• Fitness Study Guide

    Good physical fitness is an important factor in the fight against chronic diseases, particularly those of the cardiovascular system.  Physical fitness can be classified into two parts – health related fitness and skill/motor related fitness.

    -          Health related fitness – 4 components

    o   Cardiovascular endurance

    o   Muscular strength and endurance

    o   Muscular flexibility

    o   Body composition

    -          Skill/motor related fitness – 6 components

    o   Speed

    o   Power

    o   Agility

    o   Balance

    o   Reaction time

    o   Coordination

    Some of the benefits of good physical fitness could include the following:

    -          Improves and strengthens the cardiovascular system (increases oxygen supply to all parts of the body, including the heart, muscles and brain)

    -          Maintains better muscle tone, muscular strength and endurance

    -          Increases muscular flexibility

    -          Helps maintain ideal body weight

    -          Improves body posture and physical appearance

    -          Decreases the risk of chronic diseases and the mortality rate from chronic diseases

    -          Relieves tension and helps in coping with stresses of life

    -          Increases levels of energy

    -          Improves self-image and morale (helps fight depression)

    -          Decreases recovery time following physical exertion

    -          Regulates and improves overall body functions

    -          Improves the quality of life

    The President’s Challenge Physical Fitness Test – measures not only the health related components, but the skill/motor related components as well

    -          Shuttle run – measures speed, agility, balance, coordination

    -          1 mile run – cardiovascular endurance

    -          Curl-ups – measures abdominal muscular strength and endurance, power

    -          Pull ups – measures upper body muscular strength and endurance, power

    -          Sit and reach – measures muscular flexibility


    Aerobic exercise is an extremely good method of improving physical fitness.  Some training benefits of aerobic exercises are:

    -          Reduction of body fat

    -          Increased endurance

    -          Increased cardiac output (the amt of blood pumped per minute)

    -          Lower blood pressure

    -          Increased circulation

    -          Overall body tone

    -          Lower resting heart rate


    The above effects only occur when the body is exercised on a regular basis.  Frequency - Good health and fitness will occur if you exercise no less than 3 days per week. Intensity – You must exercise in the Target Heart Rate Zone which is 60% to 80% of your Maximum Heart rate which is 220 minus your age. Time - Exercise should be done for at least 20-30 min. each time.

    Warm up

                    Prior to any exercise it is necessary to warm up.  This allows the body’s temperature to rise slowly and prepare the muscles for more rapid movement.  It also reduces the possibility of injury and prepares the body for faster energy production (burning calories).

    Cool down

                    Remember never to stop abruptly during or after vigorous exercise.  Always allow your body to cool down just as slowly as you began.

    Resting heart rate

                    Your resting heart rate helps to determine your level of fitness.  The average for women is between 78-84 beats per minute (BPM).  The average for men is 72-78 BPM.  Being in good aerobic condition lowers the resting heart rate.

    Target Heart Rate Zone, and Maximum Heart Rate

                    While you are doing your aerobic exercises, you should work within your Target Heart Rate Zone (60-80% of your maximum heart rate).  This is determined by counting the number of times your heart beats per minute during exercise.  Your training target heart zone can be found by subtracting your age from 220 (maximum heart rate) and multiplying it by 60% and 80%.

    Ideally, your heart rate should be between the 60-80% range during aerobic exercise.  The body is performing its best between these two numbers.  Working any lower than the 60% means you are not working hard enough.  Working above the 80% means you are working too hard and should slow down.




    Lastly, many people believe they can diet their way to a better shape.  Wrong.  While dieting can reduce body mass, it cannot reshape, tone and firm the body. (Exercise Can!) Crash dieting, fasting, and fad diets can force your body to burn valuable muscle instead of fat.  The body thinks it is being starved and slows down metabolism to preserve the fat for survival.  Therefore, it burns less calories than before you began your diet.

    Remember you cannot spot reduce!  The only way to reduce body fat, no matter where it is located, is to perform regular aerobic exercise and reduce your calorie intake.

Last Modified on October 25, 2011