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Fitness – An overview

by Kamal Salar

Fitness is a topic everyone should be concerned about. Certain professions require their membership to perform more physically demanding tasks than others, but a person who sits behind a desk should care just as much about his fitness as does a soldier or athlete. According to Wikipedia, ten attributes combined measure a person’s physical fitness: accuracy, agility, balance, body composition, cardiovascular endurance, coordination, flexibility, strength, power speed and stamina. The entry in the online encyclopedia goes on to state that mental fitness may also be considered part of a person’s over all fitness.

The average person may not face the challenges of a soldier or professional, but keeping his or her body in a good state of overall health will keep a person active longer into his life and prevent potential health problems.

Physical Fitness

It is impossible to turn on a television or radio without hearing a public service announcement exhorting children and adults to get away from the television, radio or in some cases off the Internet and go outside. These public service announcements air frequently because obesity and other health risks related to the lack of exercise have become a national epidemic. The President’s Council on Physical Fitness (PCPF) was created to address the issue.

The President’s Council on Physical Fitness, which may be reached at www.fitness.gov, sponsors a yearly challenge to students in the first through twelfth grades. School students who complete a series of tasks showing their fitness prowess are rewarded at the end of each school year with a certificate signed by the president. The PCPF also establishes fitness guidelines for children and adults. To further promote increased activity rates among the general population, the PCPF runs a series of activities in May, which it has National Physical Fitness month.

The PCPF works mostly with younger people, and celebrities such as Arnold Schwarzenegger, the governor of California, frequently act as an advisor to the group. But children are not the only segment of the population whose health suffers when they do not get enough exercise. In an era of video games, television and the Internet, adults have led increasingly sedentary lifestyles in the well-developed countries of the world. Nintendo’s Wii Console may have been created to help this problem, but the Wii video games do not burn as many calories as simple games like golf or tennis.

Poor physical fitness can result in complications like diabetes, and as people get older conditions like sarcopenia, a loss of muscle tissue, are worse and strike sooner in people who do use their muscles regularly. Naturally, keeping fit is a good idea for everyone, but the question becomes what the best way to stay active and achieve fitness is.

Fitness Tips

The following tips will help a person maintain a state of physical and mental fitness. The first three tips apply to practically everyone. The tips are to move more, reduce stress, and take time to relax. Walking, bicycle riding, jogging, or getting involved in sports are good ways to achieve the first goal of moving more. Reducing stress, the second goal, is more difficult. Stress is an unavoidable part of life, regardless of where we live or who we are. The third goal, to take time to relax is common sense. Taking time to unwind helps a person relieve stress and clears his head from the challenges faced that day.

It may seem strange that flossing teeth regularly should make a list of physical fitness tips, but the oral and nasal passages are a good way for viruses and bacteria to enter the body, so this list of fitness tips includes flossing and maintaining a good oral hygiene. Exercise boosts the body’s immune system, but brushing and flossing clears the oral passages of bacteria that can lead to gingivitis and more serious health conditions..

Smoking tobacco negatively affects an individual’s cardiovascular and respiratory health. Smokers may be able to keep up with non-smokers in many athletic tacks, but the body of a smoker will not process the air they breathe as efficiently as the lungs of a non-smoker. Most of the damage done by smoking will be repaired after a person kicks the nicotine habit and ability of a smoker’s respiratory system will eventually return to normal.

Although alcohol does not affect the body in the same way that nicotine does, prolonged exposure can cause damage to the liver, damage the kidneys, causes certain types of cancer and the high caloric value of many alcoholic drinks contributes to weight gain. The liver damage an alcoholic suffers will eventually be repaired. It should be noted, though, that the Greeks got it right when they put the inscription over the Temple of Delphi that said everything in moderation. People who drink one or two glasses of alcohol a day have lower blood pressures and reduced risks of heart attacks than people who do not drink.


The final tip for the person who wishes to remain physically fit is to avoid environmental pollution. Big City dwellers will find avoiding pollution more problematic than someone who lives in small towns or on a mountaintop, as smog is an unavoidable element of living in a large city. Avoiding smoke-filled rooms, high smog days and busy streets reduces an individual’s exposure to environmental pollutants.

Pulling it together

While the article so far has concentrated on physical fitness, fitness also has a mental component that should not be ignored. Stress, anxiety, and depression may take place in the mind, but they can affect the health of the body. Reducing stress and anxiety helps person maintain focus and prevents the current situation from becoming overwhelming. If a person suffers from depression, adding physical activities can help control the condition, although it does not enable a person to avoid taking medication.

Perhaps mental and physical fitness should not be put into different categories, but rather considered as part of a larger whole. One thing is certain, until the fitness of the US population improves, the public service spots on television and radio stations will continue. The sheer annoyance factor of these ads may get the target audience to pay attention to the problem so that their favorite television shows do not suffer from these unwanted interruptions.





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