Being physically fit is personal. Each of us have our own definitions of what physical fitness means and the methods of which we achieve it. Some believe they need to reach or maintain a certain weight, others run the New York City Marathon; some even want to bench press twice their own weight! If you have achieved any, or all of these feats, that is awesome! But sorry to say, you might still be failing to actually be physically fit.
The truth is that physical fitness is much more broad than just your weight or your performance at a single athletic activity. Here’s a good working definition for physical fitness:
What it actually means to be physically fit is actually significantly more broad than being a certain weight or being awesome in one specific activity. Here’s a great working definition we follow to being physically fit.
“A great general state of health and well-being, including the ability to effectively perform daily work and leisure activities, maintaining a disease free.”
By adhering to this mantra, it’s presumptuous to believe that maintaining a specific weight or being totally “ripped,” means that you are at your peak physical fitness. Fitness itself is about meeting the everyday challenges of life, not just your ability to run a six-minute mile time. Here’s the five primary areas that the Department of Health and Human Services defines as the keys to unlock total physical fitness.
Body composition is more comprehensive than simply about how much you weigh in pounds, it consists of the whole package of muscle, fat and bone. Conducting a body composition survey simply by using visual standards, or even with the use of a BMI (Body mass index) scale, can still be wrong. Some people may appear out-of-shape, they could still be within a healthy fat percentage range. Others may look fit and actually have a significantly higher amount of body fat. What are the recommended healthy ranges you may ask? Women are recommended to keep from 8 – 35% body fat, while men should keep 5 – 29%. Men don’t have boobs or hips!
How do you go about finding out what your body fat percentage? Doctors and nutritionists are totally capable of testing your body fat. However it might just be easier to ask a physical trainer at your local gym to conduct a fitness test. The trainer has the tape measures, scales and calipers to give you a pretty comprehensive read of your body composition.
That implies the dreaded word “Cardio” in case you didn’t know. But what determines the overall physical fitness of Cardio? To be physically fit in this area is defined by your overall ability to run, walk, bike or climb stairs without easily becoming winded or exhausted. For example, I knew I needed to do more Cardio work when I could jog several miles, but got winded going up three flights of stairs. In order to adequately evaluate your cardio, get a physical fitness test at your local gym. They can evaluate your breathing, heart rate and overall endurance.