Physical fitness is a general state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, moderate-vigorous physical activity, exercise and rest.
Before the industrial revolution, fitness was the capacity to carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. However, with automation and changes in lifestyles physical fitness is now considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.
Physical training with dumbbells
Specific or task-oriented fitness is a person’s ability to perform in a specific activity with a reasonable efficiency: for example, sports or military service. Specific training prepares athletes to perform well in their sports.
- 100 m sprint: in a sprint the athlete must be trained to work anaerobically throughout the race, an example of how to do this would be interval training.
- Middle distance running: athletes require both speed and endurance to gain benefit out of this training. The hard working muscles are at their peak for a longer period of time as they are being used at that level for longer period of time.
- Marathon: in this case the athlete must be trained to work aerobically and their endurance must be built-up to a maximum.
- Many fire fighters and police officers undergo regular fitness testing to determine if they are capable of the physically demanding tasks required of the job.
- Members of armed forces will often be required to pass a formal fitness test – for example soldiers of the US Army must be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).
- Hill sprints: requires a level of fitness to begin with, the exercise is particularly good for the leg muscles. The army often trains doing mountain climbing and races.
- Sand running: creates less strain on leg muscles than running on grass or concrete. This is because sand collapses beneath your foot softening the landing. Sand training is an effective way to lose weight and become fit as its proven you need more effort (1 and a half times more) to run on the soft sand than on a hard surface.
- Water jogging: is a form of exercise that decreases strain on joints and bones. The water supplies minimal impact to muscles and bones which is good for those recovering from injury. Furthermore, the resistance of the water as you jog through it provides an enhanced effect of exercise (The deeper you are the greater the force needed to pull your leg through).
In order for physical fitness to benefit the health of an individual, an unknown response in the person called a stimulus will be triggered by the exertion. When exercise is performed with the correct amount of intensity, duration and frequency, a significant amount of improvement can occur. The person may overall feel better but the physical effects on the human body take weeks or months to notice and possibly years for full development. For training purposes, exercise must provide a stress or demand on either a function or tissue. To continue improvements, this demand must eventually increase little over an extended period of time. This sort of exercise training has three basic principles: overload, specificity, and progression. These principles are related to health but also enhancement of physical working capacity.