowing, treadmills. ASSESSMENT: A Max VO2 test in the laboratory is the best measure of cardiovascular fitness. Field tests like the mile run, the 1 mile run, the mile walk, various bicycle, step, and treadmill tests are usually done. 3. FLEXIBILITY

Flexibility can be defined as the component which checks the ability of the joints in the body to move to their full range of motion. EXERCISE: Flexibility exercises- stretching, yoga, Tai Chi ASSESSMENT: Flexibility is measured in the lab using devices such as a goniometer, flexometer. 4. MUSCULAR ENDURANCE Muscular endurance is defined as the ability of the body to perform repeated exercises without getting tired. If a person can perform more number of repetitions of a particular strength training exercise, then it can be said that he/she has good muscular endurance. EXERCISE: Strength training exercises such as running, jogging, cross-training on an elliptical machine, etc. ASSESSMENT: Each major muscle group of the body is tested to check the endurance. Muscular endurance can be measured isometrically (static contractions) or isotonically (dynamic contractions). 5. MUSCLE STRENGTH Muscle strength can be defined as the capability of the muscles to lift weight. By doing weight training exercises every alternate day increases the muscle mass of the body. EXERCISE: Weight training exercises- push ups, pull ups, biceps curls, pectoral fly, leg extensions, back extension, etc. ASSESSMENT: Lab and field tests are similar and involve the assessment of one repetition maximum. 1RM tests are typically conducted on resistance machines. Strength can also be assessed using dynamo meters. Read more about the 5 Components of Physical Fitness

Skill related components of physical fitness:

1. AGILITY It is a skill-related component of physical fitness. Agility relates to the ability of a person to rapidly change the position or directions of the entire body in space with speed and accuracy. ASSESSMENT: Agility is typically measured using a shuttle zigzag run. Tests of agility are common as screening tests among sports teams. 2. BALANCE Balance is the ability of a person to control human body or to maintain equilibrium while stationary or moving (static and dynamic conditions). E.g. hand stand, skating, skiing, catching a fly in baseball, etc ASSESSMENT: Balance is typically measured using a balance beam or tests that require holding a stationary posture after changing body positions. Balance is generally considered to be of two types- static and dynamic. 3. COORDINATION Coordination relates to the ability of the person to use the senses, such as sight and hearing, together with body parts in performing motor tasks smoothly and accurately. ASSESSMENT: It is typically assessed using measures of hand-eye or foot-eye coordination such as juggling, dribbling a ball or hitting an object. There are different types of coordination which require different tests for assessment. 4. POWER Power is a skill-related component of physical fitness that relates to the ability to the rate at which one can perform work. Power is considered to be a combination of strength and speed. It has also been defined as the ability to exert muscle force quickly. For this reason some consider it to be a combination of skill and health-related physical fitness. It is the ability of muscle to release maximum force in the shortest period of time. Power = Force X Speed Speed and force must be combined for effective performance in activities like baseball throw, jumps for height, football kick, boxing punch etc. ASSESSMENT: Examples of power include putting the shot and vertical jumping. There are, however, many different types of power and total assessment would require many different tests.

5. SPEED Speed is the ability of a person to execute motor movements with high speed in the shortest period of time. It is equal to the distance covered per unit of time. Speed is an integral part of every sport and can be expressed as - maximum speed, elastic strength (power) and speed endurance. Speed is influenced by the athlete's mobility, special strength, strength endurance and technique. There are many different types of speed such as running speed, swimming speed, speed of hand or foot movement, etc. The element of speed is involved in most of the athletic skills such as in sprint running, some skills of soccer, basketball, etc. ASSESSMENT: Among athletes a 40 yard dash is often used to measure speed. There are a wide variety of laboratory measures of speed that are highly specific to different body parts and different human movement activities.

6. REACTION TIME A skill-related component of physical fitness that relates to the time elapsed between stimulation and the beginning of the reaction to it. Total response time includes stimulus to beginning of movement (reaction time) to end of movement (movement time). Like speed, reaction time is also greatly influenced by heredity. ASSESSMENT: There are many different types of reaction time and total assessment of reaction time would require many different tests. Sophisticated timing devices are used to measure total response time in the lab.

Physiological components of physical fitness:

1. PHYSIOLOGICAL FITNESS Physiological fitness includes non-performance components of physical fitness that relate to biological systems that are influenced by one's level of habitual physical activity. It differentiates health-related measures (primarily performance measures) from non-performance measures. Some of the sub-components of physiological fitness that have gained acceptance are metabolic fitness, morphological fitness, and bone integrity. 2. METABOLIC FITNESS The state of metabolic systems and variables predictive of the risk for diabetes and cardiovascular disease which can be favorably altered by increased physical activity or regular endurance exercise. Metabolic fitness included sub-components such as blood sugar levels, blood lipid levels, and blood hormone levels. It is now clear that lower levels of physical activity (particularly intensity) than recommended (by this position stand) may reduce the risk for certain chronic degenerative diseases and improve metabolic fitness. 3. MORPHOLOGICAL FITNESS A non-performance component of physical fitness related to body composition factors such as body circumferences, body fat content and regional body fat distribution. Morphological fitness measures are often related to metabolic fitness components. Body composition included in health related fitness is also considered a morphological fitness component. ASSESSMENT: Measures used to assess body composition are also used to assess morphological fitness such as body mass index, waist circumference, and waist to hip ratio. 4. BONE INTEGRITY (Bone Strength)A non-performance component of fitness related to bone mineral density. Bone integrity is related to habitual physical activity. ASSESSMENT: Because measurement is expensive and requires special instrumentation and a high degree of expertise, there are no currently used field measures that are used extensively.

Sports related components of physical fitness:

These are 1. Team sport 2. Individual sport Sports Related Physical fitness is directed towards optimizing athletic performance, recreational activity, increasing ability to work, and avoidance of injury. It is directly related to performance in games and sports.

Conclusion: Components of physical fitness plays a major role in achieving your physical fitness. You can not deny their importance as they have a great impact on your overall well being, both physically and mentally. The physical fitness of a person depends not only on the above mentioned components but is also a result of his lifestyle, nutrition, and basic habits.