Monday, April 2, 2012


Did you ever wonder what the term "fitness" actually refers to? Physical fitness is a
set of attributes that allows our bodies to respond and adapt to physical effort. Being
physically fit can also reduce our risk for certain diseases. Physical fitness can be im-
proved by engaging in exercise at an intensity that overloads (challenges) our body.
There are several areas in which fitness can be improved: cardiorespiratory endur-
ance, which is the ability to perform exercise using large-muscles at a moderate to high
level of intensity for a prolonged period of time; muscular strength and endurance, or
how much force you can produce in a single effort (strength) and how well your muscles
resist fatigue (endurance); and flexibility, the ability to move your joints through a full
range of motion.

While you may like doing one type of exercise more than another (for example,
preferring running to weight lifting), it is important to include exercises that improve all
the areas of fitness.

Cardiorespiratory endurance can be improved by engaging in activities such as brisk
walking, running, cycling, swimming or aerobic dancing. Exercise sessions should be con-
ducted 3-5 days per week for at least 20 minutes (which can be broken into 10 minute
segments) at a moderate intensity.
Muscular strength and endurance can be improved by doing resistance training at
least twice a week on nonconsecutive days and working all of the major muscle groups.
Improved flexibility can be accomplished by stretching all the major muscle to the
point of mild discomfort and holding each stretch for 15-30 seconds.
Improving your level of physical fitness will benefit you in both the long and short
term. Find activities you like and make the time to do them!

- Jamie Bullard

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