What Is Fitness?

In discussing the problems of maintaining reasonable health and minimizing the chances of cardiovascular disease, the need for regular physical exercise and the benefits this has in both protecting against and reducing the effects of coronary thrombosis must be stressed. Yes, it is generally easier for thinner people to remain active and persevere with day to day exercising than it is for the overweight and those that lead a sedentary lifestyle.

Fitness is as much an attitude of mind as a physical state, although some aspects of the latter can be measured objectively. Unfortunately it is virtually impossible either to measure well-being or to calculate the effect this may have on efficiency and productivity. However, it is a fair generalization that a fit man is likely to stand up better to the stresses and strains of a demanding life than an inactive person.

Regular exercise can be expected to do three things, improve endurance, mobility and strength. Joints are likely to give better service if they are regularly put through their full range of movements and muscle strength can only be maintained by use.

There is really no age limit for regular exercise provided there are no physical limitations. Indeed, it is vital people should, as they advance in age, go out of their way to remain active. People who do heavy work for a living can continue doing arduous work for years because they are doing it all the time. In this way too, strength is maintained.

Changes in the pulse rate resulting from physical activity can be used as a rough measure of cardiovascular fitness. When muscles require a higher blood supply to cope with the desired activity, it is essential the pulse and respiration rate go up. In addition, what is called the stroke volume of the heart increases. That is to say, it pumps out a larger volume of blood per beat. If the heart does this efficiently , it is likely to have a larger stroke volume at rest and can thus meet the resting demand with a lower pulse rate. This is the reason why athletes tend to have slow pulses at rest.

The degree to which activity will raise the pulse depends on:

The number and size of muscles involved.

The work load, perhaps in terms of repetitions or resistance.

Pauses in the work.

Pulse rate at the end of a workout is called the work pulse.

Clearly the recovery rate can be measured by counting it again after a given time - say 90 seconds. This is called the active pause.

Thus, if the work pulse is 160 per minute, and 90 second later it has slowed to 140 per minuted, the difference is 20 beats per minute.

If this difference is expressed as a fraction of the work pulse, it can be used as a recovery index. Thus in this example, it would be 160 dived by 20 = one eighth.

A recovery rate of one eighth is poor, a quarter is fair, a third is good, and less than this is excellent.

Here's what Damien Ross says about fitness:

"I’m 45 years old an I’m not planning on slowing down until 65 (heck if the Spartans can do it, so can I).

Over the decades I have literally tried EVERYTHING from body weight only exercises to kettle bells. I’ve trained for 5ks and 180 mile relay races. And over all (and experts will agree) the BEST combination for overall fitness, performance and purpose is resistance training, with limited cardio training and functional exercise.

*I should also point out that nutrition CAN NOT be overlooked. Proper diet accounts for the majority of your success. What you put in, you need to burn off -and it’s better to run your engine on hi-test fuel than the cheap stuff, but that’s another post."

Why not learn how to be fit with Damien's excellent videos? They are easy and really excellent!

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