Components of Fitness and Wellness
“A balanced approach to health and wellness”
You’ve heard our mission, you’re beginning to understand the concept, but let’s push a little further. I’d like for you all to take a moment and read through the focal points below. Complete a self-evaluation (if you so choose), and score yourselves from 0-100. How do you think you are doing on the health and wellness spectrum?
In which of these focal points are you lacking time, effort, education, or support?
The training of the heart, lungs and blood system. This is accomplished by using the large muscles of the upper legs in a continuous manner. When we walk, run, swim, bike, etc., we are improving our aerobic component. Recommendations: minimum of 30 minutes of cardio exercise three times a week at about 70% of our target heart rate (THR). Since this kind of exercise is generally low intensity, it can be performed every day of the week and sometimes more than once a day. Our THR is determined by the following formula: 220 – your age = your maximum heart rate x 70% = THR. For those over 40: 205 – (50% x your age) = your maximum heart rate x 70% = THR.
To improve overall strength, we challenge specific muscles. The best way to accomplish this is to exercise a muscle against some form of resistance such as our body weight, free weights, TRX or bands. Then employing a recommended program of “progressive overload” we continually demand more from our muscles. The muscles, are forced to adapt by becoming stronger and by increasing their endurance without incurring injury. Recommendations: 2-3 times per week, do not work the same muscles 2 days in a row.
The ability to move our limbs and/or body parts freely without constraint. Our ease of accomplishing this is a function of our flexibility or range of motion (ROM). Flexibility is like strength: use it or lose it. An individual can lose flexibility through failure to stretch or challenge our range of motion. The best method of improving this component is to perform several stretches in a prescribed manner. Since stretching is very low intensity, we can and should stretch every day of the week and multiple times a day.
The ability to stay centered or to remain in a desired position. Our balance is affected in two ways. First, by affective perception, i.e., our body’s ability to sense when we are losing balance; and second, by our speed and capability to adequately respond to our temporary loss of balance. Interestingly, this ability is a function of our strength and flexibility. The less flexible we are, the more frequently we will lose our balance. The less strength we have, the more diminished our capacity to regain our lost balance.
Each person is different. Your age, activity level, and body type all determine how many and what type of nutrients your body needs. Your trainer and choosemyplate.gov, and Precision Nutrition are both resources that can help you determine a proper diet for your lifestyle and fitness goals. In addition to your nutrition needs, it is also recommended to drink at least ½-1 ounce of water per pound of body weight.
What does the number on the weight scale really mean? Regarding overall health, weight is not nearly as important as the composition of that weight. More important, rather than tracking weight, we should be aware of our body composition. Stepping on a weight scale simply tells us the combined weight of all our body’s tissues. That weight may fluctuate throughout the day depending on the time of day, hydration status or what we are wearing. In contrast, body composition reveals the relative proportions of fat and lean mass in the body. Fat mass consist of two types of fat: essential and nonessential fat.
The second component of body composition, lean mass, refers to bones, tissues, organs and muscle. Fat above the minimal amount is referred to as nonessential fat. It is generally accepted that a range of 10-22 percent for men and 20-32 percent for women is considered satisfactory for good health. A body composition within the recommended range suggests you have less risk of developing obesity related diseases such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and even some cancers. In addition, although we face risks when our body composition is too high, we face another set of risks when our body composition is too low. When we drop below the minimal recommended levels of essential fat, we negatively affect the delivery of vitamins to the organs, the ability of the reproductive system to function, and overall well-being.