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By: Ayuba A. Sodeke
Total fitness has been described in a lot of ways. Most aptly, perhaps, its entails looking your best, feeling your best, and performing to the best of your ability.

Physical fitness may be termed or described differently by different people. The level of fitness that a person can achieve varies with his or her physical or medical history. The level also depends on the personís height, weight, age, musculature, body type, and other characteristics. Thus, physical fitness for any individual is the highest level of fitness to which that person can go, given the limitations imposed by the various factors.

Physicians and fitness experts agree that movement of some kind is compulsory for anyone who intents to achieve physical fitness. Movement in the form of a planned, timed, repetitive program of exercise brings the human body to the goal of fitness in the shortest possible time.

Physical fitness has various aspects. It calls for adequate rest, relaxation and it requires proper nutrition. The physically fit person has to follow sound health practices and have good dental and health care. Otherwise, fitness may be difficult or impossible to achieve.

In broader terms, fitness brings many advantages and benefits to various aspects of human life. Fitness enhances an individualís ability to work with endurance and vigor and to enjoy work and leisure activities. A person who attains total physical fitness can usually avoid undue fatigue, so that he or she has energy left for recreation, hobbies and for meeting unforeseen emergencies.

Starting your fitness program may call for resolution of some final questions. Got a place to work out? Know what you are going to put on? Need any special equipment? Think of a few other things.

Good physical conditioning is as important as weight control during teenís years. Everybody cannot be a champion, but almost anyone can improve his heart, lungs and muscles so that he/she can cope more effectively with the stresses of young adult life. Physical fitness can be accomplished with little or no exercise equipment. It can be programmed.

Some of the goals of physical fitness is muscle development. When muscles are not used they atrophy, or shrink in size. A muscle that has been immobilized because of an injury may shrivel to one fourth of its normal size. Some of the muscles fibres are replaced by non-elastic fibrous tissue. On the other hand, muscles that are exercised regularly and vigorously will grow in size and strength. Exercise causes an increase in the number of muscles fibres as well as increase in the number of blood capillaries supplying the muscle tissue.

In addition to muscle development which every exercise program should provide, physical fitness should include optimum cardiopulmonary development. This means increased heart activity and greater oxygen consumption which is the basis for the popular aerobics workouts.

During aerobics workouts, the breathing is heavier than normal. In the steady state, the heart, lungs and muscles work together as an efficient machine at an activity level that is more demanding of the body than the resting state. Jogging, running and rapid walking are examples of aerobic exercises. They can be practiced with no special equipment.

The individual goals for physical fitness should be kept within sensible limits to avoid injury or impaired health. The maximum level of performances can be determined by the appearance of the panting and puffing that occurs when exercise exceeds the normal ability of the lungs to supply oxygen to the muscles. An individual that is not good in good physical condition may huff and puff after walking up a flight stairs whereas a mate could run a mile without showing signs of excessive breathing.

About the Author

A marketer who is interested in keeping fit and maintaining a perfect body shape.

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