Fitness means different things to each of us. It might be having enough energy to play with your children / grandchildren, improve your triathlon time, go hill walking, or do a day’s hard work in the garden. While the intensity may differ they all require effort, and we are only as ‘fit’ as what we actually do. Anyone who has done any new or unaccustomed physical activity knows how your body feels the next day.. sore!
My view of overall fitness is it that comprises a balance of 4 key elements:
Cardiovascular -The ability of your heart and lungs to uptake and utilise oxygen efficiently.
Strength -Your muscles’ ability to generate force against physical objects.
Core – Exercising your abdominal and back muscles to create a girdle of strength.
Flexibility – Moving the body’s joints through a full range of motion and having enough flexibility in the muscles to achieve this.
Some elements overlap – weight (strength) training can have a cardiovascular element depending on intensity. However imbalances in the 4 elements may predispose someone to injury; here is a couple of examples.. There is little point having strong legs from running if your core is weak. And repeated strength training with little flexibility work can cause muscle imbalances by tethering nerves to cause muscular pain.
To achieve a balance of all 4 you could print this out, take it to a gym and ask the instructor for a programme. However if gyms aren’t your thing, or you’re short of time, look at what activities you already do then try and incorporate the elements into those.
In Part 2 there will be some ideas on how you can do this with no gym required so check back soon!