Five factors help define what it means to be “fit”

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Running for fitness“I just want to be fit.”

It is a phrase that I hear quite often in meeting with new gym members and personal training clients. As with most classifications, being “fit” is quite subjective.

Often enough, someone being described as “fit” has a lot more to do with their physical appearance rather than their physiology. If you were to ask a distance runner, however, they may describe being “fit” more along the lines of ones physical ability. A gymnast or yoga enthusiast may be akin to relating flexibility and range of motion to ones fitness level.

To my mother, being able to perform daily tasks without shoulder, hip, or knee pain would make for an “in-shape” person. Physical Fitness means different things to many people, and they are all correct.

adj. – of a sustainable quality, standard, or type to meet the required purpose.
noun – the particular way in which something fits around or into something.

In terms of being physically fit, we look for a combination of five different factors:

1. Cardiorespiratory
2. Muscular Strength
3. Muscular Endurance
4. Body Composition
5. Flexibility

Cardiorespiratory refers to how well our body can supply during physical activity via the circulatory and respiratory systems. You can improve your cardiorespiratory fitness by performing exercises that elevate your heart rate such as jogging, cycling, or swimming.

Muscular strength is your body’s ability to exert force against an object during an activity. For a normal person, that may mean moving furniture or opening the pickle jar. The amount of muscular strength that a person needs depends on their daily activities and purposes.

Muscular endurance is our body’s ability to continue exerting force without tiring for longer periods of time. Our Muscular endurance can be changed based on the way we exercise. For example, a sprinter will have more fast twitch muscle fibers than a long distance runner, who will have comparably more slow twitch muscle fibers.

Our body composition measures the relative proportions of muscle, bone, fat, and water. There can be many shapes and sizes of a 6-foot, 200-pound adult man, depending on his body composition. A “fit” individual will have more muscle and less fat and an overall leaner appearance than a person of the same height and weight who has a higher body fat percentage.

Flexibility is our body’s range of movement across a joint. Range of motion is important because it allows our muscles to work properly and reduces the risk of injury.

Do these five factors of “fit” match well with your lifestyle? The important thing to take away is to be “fit” enough to do the things that you like to do. What good is having a boat if you struggle with operating and getting in and out of it?

Life is too much fun to live with limitations. Treat your body like the wonderful gift that it is, and fit fitness into your daily routine.

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Brandon Hebert

Brandon is the Training Manager of Anytime Fitness Destrehan and has extensive experience working with athletes young and old. After beginning his career at Elmwood Fitness working with individual clients, he started working with high school athletes and running outdoor boot camps. While working with The Fitness Principle at EJGH under Mackie Shilstone, Brandon worked with NFL and MLB athletes…

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