Fitness is something that gets talked about a lot in our industry, but is rarely defined. And it might come as a surprise, but fitness isn’t necessarily about how quickly you can run a mile or how much weight you can lift.
What is fitness?
Fitness is defined differently by different people, but we love this definition from Wikipedia:
“Physical fitness is a state of health and well-being and, more specifically, the ability to perform aspects of sports, occupations and daily activities.”
There are 4 main types of fitness and these are aerobic fitness, anaerobic fitness, endurance and flexibility.
The 4 main types of fitness
Aerobic (which literally means ‘with oxygen’) exercise is exercise that increases your heart rate and increases your oxygen intake.
There are a great many benefits of aerobic fitness, not least: keeping your lungs healthy, keeping your heart healthy, reducing your resting heart rate, weight loss, boosting your immune system, increasing your stamina and helping your body control its blood sugar.
Some types of aerobic exercise are walking, swimming, cycling and running (at a steady and gentle pace).
When you take part in anaerobic fitness, your body is breaking down glucose, and not relying on oxygen for energy. Anaerobic exercise involves short periods of intense exercise, whereas aerobic exercise is often gentler with more longevity.
Some popular examples of anaerobic exercise are HIIT (high intensity interval training), sprinting, lunges, lifting weights and calisthenics.
The benefits of anaerobic fitness include: burning fat, strengthening your bones, boosting your metabolism, increasing your VO2 max, increasing your power, increasing your speed and protecting your joints.
Endurance fitness refers to the length of time that you can sustain physical activity. This is all about stamina. For example, a long distance runner will need to have higher levels of endurance than an athlete who sprints.
The benefits of having strong endurance fitness include: being able to train for longer, helping to lower your resting heart rate, increased strength and being able to withstand higher demands during exercise.
Some ways that you can improve your endurance are interval training, carrying out exercise that is low in intensity and high in reps, lengthening your workouts and decreasing the recovery time you give yourself (if and when safe to do so).
Flexibility is an important part of your overall fitness. Simply put, this is the range of motion that a group of muscles and connective tissue have at a joint or a group of joints.
Regular, gentle stretching is a great way to improve your flexibility. Exercises such as yoga and pilates can also help you become more flexible. This article from HealthifyMe takes you through 10 simple stretches to help improve your flexibility.
The benefits of flexibility in fitness include:
- Preventing injuries
- Improving your athletic performance
- Increasing your energy levels when you exercise (relaxed muscles require less energy to move)
- Reducing pain and soreness in your muscles after your exercise
- Increasing your range of motion
We hope this article has helped you understand more about what people mean when they talk about fitness, and the 4 types of fitness: aerobic, anaerobic, endurance, and flexibility.
For more information on fitness, health and nutrition, gym equipment and more, read our blog. Take a look around our website to browse our range of commercial standard gym equipment, including our strength equipment, functional training equipment, cardio equipment and gym flooring.