Health and Fitness – Introduction
What common terms describe health and fitness?
What are the risk factors for cardiovascular disease?
Understand the state and world statistics for fitness and health.
What are the benefits of cardiovascular and resistance training?
This article will answer the above questions and help motivate you to get started on your fitness journey.
What are the common terms used to describe health and fitness?
#1. ADL aka Activities of Daily Living
The activities that we usually perform for self-care, home care, leisure, and work.
These activities can include the most basic, such as getting around the house, getting up, and going to the restroom.
Even taking a shower, making your own food, cleaning up, washing the dishes, carrying in groceries, and climbing stairs.
Believe it or not – two-thirds of Americans over 65 need help doing everyday activities such as eating, bathing, and getting out of a chair.
We’ve known for some time that about 25% of older Americans can’t perform some activities of daily living without help.
But we don’t know much about the other 75%.
Are they getting along fine, or do they, too, need some help?
From the data, the researchers at Harvard determined the percentage of older adults in five categories of function or adaptation:
- 31% were as mobile as they desired and performed all activities of daily living without any assistance
- 25% needed help from one or more devices, such as canes or bathroom grab bars
- 21% needed someone to help them get around or with one or more activities of daily living
- 18% said they had trouble being mobile, even with assistive devices and changes in the home
- 6% limited their activities and mobility, even with assistive devices and changes in the home ¹
Think about these statistics.
25% of older Americans cannot perform some activities of daily living.
As a result, do not take your ability to move freely and easily for granted!
Can you believe that simple things such as walking require assistance?
65 is not old, and this is one of the reasons that your health and fitness are so critical.
Therefore, just to meet the demands of performing activities of daily living, you must maintain your health and fitness.
#2. Physical Activity
Physical activity is any body movement produced by skeletal muscles that results in a substantial increase in resting energy expenditure.
Leisure time can be used for more physical activity such as exercise, sports, or hobbies.
Transportation can be a time for physical activity by walking or biking.
Occupational chores can also lead to more physical activity, depending on your occupation.
What is exercise?
Exercise is when you plan and repeat a specific physical activity.
For example, you plan to run for 30 minutes six days a week to boost your cardiovascular health.
Or, you decide to do resistance training two or three times a week to build muscular endurance and strength.
As such, the purpose of exercise is to condition any part of your body.
Therefore, include exercise in your day to stay mobile throughout your life.
And remember that form follows function, so your body will gradually adapt to the type of exercise you perform.
Therefore, if you swim, your physique will begin to resemble that of a swimmer.
And if you focus on powerlifting, then your body will start to look more like a powerlifter.
Choose an exercise you enjoy and it will be much easier to stick with it.
The absence of disease or weakness is not health.
Instead, health is defined as a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.
So, if you are struggling with depression, becoming more physically fit may be more effective for your mood than antidepressants.
What inspired me to start this fitness blog – Hashi Mashi’s tips for mind and body transformation?
It was my experience as an obese middle-aged man struggling with depression as well.
I was exhausted from the many negative side effects of antidepressants.
While some people benefit, that was not the case for me.
After dropping 75 pounds over 6 months, not only did I look better, but I felt better as well.
It is my hope that you too (if necessary) can improve your physical and mental health.
For a more detailed explanation, see The Best Exercise for Depression; How Strength Training Saved My Life.
#5. Physical Fitness
Physical fitness goes beyond health.
Fitness is the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and without undue fatigue.
Because you are fit, you will have ample energy left over for leisure-time pursuits or emergencies. ²
The 5 Key Components of Health and Fitness
- Cardio Fitness
- Body Composition
- Muscle Strength
- Muscle Endurance
You need a balanced exercise program to achieve health and fitness.
Your Joints are Designed for Movement
You are engineered to move.
Your joints prove that you are designed to be active.
Think about the structure of your body.
Your shoulders have significant movement capability.
- Flexion by moving your arms upwards over your head.
- Extension by moving your arms downwards.
- Horizontal movements are also possible.
- Abduction – movement of your shoulders away from the center of your body.
- Adduction – movement towards the center of your body.
- Rotation – rotating your shoulders, towards or away from your body.
And this is just for your shoulder joint!
You have similar multiple joint movement capabilities for your hips, such as:
Your elbows, knees, and ankles also can perform flexion and extension, but not adduction, abduction, or rotation.
Attempting to rotate your knees or ankles is what usually lands you in the hospital.
Therefore, you are NOT designed to sit all day.
You are built to move, so get moving!
The History of Health and Fitness
In the old days, you did not need a workout plan to move.
You had to move in order to eat.
Either you went foraging through the fields or forest for food or game.
Or you had to plow your field, plant seeds, take care of your crops, and harvest.
You needed to walk to wherever you wanted to go.
There were no televisions or smartphones to mesmerize you most of the day.
There were also not many processed or convenience foods.
As a result, most people were not obese.
Obesity is defined as having a body mass index over 30.
Today, a shocking 35 % of American adults are obese.
In addition, another 33% of American adults are overweight.
In total, 68% of Americans are either obese or overweight.
A hundred years ago, the only fat people were those who could afford rich foods.
Or perhaps they had servants to perform their labor.
In any case, we know that contributing factors to obesity are lack of movement and overconsumption of food.
Approximately 10 percent of U.S. adults were classified as obese during the 1950s.
In 2012, however, the CDC reported approximately 35 percent of U.S. adults were obese; the prevalence of obesity among American adults has more than tripled within the last six decades.
National surveys of childhood obesity weren’t recorded before 1963; however, the rate of childhood obesity in the U.S. began to rise in the 1980s.
In 1980, 7 percent of children ages 6 to 11 were obese; in 2012, the rate was nearly 18 percent.
In adolescents –12 to 19 years of age– the increase in obesity rates was more striking, climbing from 5 to 21 percent during the same period. ³
Thirty years earlier, obesity rates were not recorded, but you can imagine that they were even less than in 1950.
Who Belonged to Gyms in 1950?
The people who joined gyms back in the 1950s had specific fitness goals.
They were not in the gym merely to move more.
They were in the gym to become a bodybuilder, a powerlifter, or to compete in their sport or the Olympics.
The gyms in the 1950s were largely attended by men, and not as frequented by women.
How the times have changed.
Both men and women join gyms, but not to become bodybuilders.
Today, people join gyms to get and stay healthy, and to get fit.
Because people today are so much more sedentary than previous generations, it is necessary to join a gym just to move.
Gyms are not training grounds for athletes today as much as they train people to be more healthy.
How to get ‘Fitte’ with a properly designed program
Any program that you use to get fit, should conform to the FITTE Principle.
The FITTE principle is a guide to help you configure your exercise program.
F – stands for the frequency of your program.
I – stands for the intensity of exercise.
The best way to determine the right intensity is through the talk test.
Holding a conversation should not be that easy.
This guarantees that you are working out at a moderate intensity level.
T – stands for time, how much time that you allocate for this exercise plan.
You will soon see that you want to get in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity exercise.
T – stands for the type of exercise, whether it be walking, running, elliptical, or swimming and so many other options.
To get an idea of the many options you have for exercise, see this article: 5 Different Types of Workouts for Body Transformation
E – stands for enjoyment.
You have a better chance of sticking to your exercise plan if you enjoy the workout that you are doing.
The Ladder for Improving Your Health and Fitness
Think about climbing up a ladder of health and fitness.
If you’re sick, of course, you need to do your best to first get healthy.
Health as mentioned before is a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being.
The absence of disease or weakness is not health.
Fitness is a level beyond health because fitness is the ability to carry out your daily tasks with vigor and still have energy left over.
From sick –> health–> fit –> athlete.
At least, first, get healthy, then strive to get fit, and if possible, even become an athlete.
How do you get healthier?
A great place to start is with the National Recommendations for Health:
Get 150 minutes, which is 2 hours and 30 minutes every week of moderate-intensity aerobic activity.
Or get 75 minutes, which is 1 hour and 15 minutes each week of vigorous-intensity cardiorespiratory exercise.
Add muscle strengthening exercises 2 times per week.
Why should you exercise?
At the very least, you need to exercise to avoid the risk factors for cardiovascular disease.
Fear is a great motivator.
You have to wake up and smell the coffee.
Exercise can help you avoid certain risk factors which are in your hands to control.
Take a look at the American College of Sports Medicine risk factors:
ACSM risk factors for cardiovascular disease
Age is the first cardiovascular disease risk factor.
This is a risk factor over which you have no control.
If you are a man over the age of 45 or a woman over the age of 55, then you are at risk for cardiovascular disease.
What’s your age?
Make a note on a separate sheet to count up your risk factors.
#2. Body Mass Index (BMI)
BMI or Body Mass Index.
In general, the body mass index is an excellent tool to determine where your health and fitness currently stand.
If your BMI is over 25, then you are overweight, but this is not yet considered a risk factor.
However, if your BMI is over 30, you are obese, and obesity is a risk factor for cardiovascular disease.
How do you determine your BMI?
Here is the formula:
- BMI = weight (kg> / height (M2)
- 1 kg = 2.2 lbs
- 1 inch = 2.5 cm’s
If your BMI is under or equal to 18.5, then you are underweight.
Between 18.5 and 24.9, your weight is in the normal range.
Overweight is a BMI of 25 – 29.9.
Obesity is a BMI equal to or over 30.
Here is how to calculate the BMI of a 200-pound man who is 6’1″ tall.
First, convert the 200 pounds to kilograms.
Since 1k = 2.2 pounds, we have to divide the 200 pounds by 2.2.
200 divided by 2.2 = 90.7 kilograms.
6’1″ is 73 inches, and converted to cm’s is 182.5 centimeters.
182.5 centimeters is 1.825 meters.
Therefore, BMI = 90.7 kg/height (1.825 squared) 0r 3.3306.
90.7 / 3.3306 = 27.23 BMI.
In this case, 27.23 is over 25 and therefore, this person who is 6’1″ and 200 pounds, is overweight.
#3. Waist circumference
A waist circumference over 40 inches for a man or 35 inches for a woman is another risk factor.
The waist-to-hip ratio risk is over 0.95 for men and over 0.8 for women.
Today, an estimated 35 percent of adults over 20 years of age have a BMI over 30 and are obese.
An estimated 68 percent of adults over 20 are either overweight or obese with a BMI over 25.
#4. Genetics – family history
Family history – if one of your family members has had a heart attack or stroke, this increases your risk.
#5. Fasting blood glucose level
Fasting blood glucose level of more than 100mg.
A current smoker or a former smoker having quit smoking within the last 6 months.
#7. High blood pressure
Hypertension, more than 140mm/deciliter systolic or more than 90mm/deciliter diastolic.
120 over 80 is normal and any blood pressure reading which is higher is pre-hypertension.
But, know that pre-hypertension is not a risk factor, only pre-diabetes, which is having a fasting blood glucose level over 100 and over 126 is diabetes.
#8. High cholesterol
LDL Cholesterol > 130
HDL Cholesterol < 40
Total Cholesterol > 200
#9. Sedentary lifestyle
The sedentary risk factor is not exercising at least 30 minutes per day at least 5 times a week.
Now you have an idea of why it is a great idea to exercise, at least 5 times a week for 30 minutes a shot.
Exercise helps both the ‘acute’ (present/now) and the long-term likelihood of cardiovascular disease.
Exercise can help to prevent cv disease and can help to improve cardiovascular health if cv disease is already present.
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