Health is a state of physical and mental well-being and not just the absence of disease. Being healthy allows us to do more in every area of life.
Exercise can improve brain and bone health, increase mobility, and lower your risk of chronic conditions like diabetes, heart disease, and arthritis. It can also help you reach your fitness goals by reducing inflammation and increasing muscle strength and endurance.
Endurance is the ability to perform physical activity for a prolonged period without getting tired. It’s important to have endurance when exercising because it can improve your heart health, lower your blood pressure, and even help you lose weight.
Unlike stamina, which generally refers to bursts of intense energy (like sprinting or weight lifting), endurance typically involves activities that require sustained efforts like long-distance running or cycling. Muscle endurance, which helps you maintain a given type of activity over a longer period, is also an aspect of endurance.
To build your endurance, start with low-impact aerobic exercises and gradually increase your exercise duration and intensity over time. Try using a fitness tracker or an app to log your workouts so you can see your improvements over time.
In addition to endurance and flexibility, strength is another important aspect of fitness. It measures your ability to apply force to a movement or task. A biceps curl is one example of this. Strong muscles are also more resilient and can help you resist injury.
Getting stronger doesn’t necessarily mean lifting more weight, but it can be an indicator of progress. For instance, if you can do a set of 20 reps with a certain amount of weight, you can be pretty confident that your muscles are getting stronger.
The best way to measure your strength is through a test called VO2 max, which tests your body’s capacity to use and deliver oxygen in the blood. It’s typically done in a lab, but there are at-home tests you can do to get a good idea. Other ways to track your strength include logging your weight training and measuring the number of reps you can complete during a workout or how much weight you can lift in a certain movement.
Flexibility is the ability of muscles and joints to move through a range of motion without restriction. It is important for exercise and sport, as well as daily activities and work. Flexibility is measured with a stretching routine or a standard test such as the sit and reach.
A flexible body helps relieve stress, reduces the risk of lower back pain, and enhances muscle coordination. Flexibility can also help improve posture and decrease the likelihood of injury.
Although flexibility has been included in national fitness test batteries, the strength of any association between specific flexibility tests and health outcomes has been minimal. This may be due to the differences in tests used, study designs, and participants’ characteristics (e.g., age, gender). Flexibility should be evaluated in combination with other musculoskeletal fitness components. Further research is needed.
Coordination is the ability to move muscles correctly in time with the brain and the body. It is an important part of balance, which can help prevent falls that can cause serious injury. Coordination is also important for sports, such as basketball and football, as well as everyday tasks like driving and playing music.
The brain is the main control center for coordination, telling the body what to do and when. The cerebellum helps to make sure that the muscles respond quickly and accurately to brain signals. This is why it’s so important to be well-coordinated, whether you’re juggling or hitting a ball.
There are many ways to measure fitness, including cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, body composition, and flexibility. To get the most out of your health and fitness program, you need to focus on all of these areas. That’s why our instructors follow the teacher-scholar model, conducting research alongside undergraduate and graduate students. Learn more about this dynamic approach to education on our site.