What Is Physical Fitness?

Just to make sure we are all on the same page, let’s define what we mean by being physically fit.  To be physically fit can have two definitions, one general and one more specific.

The more general definition of physical fitness refers to a good state of health and well-being.  A more specific definition refers to a more specific fitness such as the ability to perform a specific task such as a sport (think professional athlete) or occupation (think logger).  

Our discussion here (please feel free to jump right in!) encompass parts of both definitions but with greater emphasis on a good, healthy state of health, with plenty of energy, optimism, and well-being.

While the definition of physical fitness may vary by individual, most experts agree that it is composed of five basic components:

  1. Aerobic Endurance  How long can you safely function with an accelerated heart rate?
  2. Muscular Endurance  An example might be, how far can you walk without becoming exhausted?
  3. Muscular Strength  How much can you lift, push, pull, etc.?
  4. Flexibility  Refers to you range of motion.  How limber are you?
  5. Body Composition  Is your weight fairly evenly proportioned over you body?  Read more below.

Aerobic Endurance reflects how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body during exertion and exercise.  How much exercise can you do without becoming breathless?

Muscular Endurance is the ability to hold a particular position for a period of time or repeat a movement many times.  For example, can you hold a two-pound weight over your head for five minutes or lift the weight twenty consecutive times in thirty seconds?  That ability is a reflection of your Muscular Endurance.

Muscular Strength is that ability to exert maximum force, such as lifting the heaviest weight you can budge, one time.  For example, you may have powerful legs, but weaker arms.

Flexibility is the degree through you can move a joint through its full range of motion, or the elasticity of the muscle.  This demonstrates how limber or supple you are.

Body Composition is the proportion of fat in your body compared to your bone and muscle.  It does not refer to your weight in pounds/kilograms or your figure.

We are all created differently, but these principles reasonably summarize the principles. 

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