Physical fitness and health

We use the terms Physical fitness and health as the same. But it is different. For example, Ms. Leela who attends regular fitness classes may not be able to deal with stress. Ms. Meena who is a Zumba trainer may feel lonely due to lack of friends. Then they are not considered leading a healthy life.

Physical fitness and health

Physical fitness means your body works well, so you stay healthy and can do things with ease. Physical fitness is the body's capability to perform daily tasks without experiencing fatigue. Examples include brisk walking, jogging, swimming, and biking. Fitness is personal. Fitness for a woman who is undergoing menopause would be different than for a female young adult. Fitness can be health-related or skill-related. Health-related fitness can reduce your risk of chronic disease and promote good health. Skill-related fitness can help you perform well in sports, mountaineering, etc.

WHO defines Health as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being. It is not the absence of disease and infirmity. It includes the following:

  • Healthy ageing
  • Longevity
  • Good quality of life, and
  • Freedom from physical discomfort.

WHO further explains the importance of mental health as an integral part of health. There is no health without mental health. For example, having a solid network of friends improves your mental health. When you feel loved by your family, you feel secure. They all put up to "Health". Hence, health is a much broader term to understand. There is an interrelationship between Health and fitness. What we do with our bodies affects our minds. For instance, exercise increases endorphins (happy hormones), confidence and boosts mental health. A person may be regular at gym sessions but has a poor work/life balance, he compromises his health. One study found that the risk of stroke is higher in people who work more than 55 hours a week. Getting enough sleep, and maintaining a work/life balance will add to the well-being of your life. Striking the balance between the two is necessary.

Components of Physical Fitness

Achieving fitness requires a structured program that incorporates the following:

  • Cardiorespiratory endurance - transports oxygen and nutrients to the body's tissues.
  • Muscular strength – refers to the strength of your muscles,
  • Body composition – the ratio of lean mass to the amount of fat in the body,
  • Flexibility – the ability to move a joint through its complete range of motion,
  • Agility – the ability to change direction.

Why and how to achieve Fitness/Health?

Being health-conscious is beneficial, but we struggle to maintain healthy habits. We tend to overlook, procrastinate and lack the motivation to continue. Mintel research reveals that almost 64% of Indians say that they don’t exercise. It is interesting to note that 46% of people focus on leading a healthy lifestyle above all else. Out of all the individuals, only 37% engage in exercise. The research further reveals that lack of time (31%) is the top barrier to exercise. As the saying goes “You cannot enjoy wealth if you are not in good health”. Thus, it is important not to disregard your health due to obstacles and delaying action.

Understanding your "Best of Health" goals will help you plan out the type of fitness program you adopt. The fitness program can be a combination of weight-lifting, yoga, and muscle training. It will depend on the choice of your fitness goals. For example, Yoga can be the best way to stay fit and healthy. It is a holistic lifestyle that improves muscle strength, flexibility, endurance, and posture. Yoga promotes emotional well-being, reduces stress, and helps in achieving spiritual goals. Many variations like Sivananda, Kripalu, and Iyengar yoga offer different intensities of workout. The intensity depends upon your fitness goals. For example, several Surya namaskars can be a cardio-respiratory workout.

To maintain good Health, you can take the following steps:

  • Build a hobby
  • Get enough sleep
  • Maintain a work/life balance
  • Meditate
  • Speak to a counsellor for emotional support
  • Spend time with loved ones
  • Go for a vacation
  • Find your Ikigai

Let's make today the day we focus on achieving our goal of "Best Health". Say "NO" to any barriers or limiting beliefs that may hold you back. We only have one life, so let's make the most of it.

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