When people think of fitness, they typically think of it as a physical activity that helps keep them healthy. However, physical fitness can also be a mental state of well being and health and, in particular, the power to do certain tasks well, even if only part of them. Mental fitness refers to the capacity to learn new things or remain alert and creative when new things are required of us. Mental fitness generally is achieved through proper sleep, regular physical activity, and adequate rest.
The skeletal system, which includes the muscles, ligaments, tendons, and other connective tissues that make up the skeleton, provides the basis for all the major organs of the human body and the most obvious way to assess overall fitness is to look at muscular strength. Muscle strength is the result of both direct and indirect actions at the level of the muscles. For example, while lifting weights builds large muscles in the arms and torso, such actions also engage the underlying nervous system, which provides a greater measure of muscular strength. Likewise, while endurance improves with time, it is the training of muscles to endure the exertion of longer periods of work that develops their endurance.
Another way to look at fitness is to consider it from another standpoint. Fitness, it seems, is more than simply having strong muscles and bones. It is said, “A fit mind is a perfect muscle.” Thus, mentally fit people have high levels of mental acuity, and the ability to learn and remember things, as well as to remain calm under stress, increases as well. Therefore, fitness means more than having strong muscles and bones.
Fitness is important for a number of reasons beyond simply helping a physically fit person to become emotionally fit as well. Fitness helps to reduce the chances of developing illness as physical activities decrease the risks of developing many kinds of illnesses, most notably cancer. The ability to work, as well as other physically demanding jobs, also decreases one’s risk of developing heart disease and other diseases of the cardiovascular system. Thus, a combination of fitness and mental health makes for a great combo, leading to a balanced, well-rounded life.
The importance of physical fitness should not be underestimated. Indeed, well-trained individuals are less likely to develop illnesses or diseases associated with poor diet, sedentary lifestyles, and too much alcohol or tobacco use. In addition, physically fit individuals are more likely to live longer, enjoy longer, and achieve higher levels of well-being than are those who are less physically fit. Physical fitness should be incorporated into one’s lifestyle for its overall benefits to well-being.
Fitness routines can vary according to age and gender. Usually, though, any vigorous workout is likely to involve some degree of stretching and moving. Common exercises include walking, jogging, bicycling, swimming, stair climbing, tennis, or cycling. One of the most common tests used in assessing fitness levels is the Body Composition Test, which measures total body fat, muscle tone, bone mineral density, and cardiac output. These results are commonly used in healthcare professionals’ assessments of a patient’s health.