What does it mean to be “fit“? Overall fitness means many different things. There is no one thing that makes someone “fit,” they must concentrate on all areas of their health. After all, the definition of “fit” is to be sound mentally and physically. It’s an overall focus on your well-being. Michael Jonesco of The Ohio State University says, “physical fitness should be…your outlook on not just your body, but your attitude toward your own health and wellness.” Experts define five key components of physical fitness: body composition, cardiorespiratory fitness, flexibility, muscular strength, and muscular endurance. However, simply looking fit on the outside doesn’t mean you are. Good nutrition, sleep, as well as mental and emotional stability, all contribute to your overall well-being. We don’t truly benefit until all of these components are balanced.
Overall Fitness = High Quality of Life
Research credits fitness with increasing energy levels, strengthening immunity, and getting a better night’s sleep. Maintaining proper physical fitness can also improve your work-life balance. Being fit will increase your productivity and keep you motivated throughout the day. From a mental health standpoint, exercise can help curb depression just as much as medication. It is important to note that severe depression must be treated with medicine and exercise. However, mild to moderate depression can be virtually unnoticeable with the proper diet and exercise. While being “fit” doesn’t mean you will have the perfect body, it doesn’t hurt that you will be more comfortable in your own skin. Naturally, maintaining a fitness routine will help to maintain a healthy weight, increasing your mood greatly.
Exercise + Sleep = ♥
Even talented athletes have to maintain a proper diet in order to keep up in their sport. Much the same way that even the healthiest of people can’t forego sleep. Dr. W. Christopher Winter says “sleep is incredibly important to keeping your body functioning optimally.” Staying active during the day helps you sleep better at night, and it’s important to log at least 7 hours of sound sleep each night. In turn, sleep will help refuel the energy you need to be active the following day. Exercise and sleep are truly a match made in fitness heaven!
While there are some immediate benefits to fitness, some won’t become noticeable for many years. One of the most important benefits is longevity. Keeping your body fit stands to lengthen your life span. Further, improved fitness lessens your risk of chronic diseases that may show up over time. Heart disease, diabetes, and even some cancers can be avoided through proper physical fitness and nutrition. New studies are even linking fitness and decreasing the potential for dementia. One in three adults age 60 and over suffers from severe muscle loss. When your body is getting what it needs, it will reward you with health and happiness.
Managing Chronic Diseases
There is always a slight possibility that even with diet and exercise chronic problems do show up. It is important that you still maintain a healthy lifestyle because it will help ward off any additional issues with these diseases. Always talk to your doctor about modifying your fitness and diet routines to fit your medical needs. However, continuing with daily exercise and taking in the right nutrients will help with any treatments and medical problems.
The Department of Health and Human Services recommends that adults should strive for 150 to 300 minutes of moderate physical activity each week. 75 to 150 minutes of intense physical activity each week is also suggested. Adults should also be doing regular muscle-strengthening exercises for all major muscle groups. Cardio is also a very important activity, it should be taken advantage of daily. It’s acceptable to pick and choose your cardio, if you don’t enjoy running you can replace it with swimming, etc. However, you plan to exercise, make sure to stretch properly before engaging in any physical activity. Lastly, fitness is giving your body tools for success, make sure you listen to what your body is telling you.
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