Being physically fit means you are able to engage in consistent exercise because your cardiovascular system is healthy, your body is flexible and your muscles are strong. In addition, physical fitness refers to your ability to perform endurance activities and have a healthy ratio of muscle and fat on your body. Achieving a healthy level of physical fitness offers many health benefits, making it an important goal for all people. Walking, jogging, swimming, cycling, dancing and strength training are good choices.
Engaging in physical activity burns calories, which helps you lose unwanted weight or stay at a healthy number. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recommends 150 minutes of exercise each week to maintain your weight. Increase this number for healthy weight loss. In addition, being physically fit increases your overall lean muscle mass, which boosts your metabolism and helps you burn more calories.
Reduces the Risk of Disease
Regular exercise creates a physically fit body, which helps control your blood pressure and cholesterol levels, reducing your risk of heart disease. Controlling weight, cholesterol and blood pressure with regular workouts also helps lower your risk of developing Type 2 diabetes. People who live an active lifestyle reduce their risk of several types of cancer, primarily colon and breast cancers, according to the Harvard School of Public Health.
Regular activity keeps your brain healthy and enhances thinking, learning and memory. It may also reduce your risk of depression by boosting endorphins in your brain. Even small amounts of exercise are beneficial, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. However, the recommendation is 30 to 60 minutes three to five times per week for optimal brain and mood benefits.
Strong Bones and Muscles
Aerobic exercise tones and strengthens your muscles, but including two 20- to 30-minute strength-training sessions each week enhances the benefit. Weightlifting, using resistance bands or practicing yoga are strength-training activities that count toward this goal. Creating a physically fit body slows bone density loss and keeps your muscles strong. This reduces your risk of osteoporosis and makes day-to-day tasks easier.
Increases Life Span
People who engage in several hours of activity each week are not only more likely to be physically fit, but they can have a 40 percent lower risk of dying early, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Being physically fit also reduces the risk of falls as you age. More exercise increases life span benefits, but any amount is a good way to live longer.
- Medical News Today: What is Fitness? What Does Being Physically Fit Mean?
- Harvard School of Public Health: The Benefits of Physical Activity
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity and Health
- Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: Physical Activity for a Healthy Weight
- MayoClinic.com: Exercise: 7 Benefits of Regular Physical Activity
Eliza Martinez has written for print and online publications. She covers a variety of topics, including parenting, nutrition, mental health, gardening, food and crafts. Martinez holds a master's degree in psychology.