What is Fitness? Definition of the Health DomainMay 26, 2015
What is Fitness?
The term “fitness” is an all-encompassing term that describes a set of physical attributes needed to perform a person’s tasks in a safe and healthy manner. This can include but is not limited to three general domains of fitness: the Health Domain, the Skilled Domain, and The Sports Related Domain. This blog will focus on describing the characteristics of the Health Domain.
The Health Domain contains such elements as appropriate body weight, cardiovascular health, muscle flexibility, muscle endurance, and, muscle strength.
Having appropriate body weight requires eating a balanced diet and participating in regular exercise. Consulting a registered dietician and physician is crucial in maintaining appropriate weight and preventing further complications.
Cardiovascular Fitness is the ability of the heart and lungs to meet the body’s demands for oxygen. This is crucial for all other aspects of fitness. The American College for Sports Medicine (ACSM) recommends between 20-60 minutes of vigorous physical activity 2-3 times per week. Activities that can help achieve this goal include running, stair climbing, walking, biking, or swimming.
This refers to the ability of the muscles and other tissue to lengthen and shorten throughout a joint’s full range of motion. Many factors affect a person’s flexibility such as age, level of fitness, gender, and body type. The ACSM recommends that stretching be performed 2-3 times each week and each stretch be held 10-30 seconds to the point of slight discomfort. They also recommend that the muscle is warm before stretching. This can be achieved with a light walk or jog prior to stretching.
This refers to the muscle’s ability to maintain activity. This is dependent on the way the muscles uses energy. Aerobic energy refers to the use of oxygen for energy. Exercises that increase cardiovascular work increase a muscle’s aerobic endurance. This includes exercises such as running, biking, or swimming. Anaerobic energy is used for short-term strength related activities such as weight training or fast running.
This is the muscle’s ability to produce force or perform work. This is associated with anaerobic energy and can increase a muscle’s size, improve a joint’s function, and increase bone strength.