Possibly one of the most important parts of fitness training is flexibility and mobility. Flexibility is the ability of your muscles to stretch, and mobility is being able to move your joints and tissues through their full range of motion. Both are important to athletic performance and for avoiding injury. Muscles and joints that are flexible and mobile — as well as strong — are much less susceptible to sprains and other injuries.
The US guidelines continue: For additional and more extensive health benefits, adults should increase their aerobic physical activity to 300 minutes (5 hours) a week of moderate-intensity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity activity. Additional health benefits are gained by engaging in physical activity beyond this amount. Adults should also do muscle-strengthening activities that are moderate or high intensity and involve all major muscle groups on 2 or more days a week, as these activities provide additional health benefits.
Before the industrial revolution, fitness was defined as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. However, with automation and changes in lifestyles physical fitness is now considered a measure of the body's ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.
A comprehensive fitness program tailored to an individual typically focuses on one or more specific skills, and on age- or health-related needs such as bone health. Many sources also cite mental, social and emotional health as an important part of overall fitness. This is often presented in textbooks as a triangle made up of three points, which represent physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Physical fitness can also prevent or treat many chronic health conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyle or aging. Working out can also help some people sleep better and possibly alleviate some mood disorders in certain individuals.
Weightlifting. Lifting weights is the classic strength-building exercise. From triceps kickbacks with 5-pound dumbbells to Olympic lifts with 500 pounds on a barbell, anyone can do weight training. And it's not just dumbbells and barbells; you can use machines, resistance bands, kettlebells, medicine balls and many other pieces of equipment. Weightlifting also often includes accessory exercises using body weight only.
Studies have shown an association between increased physical activity and reduced inflammation. It produces both a short-term inflammatory response and a long-term anti-inflammatory effect. Physical activity reduces inflammation in conjunction with or independent of changes in body weight. However, the mechanisms linking physical activity to inflammation are unknown.
Strength refers to the ability of your muscles to perform work at one time, such as lifting a heavy barbell. You build strength by putting enough resistance against your muscles that you cause damage to them. When your muscles repair themselves in response to this damage, they grow bigger. Since your heart and lungs are muscles, some people refer to your cardio capacity as cardio strength.
Calisthenics. There's nothing fancy about a calisthenics workout, but just because it's basic doesn't mean it's not effective. A 2017 study in Isokinetics and Exercise Science put a group of untrained individuals through a calisthenics program to test the effectiveness of an exercise method that uses no equipment. Participants did a brief workout consisting of four or five exercises three days a week for eight weeks. At the end of the trial, all participants had significant improvements in posture, strength and body composition.
Studies have shown that physical activity can improve mental health and well-being.This improvement is due to an increase in blood flow to the brain and the release of hormones. Being physically fit and working out on a consistent and constant basis can positively impact one's mental health and bring about several other benefits, such as the following.
Weight-Bearing Exercise. You don't necessarily need to lift weights to build muscle and strength. Any weight-bearing activity that forces your body to work against gravity can make you stronger. This is especially true if you aren't used to exercising, because your muscles will be more challenged by activities than someone who is stronger and more experienced. Examples of weight-bearing exercises include:
The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans were created by the Office of Disease Prevention and Health Promotion. This publication recommends that all adults should avoid inactivity to promote good health mentally and physically. For substantial health benefits, adults should participate in at least 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity, or 75 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity aerobic physical activity, or an equivalent combination of moderate- and vigorous-intensity aerobic activity. Aerobic activity should be performed in episodes of at least 10 minutes, and preferably, it should be spread throughout the week.
Employing a right mix of two or more of the aforementioned types of training can promote well-rounded physical fitness. For example, a combination of agility training and eccentric training is useful in sports that require strength, endurance, and coordination such as basketball and football. A combination of strength training and continuous training benefits individuals who want to maintain a certain type of physique.
^ Colbert LH, Visser M, Simonsick EM, Tracy RP, Newman AB, Kritchevsky SB, Pahor M, Taaffe DR, Brach J, Rubin S, Harris TB (July 2004). "Physical activity, exercise, and inflammatory markers in older adults: findings from the Health, Aging and Body Composition Study". Journal of the American Geriatrics Society. 52 (7): 1098–104. doi:10.1111/j.1532-5415.2004.52307.x. PMID 15209647.
Many of the activities you do to build strength will also help your balance. Balance is partly a matter of developing your small stabilizer muscles that provide support and keep you steady. Free weight exercises, such as lunges and deadlifts, will help strengthen the stabilizer muscles. Even better, include some single-leg exercises, such as single-leg deadlifts and pistol squats, in your strength-training routine.