Fitness Fits All PDF Print Write e-mail

Being physically active while consuming a healthy diet and stress management are the most important components of overall health for all ages. You can’t althave one without the other.

And the best news is that becoming fit can be lots of fun because the best way to work your body is by doing many different types of activity. Dancing, swimming, nature walks, ice skating, gardening, and biking are just a short list of fun ways to become fit. Make exercise a family affair. Like adults, children need to be fit. Together, exercise can be fun for everyone.  What’s the best time to exercise? Anytime! The Federal Government has issued its first-ever Physical Activity Guidelines to substantial health benefits http://www.health.gov/paguidelines/.

The basic components of fitness include cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility. To be truly fit, aerobic, stretching and resistance exercises should be part of your fitness plan.

altCardiorespiratory fitness improves the health and function of the heart, lungs and circulatory system by increasing the capacity of the lungs to exchange oxygen and carbon dioxide with the blood, while improving transportation of nutrients and waste products to and from the body's cells. Cardiorespiratory fitness also changes your body composition by increasing fat utilization and thereby reducing overall body fat.

Resistance training, such as lifting weights, improves muscle strength and endurance. Yoga and stretching increases your flexibility and prevents injuries. Together, these exercises improve circulation of blood and nutrients throughout the body, strengthen bones and protect against chronic diseases.

An effective fitness program can be designed by using the FITT principle: altFrequency, Intensity, Time, and Type of activity. Frequency of exercise is a fine balance between providing just enough stress for the body and allowing enough time for healing and adaptation to occur. A safe frequency for each type of activity is generally 3 to 5 times per week. 

Intensity is defined by the amount of effort a person puts into the activity. Intensity can be measured in different ways such as measuring heart rate.  Time is the duration of the physical activity. As with the other aspects of the FITT principle, time varies depending on the health-related fitness component targeted. For example, stretching may take 5-10 minutes, while aerobic activity takes a minimum of 20 minutes.

Lastly, the Type or kind of exercise you choose determines the training response. For example, an individual wishing to increase arm strength must exercise the triceps and biceps, while an individual wishing to increase aerobic endurance needs to jog, run, swim or perform some other aerobically challenging activity.