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What Is Fitness?

Updated: Nov 8, 2022

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.

Many people who begin a workout program are confused at which they should focus their attention on: high intensity or low intensity? Both high intensity and low intensity workouts have their advantages. It all depends on what your fitness goals are. Let's compare high intensity workouts with low intensity workouts and maybe you will be able to determine which you should focus your fitness program around.

High Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)

This sort of exercise is the most common type of exercise today, as people value the fact that it yields much greater effects in a shorter amount of time. Nowadays, we are all time-crunched, and many individuals would prefer complete their workout quickly so they can go on to their other duties.

How does an intense workout yield more results?

Extreme vigor is rather self-explanatory. During a high intensity workout, you will work your body more harder than during a low intensity workout, thus you will burn more calories in less time. When exercising at a high intensity, you reach approximately 75% of your maximum heart rate, as opposed to 50% when exercising at a moderate intensity. After completing an exercise of high intensity, your metabolism will be revved up and you will continue to burn more calories. Additionally, you burn more fat calories per minute than you would with a low intensity activity.

Consequently, it is understandable why individuals would pick high intensity workouts. This is the best option if their objective is to burn fat, increase strength, and do so in less time.

Unfortunately, many individuals cannot benefit from high intensity workouts for a variety of reasons. It should also be highlighted that high-intensity workouts should not be performed excessively, since this could be extremely taxing on the body and lead to burnout.

HIIT can be used with any cardio exercise, including treadmill, stationary bike, running, stair climbing machine, rowing, jumping rope, and plyometrics.

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Low Intensity

Low intensity activities are more conventional, however they do not produce as many benefits as high intensity workouts. This does not imply that low intensity exercises are a waste of time. There is nothing wrong with the fact that many people prefer low-intensity workouts and have the time to devote to them, as there is nothing wrong with that. Some find a low-intensity workout to be significantly more stress-relieving.

Low intensity workouts can still burn fat, despite the fact that it takes far longer to achieve the same outcomes as high intensity workouts. It is, in fact, the optimal exercise in certain situations. The elderly cannot typically perform high-intensity workouts, but it should not prevent them from engaging in cardio. Low-intensity exercises help people to maintain fitness and health without risk of damage. What about those with existing injuries? They are also unable of performing a high intensity workout. Again, low intensity exercise is beneficial for them.

There are also fitness specialists attempting to remove the last inch of fat without sacrificing muscle mass. They are adhering to a rigorous low-calorie diet and would avoid high-intensity workouts in order to preserve muscle mass. Therefore, they engage in low-intensity workouts to eliminate fat without sacrificing muscle mass.

Jogging on a trail or treadmill, basic cycling, elliptical machines (without intervals), and water aerobics are examples of low intensity activities.

So, which do you believe would benefit you the most?

For the best outcomes, the majority would opt for high-intensity workouts, although it is understandable that a few would prefer moderate intensity.

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.

You should check your vital signs at the end of each workout.

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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