Physical Fitness Guide
What is Physical Fitness?
Physical fitness is based on a combination
of physiological principles. For example, a healthy
fitness workout should aim to improve total body fitness, including
all main muscle-groups. Exercise workouts that focus simply on one area
of the body (eg. upper body and muscles), are less effective in raising
fitness-levels than total body workouts. So even though your daily
exercise routine might target different muscles on different days, your
overall aim should be to build total body fitness.
How to Get Fit
Physical fitness is based on four things:
(1) Cardiovascular Endurance.
(2) Muscular Strength. (3) Muscular
Endurance. (4) Flexibility.
See also: Body Composition.
To develop and maintain each of these basic
components of fitness, your fitness workout
should follow these training guidelines.
Guide to Fitness Training
Exercises Must be Specific
To improve performance, attention must be paid to the specific muscles
etc. that are used in the activity concerned. So find out which muscles
are important for your particular sport or activity and train accordingly.
For example, optimum swimming
performance is best achieved when the muscles involved in swimming are
trained for the movements required.
But Total Body Fitness is Also Important
As well as exercising specific muscles, you should remember that total
body fitness is also vital. For example, although optimal swimming performance
involves (eg) cardio-training
workouts plus the strengthening
of specific muscles in the upper and lower body, it also involves
the achievement of the correct muscle-fat ratio. So working on your body
composition is also important.
Fitness Workouts Must be Done Regularly
A minimum of three balanced workouts a week are necessary to maintain
a desirable level of fitness.
Intensity of Workouts
In order to raise your fitness levels, the intensity of your workout should
be sufficiently vigorous and long enough to push your heart-rate
into the required performance-zone. Since this varies according to the
type and nature of the exercise chosen, it's best to get advice from a
qualified fitness instructor.
Fitness Workouts Should Gradually Progress
In order to raise your fitness levels, your exercise workout should gradually
increase in intensity/difficulty, frequency and/or duration over time
in order to improve. For example, aim to increase the incline and speed
on your treadmill,
or the level of resistance on your exercise
bike or stepper.
- President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports
- U.S. Department of Health and Human Services
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
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