Health > A Beginner's Guide to Fitness

A Beginner's Guide to Fitness

I’ve worked in the health industry for long enough to know the biggest goal when an individual joins a gym is, ‘I want to get fit!’

What does this even mean?

If you want to ‘get fit’ you need to start with a good definition of what fitness means to you, otherwise where do you even begin? It can be overwhelming!

Here’s a little bit of help to get you going. Physical fitness can be defined as the ability of the body to perform with energy and alertness. (Yes please, where do I sign up!)

Fitness to me is not just physical; although we normally focus on the physical, I prefer to look at fitness as a blend of mental, emotional, physical and spiritual health. The beauty of physical activity is that movement allows us to think clearer, feel happier within ourselves and connect us to understand ourselves and the world around us. Yes, beginning with physical fitness is a great start!

When it comes to movement, there are a number of different components that make up health and fitness; cardiovascular endurance, strength, power, agility, balance, flexibility, muscular endurance and co-ordination. It sounds like a lot, but the best balance you can achieve of each component will bring you the greatest feeling and energy of optimal health and fitness.

Each part is so important; ‘cardio’ keeps your heart and lungs healthy and enables you to walk, run, swim, ride, keep up the with Kardashians and the kids! Strength training (or resistance training) often gets neglected particularly by females. Lifting weights or even just your bodyweight is so important to long-term health and wellness. The more lean muscle you have on your body, the higher your metabolic rate and therefore the amount of energy you burn throughout the day, outside of exercise. Resistance training is a vital part of body weight maintenance, as well as helping to prevent ageing and diseases such as osteoporosis and diabetes. Having muscle tone also shows self-care and self-respect!

The other components are often overlooked while gym goers tend to prefer activity that challenges their heart rate and maximises energy burn. However, flexibility is absolutely essential for long-term wellness, for preventing injury as well as caring for current injuries, aches and pains, for spinal health and increasing circulation to all parts of the body, helping us to be at optimal health.

A great, balanced exercise program would include a couple of cardio sessions per week (such as walking, running, and cycling), yoga and a strength training session or two. The most important thing is to remember that movement should be part of your lifestyle, an enjoyment rather than a chore. Choose activities that appeal to you! Join a local gym or fitness studio, find a recommended personal trainer, workout outdoors with a friend, buy a few basic pieces of equipment for home, map out some beautiful outdoor walking tracks, try a dance class, so long as you are moving regularly and consistently you are well on your way to great health and fitness! Good luck and enjoy your new happy and healthy lifestyle!

Written by Kirsty Welsh