What does “being fit” mean to you? Does it mean having a low-level of body fat? The ability to run long distances? The ability to run short distances quickly? Having a low BMI? Having huge muscles?
Being fit means different things to different people. However, many experts believe there are three core components that cannot be neglected to achieve a high level of fitness. The first is muscular efficiency. A lean, toned, and well-proportioned frame is important to a healthy metabolism and bodily function. Second would be the cardiovascular piece to this puzzle. Engaging in frequent cardiovascular exercise, that efficiently raises your training heart rate, will provide you with a wealth of benefits. Not only will you have improved lung and circulatory function, but you will realize a reduced risk for a plethora of life-threatening diseases and conditions.
The last part of this equation of health, and one that is frequently ignored, is flexibility. Flexibility training is vital to your overall health and well-being. Engaging in just 10 minutes of stretching most days a week is all that is required to reap the benefits of having a flexible body. Flexibility has several benefits which include:
- Increased ability to perform exercises more efficiently, thereby allowing you to train better
- Improvement of blood circulation throughout your body
- Reduced risk of injury to muscles, tendons, and ligaments
- Enhancement of muscle recovery when a stretching routine is performed after a workout
- Increased ability to generate muscle mass
- Stretch to point of tension, not pain
- Breath naturally during your stretch
- Hold each stretch for three 20-30 second intervals
- If you experience serious burning or pain, back off
- Gradually increase the stretch over each interval, especially when stretching a cold muscle