Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

Interactive wellness education exclusively for Gallagher Student Health & Special Risk students

What is Fitness

Suitable for a Purpose. A simple definition of fitness is being physically sound. But perhaps a better definition is being suitable for a purpose. That purpose would be the lifestyle you'd like to lead and the life goals you'd like to achieve. Maybe fitness is really about having a body with the capabilities to support your broader endeavors.

Fit for You. Central to this idea is that your fitness supports your objectives--not those based on images or ideas from magazines and TV, or even those advocated by your spouse, friend or mother. Figure out what matters to you in your life and how your body fits into that vision. Take steps to change your body to support your larger objectives. Think of being fit to live, not living to be fit.

There is no magic to being fit and maintaining a healthy weight, just sound principles and solid work consistently applied.

  • Complete the phrase "I will consider myself fit when I can...
    • bike with my 10-year-old for 60 minutes."
    • climb three flights of stairs to my office without getting winded."
    • bend over repeatedly for 30 minutes to give myself a pedicure."
    • carry full garbage cans to the curb for trash pick up without help."
    • finish a fundraiser walk-a-thon without pain."
  • Make a plan to get there.
  • Work the plan.
  • Adjust the plan.
  • Repeat.

The Big 4. Fitness has four components: endurance, strength, flexibility, balance.

Endurance. Many activities don't require a great amount of strength, but rather endurance--the ability to sustain a moderate effort over an extended period of time. Decent endurance allows for a pleasant time on a long walk, run or swim. Or a hike with friends and family. Or riding a bicycle on a glorious fall afternoon.

Strength. Strength and endurance go together. Endurance is mostly about making your most important muscle--your heart--strong. Strength is about making other muscles strong. But you can't exercise your heart without some reasonable strength in other muscles.

Strength is not about having big, body-builder muscles. It's simply about having enough muscle for daily living and recreation for the rest of your life. And strong muscles get even more important as we age since we automatically start losing muscle mass as early as our thirties!

Flexibility. Our bodies are meant to bend. Joints, ligaments, muscles want to be used for their intended purpose and that requires flexibility. By moving all of our bendable parts gently and regularly according to their design, we reduce the risk of injury in our daily activities (and in our exercise program).

Balance. We all take balance for granted until we have problems with it! Even a neighborhood walk can be disastrous if one has poor balance. Good balance increases the range of activities you can enjoy. And, many people are surprised to learn that balance can be trained. Yoga, pilates and tai chi are great ways to train balance while exercising.

Fitness that fits your lifestyle and life objectives has a multitude of benefits.

Fitness can reduce your risk of...
  • heart attack
  • stroke
  • depression
  • diabetes
  • cancer
  • blood pressure

Fitness can can also increase...

  • libido
  • self-esteem
  • social involvement
  • general sense of well-being
  • your lifespan

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