Fitness is an important part of our overall health for many reasons, but what exactly is fitness? It doesn’t mean that you can lift really heavy weights or even run a marathon, although people who can do that are certainly fit. For the average person, fitness helps us to live life to the fullest and encompasses the three important parts of our being; physical, mental and emotional health.
Doctors are increasingly aware that the three aspects of a person as above all play a part in the state of our physical health. For instance, if someone is under a lot of emotional or mental strain, it can cause them to become ill. Such stress can cause ulcers, heart attacks, strokes, digestive problems and more. But if the body is fit, the person will be in better health overall and able to ward off many physical ailments.
However, when we think of fitness, or being fit, we are usually referring to physical fitness and it is important for several reasons.
- Being physically fit helps to keep blood pressure under control. The heart is a muscle and if it is not exercised it will not be healthy. When you are fit, your heart is less likely to develop the many heart diseases found in so many people today. Walking is said to be the ultimate way to remain fit, with 2000 steps per day great for exercising the heart and keeping those joints supple.
- Talking of joints, exercise – fitness – is good for anyone with arthritis or stiff muscles. Gentle exercise from walking or swimming helps to strengthen the muscles, joints and ligaments so that the range of motion is maintained or even increased.
- Being fit is caused by physical activity, but such exercise also makes us healthier emotionally. It gives us a sense of purpose and reduces feelings of lethargy and depression. When you get out and about on your walk you will see or meet other people and this social interaction is also necessary to keep you feeling good about yourself and your life.
- Being fit means you will not be overweight – or at least, not as much as those people who never exercise. Being overweight causes a lot of problems, from worn joints to heart disease and many problems in between, as well as making you feel bad about your body image. When you are fit and healthy, you will always be more confident and happier as you tend to seek out people and activities that help you enjoy life.
So what’s the first thing to do to start getting fit? Go for a walk. Each day go a little further. Soon you will be able to walk two kilometres without feeling breathless. But always consult your healthcare professional before starting any fitness regime.