Why Is Fitness Your Way Important?

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Regular physical activity is important for your mental and physical health. It’s recommended to do 30 minutes of moderate exercise on most, if not all, days.

To reduce barriers to getting active, find a buddy or take classes with friends and family. You’ll be more likely to stick with a workout when you know someone else is depending on you for accountability.


You don’t have to be a bodybuilder or professional athlete to know that strength training is important for fitness. Step into a gym and you’ll see people from elementary school age to 70-somethings lifting weights and doing exercises such as pushups and squats. And on social media, you’ll find countless videos of people ranging from pro bodybuilders to everyday people doing dumbbells or kettlebells in their homes.

While it’s not the only type of exercise, weight-bearing activity (like resistance training) helps you build lean muscle mass and improve your bone health as you age, so it’s important to include it in your workouts. And since muscles burn calories even when you’re at rest, having more muscle can help you lose or maintain your weight.

Strength also plays an important role in your balance and mobility, making it easier to get around and complete daily tasks. It’s also essential for improving your cardiovascular and metabolic health by lowering your blood pressure, reducing your risk of diabetes, and controlling your blood glucose and cholesterol levels.

Increasing your strength is easy, and you don’t need expensive equipment or a gym membership. To start, try exercises using your own bodyweight like lunges, wall pushups, planks, glute bridges, and squats. As you become stronger, add a set of reps and/or a heavier weight until you can do at least 12 repetitions of an exercise without failing or becoming too fatigued. If you work with a trainer or coach, they can help you develop a safe, effective program for you.

There are 10 recognized general physical skills: cardiovascular/respiratory endurance, stamina, muscular strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance, and speed. You’re considered fit when you’re competent in each of these skills. Improvements in endurance, stamina, and strength come from training, while improvements in flexibility, balance, and power come from practice and experience.

The American College of Sports Medicine recommends adults include two nonconsecutive days of strength training a week in their workouts. More isn’t better, though, as too much stress can lead to overtraining and injuries. Excessive soreness, poor sleep, and low energy are all signs of overtraining.



When you were a kid, you moved your body freely, sprawled on the floor to watch TV, jumped up when you wanted something and reached overhead without a second thought. Being able to move your body easily through a full range of motion is a cornerstone of fitness, and stretching is essential in maintaining this flexibility. Without flexibility training, you’re at increased risk for muscle strains. These injuries, caused by overstretching your muscles, can cause pain and prevent you from moving your body through its full range of motion.

Flexibility is the ability of a joint or group of muscles to move through its normal range of motion without restrictions. It allows you to move your muscles through a greater range of motion when you exercise, helps with posture and promotes correct muscle length, balance and coordination. Flexibility can decrease as you age due to loss of muscle mass, changes in connective tissue and the decreasing capacity to adapt.

People often neglect flexibility and instead focus on increasing their strength, weight loss or other health markers. You’ll benefit most from incorporating flexibility into your fitness routine if you suffer from muscle fatigue, poor posture or muscle stress or have a chronic condition like back pain. Incorporating a variety of stretches into your workouts, including foam rolling and dynamic stretching, is best for keeping your flexibility in good shape.

While some health measures, such as heart rate, blood pressure and metabolic markers, may be influenced by flexibility, the relationship between flexibility and specific health outcomes is less well established than for other components of fitness. Because of the physiology involved, it’s more challenging to demonstrate an association between a single flexibility test and health markers or functional performance.

Everyone should be flexible enough to support their daily functionality, and that will vary from person to person. You don’t need to be able to do the splits or fold yourself in half, but you do need to be able to go for a jog, jump up from a chair and lift your own weights. For optimal health, you should be aiming for 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity per week and 2-3 days of muscle-strengthening exercise each week.


Cardiovascular endurance is your ability to exercise at a moderate intensity for a sustained period of time. This is one of the four components of physical fitness, along with muscular strength, flexibility and body composition. It improves your overall health by lowering your risk of heart disease and other chronic conditions such as high blood pressure and diabetes.

When you exercise regularly, your muscles become more resistant to fatigue, making it easier for you to complete everyday tasks. It also helps prevent injury, such as muscle strains and bone fractures, and boosts your metabolism, which can help you maintain a healthy weight or lose excess pounds.

Endurance exercises typically involve repeated isotonic contractions of large skeletal muscle groups, such as long-distance running or swimming. They can be done outdoors or on a treadmill, depending on your preference and available space. These types of exercises build endurance by gradually moving your anaerobic threshold — the point at which you start to deplete oxygen and produce lactic acid — higher, says Sports Fitness Advisor.

The workouts you do to build endurance include both high- and low-intensity training. Both stimulate the muscles, but HIIT burns more calories in less time. It also trains your fast-twitch muscle fibers, while preserving and even increasing your slow-twitch muscles’ endurance.

A regular workout routine that includes both HIIT and endurance exercise promotes more lasting results than either type of exercise on its own. However, it’s important to avoid pushing yourself too hard, as this can lead to injury.

You should always check with your doctor before starting a new workout program, especially if you’ve been inactive for a while or have a chronic medical condition. You also shouldn’t expect to see results immediately. You didn’t get out of shape overnight, and your body won’t change that quickly either.

Try to incorporate at least 30 minutes of exercise in each of the four areas of fitness: cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition — three or more times a week. And remember that everyday activities count toward your movement quota, too. Playing with the kids in the backyard, dancing while you clean and walking the dog can all contribute to your goal of getting active for longer periods of time.

Mental Health

Physical fitness gets a lot of attention because it can prevent heart disease, diabetes and other health conditions, as well as help people maintain independence as they age. Mental fitness isn’t quite as well-known, but it’s just as important to your overall well-being. What you do in your mind can affect how you feel physically and emotionally, which can lead to healthier behaviors and a better outlook on life.

Regular exercise can improve mental health by reducing stress, increasing self-esteem and improving sleep and mood. It can also help with depression and anxiety, while improving cognitive functioning. Many studies have shown that mental fitness is related to your ability to manage your emotions, and the way you respond to challenges in life.

When you exercise, your body releases endorphins, or “feel-good” hormones. These act as natural painkillers and mood elevators, resulting in the post-workout high that’s often called a “runner’s high.” Exercise can also increase brain chemicals like serotonin and norepinephrine, which play an important role in regulating your emotional state.

In addition, physical activity can increase blood flow to the brain, and promote neuroplasticity – which is the ability of your brain to change as you learn new things. This is why some people who have memory problems, such as Alzheimer’s disease or stroke, may find that regular exercise can reduce their symptoms.

The best way to get mentally fit is to develop a consistent exercise routine that you enjoy. Start small, and work your way up to a workout that is challenging but doable. Setting unrealistic goals can make you discouraged if you fail to reach them, so it’s better to focus on making small improvements each week.

You can even find ways to make your fitness routine social, such as joining a gym with a friend or taking part in an exercise class. You can also make it fun by choosing an activity you enjoy, such as dancing or walking. It’s important to find an exercise you can stick with, so don’t let a busy schedule or the inability to exercise at home keep you from doing something that can improve your health and quality of life.


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