What do we mean by fitness?
Fitness refers to the state of being physically fit and healthy.
It is also a broader term which encompasses the state of optimal health and well-being, not only w.r.t physical health but emotional and mental health as well.
It is the act of healthy living and the ability to perform daily chores, occupations, sports, etc.
The fundamentals of fitness are smart eating and active living.
What are the different types of fitness?
The four different types of fitness include:
- Aerobic exercises
- Anaerobic exercise
- Joint flexibility
- Muscular endurance & strength.
What are the components of fitness?
The components of fitness include:
It increases the ability of your lungs and heart to provide the required amount of oxygen and fuel your body throughout sustained workloads. E.g., jogging, swimming, cycling
It is the ability to move all your joints to the maximum range of motion. E.g., stretching individual muscles and performing lunges.
It increases the ability of your muscles to perform continuously without fatigue. E.g.: Cycling, Step machines, and elliptical machines.
It builds more strength by improving the contractibility of muscles through the usage of resistance. E.g., bench press, leg press, and bicep curls.
It is the proportion of fat and fat-free mass in your body. This is measured by underwater weighing, skinfold readings, and bioelectrical impedance. This kind of fitness includes exercises that help you reduce the fat masses including burpees, push-ups, interval training, weighted squat jump, etc.
What is a good workout routine?
To develop a workout routine, you need to focus on certain aspects like:
- Duration of the workout
- Ideal place for the workout
- What kind of exercises to do? Choose an optimal workout regime that you can stick with
- Set up a routine that engages your entire body by working on quads, upper and lower body, back and core strengthening.
- Decide on a fixed number of sets: It is usually the best to keep the total number of sets between 15-25 (4-5 sets for each exercise). Just get started and adapt as you go.
- Interval between the sets: The ultimate goal is to try and reduce the interval between sets. But at the same time, it's necessary to rest your body enough before moving on to the next set
- How much weight to lift: Go with the trial-and-error basis to figure out the ideal weight you can lift. Lift just enough to get through the sets, without getting burned out.
- A workout journal to keep track of everything - each day’s type of workout, number of sets, weight lifted, etc. Just keep it simple and jot down the critical information like the date, sets, and weight.
How can I improve my health and fitness?
Here are some tips to improve your fitness and health:
- Having fitness goals can keep you stay more focused and motivated.
- Create SMART (Specific Measurable, Action-oriented, Realistic & Time) goals.
Keep tracking your progress
- Track your body weight, the number of exercises you can do, the weights lift, etc.
- It's important to wet your feet in the water before jumping into the pool.
- Find a slow and steady way to achieve your goals
- Be it dietary changes or new a workout regime, it is important to take it slow, without posing a risk to your health or body
Regularize your workout
- At least 30 minutes of cardiovascular activities per day is recommended
- Getting on with a regular routine helps to set up a rhythm for your body
Include strength training
- Strengthening your muscles can help to improve your body's endurance.
- Weight training is the most common type of strength training that targets on developing your skeletal muscles
Sign up for classes
- Exercise classes can give you not only a good workout but can also be your social outlet.
- Group workout sessions can motivate you better.
- The most recommended group workouts include yoga, Zumba, Tai chi, Pilates, step, and spinning.
Figure out small ways to keep moving
Little steps like doing some sit-ups during a commercial break, walking to nearby stores instead of driving, taking the stairs instead of the elevator, etc. can help your body be on the move
Hire a personal trainer
A personal trainer can suggest an optimal workout for you and ensure that you stick to your regimen. Your trainer can also help you come up with an optimal diet that can aid weight loss
Recommended article for you: Genetic Facts About Sports, Fitness and Athletic Performance
What are the benefits of fitness?
Being fit can do you all sorts of wonders, from giving you a mental boost to improving your sex life.
The US Department of Health & Human Services recommends a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic activity or 75 minutes weekly of vigorous activity.
- You will burn more calories while engaging in physical activities.
- More intense the workout, more the calories burnt.
- Even if you miss your daily visits to the gym, being active throughout the day will keep your muscles engaged
Promotes better sleep
Taking part in physical activities regularly can help you fall asleep faster and also can improve the quality of your sleep.
Boosts sex life
- Since regular physical activity improves your energy levels and appearance, it can help boost your sex life.
- More importantly, it enhances arousal in women and reduces erectile dysfunction in men.
Improves heart health
- Exercises strengthen your heart, just like it does to other muscles of your body
- Your heart will respond effectively to workouts and will get stronger and perform more effectively
- When you workout regularly, your risk for heart attack and stroke gets reduced too.
Reduces bad cholesterol
- Exercising helps to keep the arteries and veins clear by reducing the amount of harmful cholesterol and bad fats in your blood
- It can also increase the flexibility of the walls of your blood vessels and help lower your blood pressure
Improves respiratory health
- Exercising increases your lung capacity and the efficiency in which the air moves in and out of your body.
- You also tend to draw more oxygen into your body and expel massive amounts of CO2 and other waste gases.
- When you workout regularly, you can also prevent the decline in oxygen intake which is common in old age and among inactive people.
Helps maintain blood sugar levels
- Physical activity prevents sugar from accumulating in your blood by triggering your muscles to consume excess glucose from the bloodstream and utilize it to produce energy.
- This can thus, reduce your risk for diabetes.
Improves bone health
- Your bones respond positively to exercising and get stronger.
- Exercising increases your bone density and can thereby prevent osteoporosis.
Regular exercising lowers the incidence of cancers. (Colon, Prostate, Uterus & breast)
Regulates blood pressure
Workouts have been proven to reduce your stress levels and thereby subside your blood pressure and prevent heart disease risks.
Ups your energy levels
Exercising regularly boosts your energy levels and keeps you energetic throughout the day.
Enhances mental health
- Regular physical activity can improve your emotional well-being.
- When you exercise, you tend to feel calm and have a sense of well-being.
- This is because, your body releases beta-endorphins, serotonin, and dopamine- the happy hormones when you work out.
- High serotonin levels give you the feeling of well-being and will reduce your risk of getting depressed.
- Also, the weight loss and improvement in your looks can boost your self-esteem and make you feel happy.
What is meant by general fitness?
While most people set a single or a narrow spectrum of fitness goal(s) like building more muscles or improving physical appearances, general fitness heads toward broad goals of overall health and well-being.
Appearance markers of good health such as muscle tone, healthy skin, hair, nails, heart, and other organs are improved by general fitness. It also prevents/delays age-related health deteriorations.
How to maintain your fitness?
You need sheer dedication, will power and hard work to stay fit.
Once you get rid of those extra few pounds via good diet and physical activities, the fear of regaining them will help you stay on track,
Here are a few tips to help maintain your fitness levels:
Make it a habit
- When you exercise regularly and make it a habit, you can easily maintain your fitness levels.
- Consistency is the key here
Consider dietary supplements
- Dietary supplements made from natural ingredients are safe to use and have a very few to no side effects.
- They are the most reliable complementary tools for managing weight and weight loss.
- When you achieve a fitness goal that you'd set, reward yourself with something you like
- This will give you better incentives for sticking to your workout regime
Set new fitness goals
- Upon reaching any previously set fitness goals, constantly ask yourself 'what's next?'
- Set up new goals so that you will be consistent and be motivated to continue pursuing fitness activities
- New goals give you a break from the monotonous workout schedules
- You can also have a little friendly competition among friends or family members to make it more interesting.
Consume healthy fats
- Not all fats are bad and contribute to weight gain
- Certain healthy fats like eggs, nuts, seeds, avocados, coconut oil, fatty fish, etc. are good for your health, and some even help you lose or maintain weight
Stop following imprecise diet plans
- Not every diet plan out there is going to aid weight loss; no diet fits all
- Starting a diet plan without supervision can, in fact, make you gain weight
- Several studies show that health conditions like obesity are inked to certain diet plans
What are the types of exercise?
There are five different types of exercises:
- It is a moderately intense type of exercise that includes activities which improve your fitness levels
- E.g., Brisk walking, steady cycling, etc.
- It is a type of exercise that increases one’s muscle strength.
- Activities like Pilates, physiotherapy-type workout and other low intense activities (apart from weight training in the gym) can help you build your muscles.
- It helps you improve your balance and strengthen your core
- This form of exercise is particularly helpful for individuals who are prone to frequent falls (like the elderly) but is also recommended for others E.g., Tai Chi, Dancing, etc.
Flexibility is a concept that people tend to overlook when it comes to exercises. Flexibility training improves quality of life and also aids your balance training
Doing physical activities for extended periods of time can build up your endurance. E.g., Walking as far as you can for several times daily and slowly increasing the distance over time.
What are the exercises that work every muscle in your body?
Different kinds of exercises target different areas in the body, but for the most part, compound exercises serve you the best.
Compound exercises combine different workouts, making sure that predominant of your body muscles are being toned.
Some compound exercises include squats, clean & press, and deadlift activities.
What is the healthiest form of exercise?
Strenuous activities like running, biking and other cardio workouts fall under aerobic exercises. Such workouts get your heart rate up and make you breathe harder
They help combat health conditions like hypertension, type 2 diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.
Strength exercises aid weight loss by burning calories from lean muscles by using your body's resistance
Focusing on your body's center of gravity, balance exercises help stabilize your body's position and enables to improve your posture
Flexibility exercises help increase the range of motion of your muscles, thereby decreasing the risk of muscle strain and injury during strenuous physical activities
All these four types of exercises in combination, complement each other and are enormously beneficiary to your health.
How many days a week should I workout?
About three to five workouts per week can produce good results.
It is important to take a few rest days between workout sessions.
An equal number of days should be assigned to cardio workouts and strength exercises.
Can a genetic test help you lose weight?
Genetic tests help identify the type of diet you can follow to lose weight.
Based on your genetic variations, they can tell you whether a low-carbohydrate diet or a low-fat diet can help you shed those pounds.
Genetic testing may be particularly useful for people with undiagnosed rare genetic conditions that hinder the absorption on particular nutrients.
Carb-sensitive individuals can benefit from a low-carb diet and fat-sensitive ones from a low-fat diet.
Studying how one’s nutrition and genetics interact is an exciting field which is still under exploration.
Although understanding the genes that are responsible for obesity can be useful, an aggressive public health approach is essential for weight loss.
Can a DNA test pinpoint your perfect diet and workout?
There are a variety of DNA tests that can predict your perfect diet and workout regimen based on your genes.
Such Lifestyle DNA tests can not only predict your risk of developing diseases but also provide you clues pertaining to your nutrition, fitness, sleep or even the wine you might prefer!
These tests can reveal how your genetics respond to exercises and also provide a genetically-guided training regimen and a weight-loss plan designed exclusively for you.
These tests cost between $25 to around $200 depending on the type of tests, and they identify genetic markers linked to specific traits.
Based on your genetics, there might be a slightly better chance of shedding weight if you follow a particular type of diet and perform a specific kind of exercises.
However, it is necessary to understand that a person’s weight loss plans and fitness regimens to work efficiently also depends on other non-genetic factors and environmental factors.
A DNA diet plan
The DNA diet plan investigates your results from tests (from either 23andMe or AncestryDNA) that provide in-depth genetic profiles and then advise you about how to lose weight.
The program takes into account more than 100 aspects of your DNA and then shortlists about 20 dieting tips suitable for you.
You get customized meal plans, grocery lists, recipes, and workout regimens as well.
There are also smartphone apps that feature tools that help you to scan the barcode of a food product in a grocery store and find out if your diet plan approves it or not.
The results also identify the risk of obesity based on your genetics.
The plan considers genes related to safe alcohol consumption.
It is based on previously published studies that have associated generics to nutrition.
Although these plans make it easier to find out what to eat or buy, it is recommended that you consult an expert nutritionist before making any radical nutrition changes.
Yoga for fitness
Yoga can work your entire body, help burn fat as well as tone your muscles.
Including yoga poses in your fitness regimen can aid in overall improvements in both fitness and strength.
Yoga is known for both its mental and physical health benefits and does more than just burning calories.
Yoga is an overall body-mind workout which combines strengthening and stretching poses along with deep breathing and meditation/relaxation.
There are more than a hundred different forms of yoga; some are fast-paced & intense while others are gentle and relaxing.
The intensity levels of yoga asanas vary with its type.
Here is a list of different forms of Yoga:
- Hatha Yoga combines a series of basic movements with breathing.
- Vinyasa Yoga is a series of poses that flow smoothly into one another.
- Power Yoga is a faster and high-intense practice which helps build muscles.
- Ashtanga Yoga includes a series of poses combining a unique breathing technique.
- Bikram Yoga is a series of 26 poses that are challenging and being performed in a high-temperature room.
- Iyengar Yoga is a type that uses properties such as chairs, straps, blocks, etc. to help you move your body into proper alignment.
Xcode Life’s Fitness Report provides information on endurance, aerobic capacity, heart capacity, ligament strength, and more than 15 such traits.