Hi everyone, for this post we'll be delving into the world of fitness, with a little help from my lovely friend and colleague Dannielle Palmer-Gutzmer. Let me know if you like the content because there is much more where this came from. Enjoy!
A few weeks ago, I had gone downstairs to fix myself something to eat before I got settled down to work. I had popped a bag of popcorn and picked up a medium sized Julie mango for dinner (I prefer to eat light in the evenings to avoid the almost inevitable energy dip after eating in addition to the fact that I’m just tired). I took my meal up to my bedroom but realized I had forgotten my bottle of water. As I was making my second trip upstairs, I decided to run upstairs as I had usually done not more than a few months ago. Needless to say, I was a bit surprised when I found that these stairs aren't that easy to sprint up. I know my exercise routine had been on hiatus for a while but surely walking up and down these stairs everyday must have counted for something. So it got me thinking: what does it really mean to be fit? How do you even really know how fit you are? And, how can you improve fitness?
Your level of Fitness refers to your body’s ability to meet the demands of physical tasks while still having energy and strength to feel as good as possible. This doesn't mean you have to be an athlete but it does mean that you should be able to be and feel at your best at all times. This lowers your risk for certain non-communicable lifestyle diseases.
The basic components of fitness include:
Agility - your ability to perform a series of power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions
Balance - your ability to control the body's position, whether its stationary (e.g. boat pose) or while moving
Cardiovascular Endurance – your the heart's ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it (think long distance running)
Co-ordination - your ability to put together all components so that effective movements are achieved
Flexibility – your ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (think of a leg split)
Local Muscle Endurance - a single muscle's ability to perform sustained work (riding a bike)
Power – your ability to exert the most muscular contraction immediately in a fiery burst of movements. The two components of power are strength and speed. (think of Usain Bolt in a sprint race)
Strength - the extent to which your muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance
Strength Endurance – your muscle's ability to perform a maximum contraction time after time
So now that you know what fitness is and the components that are involved, how do you know how fit you are – or if you’re even fit at all?
I’ve found a few simple tests that will help you to determine your fitness level. Feel free try them out.