When it comes to your health and wellbeing, fitness plays a big part.
Fitness relates to what sort of physical health you are in. It involves several attributes, including your muscular strength and endurance, body composition, cardiorespiratory endurance, mental function, and the condition of your bones, muscles, and joints.However, while all the above give a general indication of a person’s overall fitness, it can be a lot more personal, too.
For example, to someone who exercises regularly, fitness might give them the ability to run a marathon, compete at sport, or lift heavy weights. To someone who doesn’t exercise as often, fitness might mean being able to do everyday tasks such as carrying the shopping or climbing the stairs without struggling or feeling out of breath.
Because fitness is so personal, it will be influenced by your interests, abilities and goals.
However, keeping your body in a healthy condition and making positive lifestyle choices are essential parts of maintaining your overall fitness, which, in turn, will help you to live life to the full.
Regardless of where you are at with your own health and wellbeing, there are some simple things you can do to improve your general fitness.
Read on to find out more...
WHY IS FITNESS IMPORTANT?Overall fitness is important for many reasons.
At one end of the scale, it will determine how well people can carry out simple, everyday tasks like walking to work, playing with the kids, dancing or doing DIY.
At the other end, it can enable people to compete in sports at a high level or cope with physically demanding jobs without getting tired or fatigued.
If you’re not an elite athlete or work in an extremely physical job, chances are you’ll have to do some form of regular exercise to remain functionally fit, so you can carry out everyday tasks without straining or fatiguing your body.
Functional fitness simply means keeping your heart and lungs healthy and your body flexible and limber, so you can cope with the daily activities that come your way.
Physical activity is important for everyone. Children and adults of all ages need regular physical activity to promote good health and wellbeing.
Maintaining good health and physical fitness has many benefits.
It can help you save money by reducing your risk of developing a whole range of health issues and conditions that may require expensive medication or care, or prevent you from working and earning money.
It can help increase your life expectancy and reduce the risk of premature ageing and mortality. Multiple sources of research suggest that people who are more active tend to be healthier and live longer.
Regular exercise and physical activity can also increase your stability, flexibility, muscle strength and bone density. It can make you less prone to accidental injuries, especially as you get older.
And it can help improve your quality of life.
A lack of physical activity – known as a sedentary lifestyle – can increase your risk of developing numerous chronic diseases and mental health issues.
WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN FITNESS AND EXERCISE?Fitness and exercise – or physical activity – are two totally different things, but they are closely interlinked. Exercise is a means by which you can achieve better overall fitness.
Although several factors play a part in a person’s overall fitness – genetics, environment, injury, and illness can all have an influence – physical activity helps strengthen bones and muscles and improve endurance.
Simply put, someone who regularly runs five miles a day will, after a short time, be able to do so quite easily. Someone who is starting from scratch, on the other hand, will have to build up their physical fitness to the level required to run five miles with ease.
There are also different types of exercise which impact specific areas of fitness.
Aerobic activity – such as running, walking, cycling or swimming – is good for improving endurance and cardiovascular and respiratory strength.
Strength training – such as lifting weights – helps build muscle and develop strong bones and joints. A combination of the two can help improve your body’s overall flexibility and stability.
And it’s not just about the physical condition of your body. There are proven links between regular exercise and good mental health.
Training your brain by reading, doing crosswords or other puzzles, can improve your mental agility and focus. This can, in turn, lead to better decision-making when it comes to things like your diet and lifestyle choices.
For example, you’re less likely to turn to things like junk food, sweet snacks or alcohol for comfort in a positive state of mind. These can be your go-to coping mechanism if you feel down in the dumps but, if consumed excessively over time, can impact your fitness and mental wellbeing.
HOW TO IMPROVE YOUR GENERAL FITNESS
When it comes to improving your general fitness, there are several simple lifestyle changes you can make. These include:
Watch what you eatImproving your diet can go a long way to enhancing your physical fitness. By swapping out junk food, processed sugars and unhealthy fats for fresh fruit and veg, lean proteins and whole grains, you’ll have more energy and be able to recover better after exercising.
A healthy diet is also the best way of ensuring you get most of the vital vitamins, minerals and nutrients you need to stay happy and healthy.
Natural supplementsWith the above point in mind, if you are worried that your diet might not be providing the nutrition you need, then natural supplements can help you top-up any shortfall.
All Lily & Loaf’s natural, nutritional supplements use premium ingredients, are manufactured to the highest ethical and sustainability standards, and are free from many common allergens.
Whatever your goals, Lily & Loaf’s general nutrition supplements are designed to support a balanced lifestyle, for optimal health and wellbeing.
Exercise moreAs we’ve said elsewhere in this blog, exercise is one of the easiest ways to improve your overall physical fitness. If you are a complete beginner, as a bare minimum, you should aim to do 30 minutes of aerobic exercise, which leaves you slightly out of breath, at least three times a week, on different days. If you can’t manage that, just do what you can and work yourself up to that level.
It really doesn’t matter what you do – walking, dancing, playing with the kids or even housework. The key is to raise your heart rate, get the blood pumping and get moving.
You’ll start to feel the benefits straight away.
Rest and sleep properlyWhen it comes to exercising, allowing your body to recover after physical activity is almost as important as doing the exercise itself. So, make sure you give any sore muscles time to rest up between workouts.
If something doesn’t feel right, don’t make it worse by exercising until its better.
And make sure you get proper sleep – eight hours a night if possible.
Sleep is when your body shuts down, and your organs get to work repairing damaged cells, replenishing your energy levels and generally resetting ready for the day ahead.
If you struggle to sleep at night, cut out naps in the day and try to keep the time you go to bed and get up the same. If you can’t switch off, try aromatherapy – Lily & Loaf offer a wide range of calming essential oils that can help you relax and unwind after a hard day and get you in the mood for some serious shut-eye.
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