What is the importance of fitness to everyday living? It is very important because your level of fitness affects your health and overall quality of life. We often hear that we need to exercise regularly and take care of our bodies. However, it is necessary to distinguish some commonly interchanged terms: fitness, physical activity, and exercise.
What is fitness?
Fitness refers to a set of attributes that people have. In contrast with physical activity and exercise, fitness is more about the state of the body. Research defines physical fitness as the ability to vigorously carry out daily tasks without fatigue and with ample energy to both enjoy leisurely activities and deal with unforeseen emergencies.
While the definition may be conceptually sound, things such as vigor, alertness, fatigue, and enjoyment are more difficult to measure. The most evident components of fitness can be put into two groups. The first relates to health while the second relates to skills that measure athletic ability.
What is physical activity?
Physical activity is any bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles, resulting in the expenditure of energy. The energy can be measured in kilojoules (kJ) or kilocalories (kcal). All people perform physical activity to sustain life; however, the amount is largely subject to the amount of effort put in. This may vary considerably from person to person, as well as for a given person over time.
The categories of physical activity depend on the time when the activity is performed—for example, (1) Sleep, (2) Work, and (3) Leisure time. Physical activity also comprises several elements:
- Body movement via skeletal muscles
- Results in expenditure of energy
- Action related to physical fitness
What is exercise?
Exercise is often used interchangeably with physical activity, though the two terms are not synonymous. Rather, exercise is a subcategory of physical activity and refers to any form of physical activity that is structured and repetitive in nature. It also has the main objective of improving one’s body physically.
The importance of fitness to everyday living lies in the myriad of benefits for those who achieve and maintain good physical fitness. Some of the major benefits of physical fitness include the ability to perform tasks without becoming tired or sustaining an injury, increased energy levels throughout the day, lower risk for cardiovascular diseases and heart problems, the prevention or slowing down of balance, bone, and muscle deterioration in later stages of life, and the improvement of self-esteem, mood, and mental health.
Methods of attaining physical fitness also vary from person to person. While many individuals rely on traditional exercise, other types of activities related to labor-intensive jobs, household work, and daily tasks can also contribute to one’s physical fitness.
This means that it is possible for people who don’t have much free time to become physically fit without hitting the gym or going on runs that last for hours. Low-impact exercises such as walking up and down the stairs and to the store, gardening, walking the dog, and cleaning the house can also help improve one’s health. These activities can complement weekend workouts or short exercise sessions throughout the week and a healthy diet.
Types of Fitness Exercises
What exercises can you do to improve your fitness? There are many forms of exercise that aim to improve specific aspects of physical fitness:
Endurance and Cardio. This refers to activities that aims to improve your heart rate and breathing. These exercises aim to work on your stamina and keep your circulatory system, lungs, and heart healthy. Examples of such activities include running, swimming, jumping jacks, and sports like boxing.
Flexibility. These exercises stretch your muscles and keep your body flexible to reduce the risk of injuries while exercising. Examples include forward and side lunges, cross-overs, knees to chest stretches, and standing hamstring stretches.
Strength. These activities aim to improve muscle strength and tone. Strength training comes naturally to certain individuals, such as workers that perform manual labor. Examples include weight lifting, hill walking, cycling, push-ups, sit-ups, pull-ups, working with resistance bands, and heavy labor such as shoveling.
Balance. Balance exercises are physical activities that involve maintaining balance when moving while on uneven surfaces and unsafe areas. Performing balance exercises also help prevent falls. Examples of such exercises include balancing on one foot, balance walk, tai chi, and leg lifts with dumbbells.
Sports injuries and fitness motivation
Sports injuries are always a risk for individuals that are aiming for fitness. Preparation and a proper warm-up are key for preventing injuries. It’s also important to follow a routine that is suitable for your current level of physical fitness. That’s why it is best for people who are new to exercise to consult a doctor and a licensed fitness instructor when constructing an exercise routine.
Maintaining motivation is also important for reaching one’s physical fitness goals. Many people may lose motivation when they don’t lose weight or build muscle as quickly as they hoped. Remember that the most sustainable way to achieve and maintain physical fitness is to work slowly and steadily towards your goals. If you feel yourself losing motivation, speak to a doctor or fitness instructor on how to adjust your exercise routine.
The importance of fitness to everyday living is something that can’t be understated. Being physically fit allows us to complete daily tasks—from carry groceries to opening jars to walking up and down the stairs—easily without injury or fatigue. It also has benefits for our mental health, cardiovascular system, respiratory system, and our physical condition later in life.
Learn more about Health Fitness here.
Hello Health Group does not provide medical advice, diagnosis or treatment.