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     Fitness Tips For 2/20/2013

The Health and Fitness Lifestyle

When people think of health and fitness we all generally include the 
attributes of happiness and success thrown in as well. But to many 
people health means absence from illness. However, according to the 
World Health Organization:

"Health is a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being
and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity." So when we think 
of a healthy and fit lifestyle we are more than likely correct in 
assuming that it also includes success and happiness which starts and
ends with attitude.

Let's take a look at the specific definition of what this means 
considering what is written above. The first step is physical fitness 
which is generally defined as "the ability to carry out daily tasks 
with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample 
energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and to meet unforeseen 

In order to achieve this it must be improved through long-term and 
regular participation in exercises, as well as maintaining a healthy 
lifestyle. Physical fitness can also be classified into two 
categories: (1) health-related fitness and (2) sport-related fitness.

But it goes a step farther as the components of health-related fitness 
also generally known as physical fitness include; cardio-respiratory 
endurance, muscular strength and muscular endurance, flexibility, body 
composition, and neuromuscular relaxation.

Cardio-respiratory Endurance refers to the ability of the circulatory 
system and the respiratory system (i.e., heart and lungs) to supply 
oxygen to the working muscles and remove metabolic wastes (e.g., 
carbon dioxide) at the same time. This a vital component of 
health-related fitness because the human body and the brain must have
sufficient oxygen supply to work normally. The more sufficient the 
oxygen supply, the more efficient the different body parts can work.

Studies done have shown that the capacity of the heart to pump blood 
and the body to absorb oxygen reduces 5% to 15% every 10 years after 
the age 25. However if one participates regularly in endurance 
training it is undoubtedly beneficial to cardio-respiratory 

Muscular Strength refers to the maximum force that can be produced 
by a muscle or muscle group in a single contraction (i.e., 1-RM). 
However muscular endurance refers to the ability of the muscles to
contract repeatedly, or maintain a submaximal force for an extended
period of time.

The bottom line is that heavier workloads cannot be overcome with 
insufficient muscular strength and endurance, which may also lead 
to premature muscular fatigue and muscular pain. Insufficient 
muscular strength and endurance is also a factor of sport injuries,
or other chronic musculo-skeletal injuries.

Flexibility refers to the ability of a joint or a series of joints
to move through its full range of movement. This is an important 
factor when looking at total health and fitness as with better 
flexibility movement can be performed at higher efficiency (e.g., 
hurdling). Besides, good flexibility also helps to prevent sport 
injuries (e.g., strains).

The next item for consideration when looking at total health and 
fitness is body composition and this refers to the proportion of 
fat to non-fat components (i.e., bones and muscles) in the human 
body.  Overweight and obesity is not only detrimental to sports 
performances but it will also increase the chances for suffering 
from cardiovascular diseases.

The last consideration is your neuromuscular relaxation which 
refers to the ability to reduce or even eliminate unnecessary 
tension or contractions of muscles due to stress. To put it 
simply being able to relax not only enables one to work more 
efficiently, but also facilitates sport performances.

Sport-related fitness includes all of the attributes mentioned 
above as well as the following:  Agility, Balance, Coordination, 
Reaction Time, Speed and Power. This is something that could be 
considered as part of a healthy and fit lifestyle but that would
depend on your specific sporting objective obviously.

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The Health and Fitness Lifestyle

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