The importance of physical fitness cannot be emphasized enough. In today’s society that is moving towards a more sedentary lifestyle, there is a greater need than ever to increase the daily activity level to maintain ones’ fitness.

Benefits of Physical Fitness

Staying active means keeping your body and its systems functioning at a high level. Regular exercise will enhance the performance of the lungs and heart to most efficiently burn off excess calories. Exercise will also improve muscle strength, increase joint flexibility and improve endurance.

Another main benefit of physical activity is that it decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, the leading cause of fatalities in the developing countries. Regular exercise has been long associated with a fewer visits to the doctor.

What Activities Are Beneficial?

It is not what you are doing, as much as it is whether or not you are doing something. Any type of moderate activity like walking, swimming, biking or playing a sport can improve the physical fitness. Explore your fitness options at your local gym, clubs that may suit your lifestyle and interests.

Who Needs Physical Fitness?

Everyone! It is important for all people to stay active throughout their lives. Because of busy work and varied lifestyle, most of us do not get the recommended amount of physical fitness daily and these numbers generally increase with age.

Motivation Is Key

We may need some encouragement when it comes to getting fit. What is going to motivate us to move?

  • Being a positive role model for our children
  • Decreasing the risk of developing high blood pressure or Type 2 diabetes
  • Maintaining a healthy weight

How Much Is Enough?

Experts recommend:

  • Do at least 45 minutes to 1 hour of moderate-intensity physical activity thrice a week.
  • Include strength training using all of the major muscle groups two days a week or more.

Healthy pregnant women should get at least 2½ – 3 hours of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity spread throughout the week.

Does Walking Count?

Walking slowly is considered a light-intensity activity. Brisk walking is an example of a moderate-intensity activity. With vigorous-intensity exercise, you can only say a few words without catching your breath.

The goal is to continue following these guidelines, even when one gets older….!

No More Excuses

Most of us know that being fit is important, but perhaps we have been busy managing a career or taking care of family. If the physical activity hasn’t been a priority, one should start now by setting reasonable goals. Begin with activities you enjoy and slowly build up your endurance. To keep on track, record any physical activity you do.

Life is full of excuses, but physical activity should be an essential part of your life. Being fit will help you stay healthy on the inside and out.

Y. RAMAKRISHNA,
Sports Performance Enhancement Specialist, Sports Biomechanist