In fitness and in health

Explain why exercise is an important component of good physical fitness

Exercise is important for physical fitness because it provides strength to our muscles.

Further Explanation

Exercise provides physical fitness and keeps the mind fresh.

Importance of exercise

Weight control

Exercise can help anticipate overabundance weight put on or help keep up weight reduction. When you participate in physical activity, you consume calories. The more exceptional the action, the more calories you consume.

Improved health conditions and diseases

Exercise on a regular basis avoids or oversee numerous medical issues and concerns, including:

  1. Stroke
  2. Metabolic disorders .
  3. Hypertension
  4. Type 2 diabetes.
  5. Misery
  6. Nervousness
  7. Numerous kinds of malignancy.
  8. Joint inflammation.

It can likewise help improve subjective capacity and helps bring down the danger of death from all causes.

Energy boost up through exercise

Regular physical activities can improve your muscle quality and lift your perseverance.

Exercise conveys oxygen and supplements to your tissues and enables your cardiovascular framework to work all the more productively. What’s more, when your heart and lung wellbeing improve, you have more vitality to handle day by day errands.

Exercise improves the state of mind

An exercise center session or lively walk can help. Physical movement stimulates different mind synthetic compounds that may leave you feeling more joyful, increasingly loose and less restless.

You may likewise rest easy thinking about your appearance and yourself when you practice routinely, which can support your certainty and improve your confidence.

Answer details

Subject: Health

Level: High School


  • Importance of exercise
  • Weight control
  • Improved health conditions and diseases
  • Energy boost up through exercise
  • Exercise improves the state of mind

Learn more to evaluate

Components of Fitness

When planning a well-rounded exercise program, it is important to understand the five components of physical fitness and how your training affects them. The components include: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. In general, achieving an adequate level of fitness in all five categories is essential to good health.

Cardiorespiratory Endurance

This component of fitness relies on proper functioning of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to transport oxygen to your tissues and carry away metabolic waste products. Physical activity that trains for cardiorespiratory endurance focuses on repetitive, dynamic, and prolonged movements using major muscle groups. You are improving this component when you are jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, and walking.

Muscular Fitness

While there are five components of fitness, muscular strength and muscular endurance can fall under the same umbrella of muscular fitness. Both of these components focus on training your neuromuscular system, but in different ways. Muscular strength refers to the maximum amount of force a muscle can produce at one time, also referred to as a one repetition maximum. You can train your muscles to be stronger by lifting heavy weights for a few repetitions. Common exercises that focus on muscular strength include loaded squats, leg press, and bench press.

Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to resist fatigue while exerting a submaximal amount of force. Essentially, it is a measure of how long a muscle can withstand a prolonged contraction or many repeated contractions. Training for muscular endurance requires you to perform many repetitions at a lower weight than you would use for muscular strength. Some common exercises that assess muscular endurance include pushups, sit-ups, and pull-ups – all performed to a point of fatigue.

Even if you are not specifically training for muscular strength or endurance, they are still very important for daily living. Muscular strength, for example, must be called upon when lifting boxes and moving furniture. Meanwhile, your leg muscles must have enough endurance to walk long distances. Even the muscles of your core must stay “on” to support your posture when seated and standing.


Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through a range of motion. This component of fitness helps to prevent muscular imbalances and allows you to move about with ease. Two common ways to improve flexibility are static stretching (holding a stretch for 30-60 seconds) and dynamic stretching (holding a stretch for a few seconds and repeating for multiple reps). Your heart rate response will vary with the type of flexibility training you perform; in general, your heart rate will be at or slightly above your resting value.

Body Composition

The last component of physical fitness, body composition, refers to the ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass (such as muscle, bone, organs, and more) in your body. Overall health generally improves when you have a lower amount of fat mass (or lower percent body fat) and higher amount of lean muscle mass. While your heart rate will not necessarily reflect your percentage of body fat, you can use your MYZONE belt while training to make specific changes in your body composition (more on this in a future blog post).

Although you can wear your MYZONE belt when participating in any component of fitness, the components you will receive the most feedback during will be cardiorespiratory (cardio) training (i.e. running, biking, kickboxing) and muscular fitness training (i.e. circuit training, resistance training). Your MYZONE belt is providing you with your heart rate in beats per minute as well as the percentage of maximum heart rate you are working at. Cardio training and muscular fitness training are the components of fitness that will elevate your heart rate most effectively.

You will also see an estimate of the number of calories you have burned during your session as well as the number of MEPS points you have earned. Again, cardio and muscular fitness training are going to pack the most punch when it comes to burning calories and earning MEPs.

Track which components of fitness you participate in the most by using the Activity Calendar in the MYZONE App. You can enter the type of training you did at the top of the screen for each move. Monitor your patterns to see when you are earning the most MEPS and burning the most calories.
We would like to follow your progress! When you complete a move, post it to Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtags: #myzonemoves #fitness #progress.

Keep moving forward!

Move or Die: The Benefits and Advantages of Being Physically Fit

You’re killing yourself. Right now, sitting or standing wherever you are, reading this article. You’re killing yourself. Take a moment to consider these questions:

  • What if you were really hungry and you didn’t know where your next meal was coming from? Would you still be there, looking at the screen?
  • What if you were thirsty and you didn’t have any water, but you knew there was a clean river 5 miles away. Would you be reading an article about the advantages of being physically fit?
  • What if you didn’t have shelter for the night? Would you be reading this article then?

The answer to all of those questions has to be NO. You’d be out doing whatever it took to find food. You’d be digging through the dirt looking for vegetables, or climbing a tree trying to get at its delicious fruit, or hunting an animal to get its protein-rich meat. You’d be well on your way to that life-giving river by now. You would be out searching for a safe place to spend the night, or collecting materials and using them to build yourself a shelter.

If you’re going to continue reading, please keep this in mind while you do: Our ancestors, going back roughly 2.4 million years❄, lived like that every day. Exercise wasn’t an optional thing they knew they probably should do, but didn’t really want to. Exercise was something they did so that they could live. They didn’t spend their days sitting. They spent their days moving.

Humans aren’t meant to be physically inactive. It’s just not how we’re built. Before the agricultural and industrial revolutions, men, women and children lived extremely active lifestyles; hunting, gathering, fighting, fleeing, playing, dancing, and loving were necessary parts of the daily lives of humans for as long as they had existed.

And for this very reason, there are a huge number of benefits and advantages to being physically fit.

Sadly, less and less of us are realizing these benefits and advantages.

Our modern enemy: Sitting On Our Butts

The invention of agriculture, and the advancement of technology has removed the need for us to exercise in order to live. In days gone we had to chase down animals, forage for roots, shoots and nuts, and walk for miles to get water. Now we only have to take a few steps to our fridge, or even worse, get an Uber eats driver to bring our meals directly to us, and we get plenty of clean water from one of the many taps we have in our homes.

And so we now live a largely sedentary❆ lifestyle. Globally, 1 in every 3 people are overweight or obese❄. In the U.S. and other developed countries, up to 70% of all adults are overweight or obese❅. Just think about that for a second…70%. Write down the names of any 10 adults you know, and the odds are that as many of 7 of them will be overweight or obese. That’s an incredible number, and it’s largely due to the fact that we don’t move.

Many people sit all day at work, then get home and sit on the couch. Most of our leisure activities, like watching TV and movies, surfing the web, and playing video games involve sitting and ‘relaxing’. We almost always take the path of least resistance, which ironically, is actually an innate drive; our genes command us to “rest when you can”. And with all of life’s necessities so easy to access, we can rest all the time if we want. So that’s what many of us do.

And it’s killing us.

No less than 17 unhealthy conditions are directly linked to an inactive lifestyle❄. All of them are either chronic diseases, or things that make chronic disease more likely. Just over 1 in every 10 deaths in the U.S. is directly attributable to a lack of physical activity❄. In 2014, approximately 262,000 people died because they didn’t do what their bodies were made to do. They didn’t move.

Physical inactivity: It’s our modern enemy. And it’s killing us.

Our Ancient Ally: Physical Activity

Early species of humans emerged around 2.4 million years ago, and between that time and us existing in

this moment right now, approximately 84,359 generations have lived❄. 84,000 of those generations lived as hunter-gatherers; doing vast amounts of physical activity each and every day in order to survive and thrive in their harsh outdoor environments. 350 of those generations lived between the agricultural revolution and the industrial revolution. And while that time period saw humans having to work less in order to have the things they needed, it was by no means an easy lifestyle. They were early farmers, and farming back then was hard work (to be fair, it still is). A mere 10 generations of humans, including ours right now, have lived a life of abundance. A life where we didn’t have to do demanding physical work every day in order to eat, drink, protect ourselves and sleep safely. Our bodies aren’t used to it, and they cry out for us to do what we were made to do: Move!

Our bodies are still adapted for a life marked by regular physical activity. To both our body and our mind, exercise is not a past-time. As Mark Rippetoe writes in his book, Starting Strength:

Exercise is not a thing we do to fix a problem – it is a thing we must do anyway, a thing without which there will always be problems. Exercise is the thing we must do to replicate the conditions under which our physiology was – and still is – adapted, the conditions under which we are physically normal. In other words, exercise is substitute cave-man activity, the thing we need to make our bodies, and in fact our minds, normal in the 21st century.

Exercise is our ancient ally, and we abandon it at our own peril.

Move or Die!

Our modern enemy wants you dead. Sitting on your butt will kill you.

Being physically unfit makes your heart and blood vessels weaker and unable to work properly. Eventually they become diseased and fail❄. Cardiovascular diseases (diseases of the heart and blood vessels) are the leading cause of death in the United States❅. A sedentary lifestyle more often than not leads to overweight and obesity, and messes with your metabolism. This then contributes to increasingly common chronic metabolic disorders like type-2 Diabetes, Dyslipidemia, and Gallstones❆. Breast cancer, bladder cancer, pancreatic cancer, colon cancer and lung cancer are all more likely to strike you down if you don’t exercise❄❅❆. Together these cancers killed 303,024 people in the U.S. in 2013❄. People with chronic lung diseases such as Asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disorder (COPD; which is where your airways become more and more narrow over time, and prevent you from being able to breathe properly) have worse symptoms and a lower quality of life when they are sedentary compared to when they are physically active❄. Living a physically inactive life also makes it more likely that, as you get older, you’ll develop cognitive dysfunction (decreased ability to perform mental tasks), Alzheimer’s disease and Dementia❅.

Do you see the pattern here?

Physical inactivity doesn’t care who you are, it just wants you dead and it can kill you in a lot of different ways. Being inactive and unfit increases your chances of dying from any cause. But you can fight back. Physical fitness is written into your genetic code and if you do what’s necessary to become physically fit, your body will have an incredible ability to fight disease.

Move and Live!

If and when you do what your body was made to do, disease and death become less likely. Regular exercise will help to prevent, treat and / or reverse every one of the chronic diseases mentioned above:

Cardiovascular diseases

One of the most significant benefits of being physically active is that your heart and blood vessels become much stronger, and better able to do their job of transporting blood around your body. A strong heart and healthy blood vessels are much less likely to become diseased .

Just as lifting weights causes your skeletal muscles to grow bigger, exercise that makes your heart work hard causes it to grow larger and stronger. Also, when you make your heart work hard by exercising on a regular basis, it becomes more efficient, and requires less oxygen to do what it does. Incredibly, regular exercise actually causes your body to produce more blood, meaning there is more of it in total, and more of it being pumped in a single heart beat.

Once upon a time, it was believed that your blood vessels were just passive tubes for transporting blood, and that they didn’t change as a result of regular exercise. This is now known to be untrue. Regular physical activity causes significant changes in the structure and functioning of your blood vessels, especially the arteries, which makes them resistant to hardening (a disorder called ‘Ateriosclerosis’) and to becoming clogged (a disorder called ‘Atherogenesis’).

All of these adaptations to exercise mean that when you’re resting, and when you’re doing light- to moderately-intense physical activity, your heart and blood vessels are under less stress. And being less stressed means they remain healthy for longer.

But even for individuals already suffering from a cardiovascular disease, exercise is extremely beneficial. For example, when people who have coronary heart disease (where the heart doesn’t get enough oxygen, and is at increased risk of a heart attack) begin a program of regular exercise, their hearts become stronger and they’re less likely to die from their disease.

Metabolic disorders

Another very important benefit of working out is that it helps to regulate your weight. People who exercise regularly are significantly less likely to be overweight or obese❄, and when people who are overweight or obese begin and stick to a program of regular physical activity, they consistently lose weight❄.

Being overweight or obese puts you at much greater risk of developing a range of chronic diseases❄. Some of the most serious are those that affect your body’s metabolism, such as type-2 Diabetes. Type-2 Diabetes sufferers generally have high blood sugar, they’re pancreases don’t secrete enough insulin (insulin is a hormone that helps to regulate your blood sugar level), and their bodies don’t metabolize fat, glucose and protein properly❄. Most people with type-2 Diabetes (up to 90%) are obese❄. It should come as no surprise then that physical activity that leads to weight loss can both prevent and even reverse this debilitating chronic disease. A Swedish study involving obese individuals, found that those who participated in a program of regular exercise that helped them lose weight were significantly less likely to develop type-2 Diabetes two years later. But that’s not all. Amazingly, among the obese individuals who already had Diabetes, 60% of those who lost even a small amount of weight went into remission (had reduced signs or symptoms of diabetes), while 97% of individuals who lost a large amount of weight went into remission.

Other metabolic disorders, such as Dyslipidemia (which is where there is too much of certain kinds of fat in the bloodstream) and Gallstones (a very painful disorder in which small crystals form in the gallbladder) can also be prevented, treated, and reversed through regular exercise❄❅.


Protection against numerous forms of cancer is probably #1 on the list of benefits of physical activity. More and more evidence from scientific research is emerging that shows that people who engage in regular exercise and have high levels of physical fitness are less likely than people who don’t exercise regularly to develop common cancers, such as lung cancer, breast cancer, colon cancer, and bladder cancer ❄❅❆. Reducing the risk of developing cancer in the first place, however, isn’t where the relationship between cancer and exercise ends.

For people who have been diagnosed with cancer, the benefits of being physically fit are immense. Remarkably, studies have shown that people who maintain a high level of physical activity both during and after their cancer treatment have higher rates of survival❄❅. In fact, remaining physically active while living with cancer can do as much as double your chance of surviving cancer❄. Also, cancer sufferers who maintain a program of regular physical activity tend to experience better overall quality of life, emotional well-being, and social functioning, as well as lower levels of fatigue, depression and anxiety❄, and less psychological burden from having to do chemotherapy❄.

Lung diseases

People with chronic lung diseases such as Asthma and COPD have difficulty breathing properly, especially when they have to exert themselves. This reduces the amount of oxygen being provided to their body and is a very serious problem that can lead to suffocation. The experience of breathlessness felt by Asthmatics and COPD sufferers can be extremely scary, and it often leads them to avoid taking part in physical activity❄. It’s a sad irony then that they’re the people that find it the hardest to get regular exercise, but whom experience some of its greatest benefits.

Regular physical activity produces changes in the lungs and associated muscles, as well as other body systems such as the cardiovascular and skeletal systems, which simultaneously improves the body’s ability to take in oxygen and reduces its need for it❄. It’s generally through the latter that people with chronic lung disorders benefit from being physically fit.

Regular exercise doesn’t improve the overall functioning of the lungs in people with diseases like Asthma and COPD, but it does improve cardiorespiratory fitness§❄. This improvement in cardiorespiratory fitness then reduces the need for oxygen, and the amount of stress placed on the lungs and airways during everyday living. Also, one of the many well-known health benefits of being physically active is that it causes a reduction in inflammation. Together, these effects combine to minimize episodes of breathlessness and improve overall quality of life for those who suffer from chronic lung diseases❄.

Cognitive diseases

The old saying “healthy body, healthy mind” is one of the truest you’ll hear. The mind and body are inextricably linked, and your mind simply can’t function to its highest potential when your body isn’t doing what it’s made to do.

It’s not clear exactly how exercise influences the way the brain works, but its thought that it happens through changes in blood flow and metabolism. Regular physical activity seems to cause new blood vessels to form around brain cells, which increases the supply of oxygen and nutrients❄. Exercising also seems to increase the production and use of certain substances in the brain known as growth factors, which stimulate the growth of new brain cells❄. It’s believed that these mechanisms are responsible for physical activity’s role in the prevention and treatment of certain cognitive disorders.

As we grow older, it seems natural that our cognitive abilities, such as attention, memory and concentration get worse. While this may be true, maintaining high levels of physical activity and staying physically fit as we get older can protect us against this cognitive decline❄. Research has consistently shown that doing even low levels of physical activity throughout middle and older age helps to preserve our mental functions❄. Regular exercise can also help to prevent more serious and debilitating cognitive disorders such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. A study recently found that people who are physically active are less likely to develop Dementia and Alzheimer’s than those who aren’t physically active❄. Prevention of these cognitive diseases is not the only benefit exercise can have.

There is also evidence that people who already have Dementia and Alzheimer’s can regain some of their cognitive functioning by exercising regularly❄.

Do you see the pattern here?

Being physically inactive will kill you, one way or another. Our bodies are simply not meant to sit still; they’re meant to move. Does this mean that if you exercise regularly you’ll always be healthy and will never develop a chronic illness? No. Other factors can influence whether or not you develop a chronic disease, including but not limited to:

  • Diet
  • Smoking
  • Alcohol and drug use
  • Exposure to harmful substances
  • Your genetic makeup

Even if you exercise every day, you can never be certain that you won’t fall ill. But if you don’t exercise – if you don’t do what your body was made to do – you can be certain that you’ll die sooner than you have to.

Preventing, treating and reversing serious diseases is a major advantage of being physically fit, but it’s not the only one.

The Benefits and Advantages of Being Physically Fit

Even for healthy people who would not otherwise develop a chronic disease, the advantages of being physically fit are plentiful. They can be separated into two broad categories:

  1. Physical advantages
  2. Psychological advantages

The Physical Benefits and Advantages of Being Physically Fit

When you exercise regularly almost all parts of your body undergo serious changes.

The walls of your heart and blood vessels become stronger, and require less oxygen to do the same amount of work. Your heart beat itself becomes stronger❄. The amount of blood produced by your body increases❅. Together these changes mean that your heart can pump more blood, more efficiently, and therefore provide more oxygen and nutrients to the different parts of your body.

At your lungs, the respiratory muscles (those that allow you to breathe in and out) become stronger and can work for longer, meaning your lungs are able to take in more air❄. There is an increase in the amount of blood that flows to the lungs, both at rest and during exercise❄. Inside the lungs, oxygen enters the blood and carbon dioxide leaves the blood more efficiently. All of this means that there is more oxygen in your blood at any point in time, and your lungs have to do less work to make this happen.

Anyone who does it knows that one of the major benefits of working out is that your skeletal muscles grow larger and stronger. They can contract more forcefully, allowing you to move with greater strength and power. They’re also able to work for longer before becoming tired.

Not only do your muscles become stronger but your bones become thicker and stronger, as does your cartilage and other connective tissue like tendons and ligaments. It should be pointed out, however, that over-training (i.e., consistently exercising for too long, or at too high intensity) can cause lasting damage to bone, cartilage and connective tissue❄.

The skin experiences changes when you exercise regularly as well. One of the skin’s primary functions is to hep regulate body heat through sweating, and physical activity improves your skin’s ability to do this. Therefore, physically fit individuals are more tolerant to heat both when resting and when physically active❄.

Finally, and perhaps most importantly, regular exercise improves your body’s ability to burn fat. When exercising, people who are already physically fit actually burn more fat than unfit people – up to 25% more❄. This decreases the amount of fat you currently have, and helps you maintain lower levels of body fat over the long-term. Obviously, this then reduces the likelihood of being overweight or obese, and prevents the huge number of associated problems.

Together, all of these physical adaptations to regular exercise make everyday living easier. When your body is strong and healthy it’s easier to navigate through life. Routine activities such as housework and gardening are less of a burden. Moderately difficult things like climbing stairs and running for the bus can be done without losing your breath. You have more energy to play with your kids; to play the sports you enjoy; to do difficult things you might have avoided before. Life is generally easier and more pleasant to live.

That’s the physical advantages of doing regular exercise. What about the psychological advantages of being physically fit?

The Psychological Benefits and Advantages of Being Physically Fit

In addition to your physical health, your mental and emotional health can be improved through exercise.

Regular physical activity will help to boost your mood in both the short- and long-term. It has been shown that people who exercise regularly and are physically fit feel more happiness, enjoyment and fun during their daily lives, and are less prone to depression than people who don’t exercise❄. Working out regularly will also help you have better reactions to situations that you find stressful and / or anxiety-provoking, such as public speaking or solving difficult problems❄.

There is evidence that exercise helps you think more clearly and perform mental tasks such as paying attention, planning and coordinating, and decision-making❄. Also, some studies have found that regular exercise can help boost your memory, learning, and academic performance❅❆.

Exercise will help you sleep better, feel better about yourself and have more energy and vigour as you go about your life❄.

All-in-all, physical activity brings about a greater sense of mental and emotional well-being, and improves your health-related quality of life.

In this article we’ve talked about ‘physical activity’, ‘regular exercise’, ‘physical fitness’, ‘doing what your body was made to do’, etc. And you may be wondering what exactly is meant by these terms.

What do you actually have to do to gain the advantages of being ‘physically fit’?

Quantity and Quality of Physical Activity

In our next post, we’ll give you a complete run down of what kind of physical activity our bodies evolved to do (i.e., what physical activity our hunter-gatherer ancestors did day-to-day), and how you can replicate it.

We’ll provide the brief version here. This information comes from the American College of Sports Medicine’s Position Stand on The Recommended Quantity and Quality of Exercise for Developing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory and Muscular Fitness, and Flexibility in Healthy Adults. There are three broad types of exercise you should be getting each week:

Recommended Physical Activity

① Aerobic Exercise

What is it?

Any activity that involves large muscles groups, is rhythmic in nature, and can be done continuously


Jogging, cycling, skipping, swimming, rowing, dancing

How much?
How often?

30 – 60 mins per day
3 – 5 days per week

At what intensity?

55 – 90% of your maximum heart rate
Maximum heart rate = 220 minus your age

② Resistance Training

What is it?

Any activity that provides resistance against muscular contraction and is intended to build the strength, power and / or size of the muscles


Training with dumbbells or a barbell, home gyms and suspension trainers, bodyweight exercises such as push ups, pull ups, and sit ups

How much?
How often?

8-10 exercises that condition each major muscle group
2 – 3 days per week

At what intensity?

8 – 12 repetitions per exercise

③ Flexibility Training

What is it?

Any exercises that stretch the major muscles and increase and maintain range of motion


Static stretching on the floor or with a stretching machine, dynamic stretching, pilates, yoga

How much?
How often?

At least 10 minutes of static and dynamic stretching per day
Minimum of 2 – 3 days per week (dynamic stretching should be done prior to any strenuous physical activity)

At what intensity?

As appropriate


That was a long article, we know. But there’s just so much to say about why it’s important to be physically active and the advantages of being physically fit. If you’ve read all the way to this point, well done! Let’s do a quick recap:

  • Our bodies are not meant to be physically inactive. For millions of years humans have needed to be highly active in order to survive and thrive. Only in the last 10 or so generations have we been able to live sedentary lifestyles.
  • Physical inactivity is our modern enemy and it’s directly linked to a huge number of serious and deadly chronic diseases, such as heart disease, certain types of cancer, type-2 diabetes, and obesity.
  • Regular physical activity not only helps to prevent many of these chronic diseases, but can also be critical in treating and even reversing them.
  • Even in healthy people, regular exercise has some serious advantages. Overall, your physical, mental and emotional health and well-being are better when you get regular physical activity.
  • Your body was made to do 3 broad types of physical activity: 1) Aerobic exercise; 2) Resistance training; and 3) Flexibility training.

So, now you have to ask yourself: Am I doing the things my body was made to do? Am I experiencing the many advantages of being physically fit? If your answers are No, then it’s time to get cracking. It’s never too late to get fit and healthy. Just remember: Move or Die!

Thanks for reading the article! If you found it valuable, please share with your friends and family on social media. Also, leave any thoughts or comments in the comments section below.

As always, best of luck with your home workouts. Remember: when it comes to our health and fitness, we can make the effort or we can make excuses, but we can’t make both.

THFF (The Home Fit Freak)

Physical Activity and Health

Reduce Your Risk of Type 2 Diabetes and Metabolic Syndrome

Regular physical activity can reduce your risk of developing type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome. Metabolic syndrome is a condition in which you have some combination of too much fat around the waist, high blood pressure, low High Density Lipoproteins (HDL) cholesterol, high triglycerides, or high blood sugar. Research shows that people start to see benefits at levels of physical activity below the recommended 150 minutes a week, and additional amounts of physical activity seem to lower risk even more.

Already have type 2 diabetes? Regular physical activity can help you control your blood glucose levels. To find out more, visit Diabetes and Me.

Reduce Your Risk of Some Cancers

Being physically active lowers your risk for developing several commonly occurring cancers. Research shows that adults who participate in greater amounts of physical activity have reduced risks of developing cancers of the:

  • Bladder
  • Breast
  • Colon (proximal and distal)
  • Endometrium
  • Esophagus (adenocarcinoma)
  • Kidney
  • Lung
  • Stomach (cardia and non-cardia adenocarcinoma)

Improve your quality of life. If you are a cancer survivor, research shows that getting regular physical activity not only helps give you a better quality of life, but also improves your physical fitness.

Strengthen Your Bones and Muscles

As you age, it’s important to protect your bones, joints, and muscles. Not only do they support your body and help you move, but keeping bones, joints, and muscles healthy can help ensure that you’re able to do your daily activities and be physically active. Research shows that doing aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening physical activity at a moderately-intense level can slow the loss of bone density that comes with age.

Hip fracture is a serious health condition that can have life-changing negative effects, especially if you’re an older adult. Physically active people have a lower risk of hip fracture than inactive people. Among older adults, physical activity also reduces the risk of falling and injuries from falls. Research demonstrates that physical activity programs that include more than one type of physical activity such as aerobic, muscle strengthening, and balance physical activities (also known as multicomponent physical activity) are most successful at reducing falls and fall-related injuries. In addition, weight bearing activities that produce a force on the bones (e.g., running, brisk walking, jumping jacks, and strength training) are examples of bone strengthening activities that can help promote bone growth and bone strength. These activities also help reduce the risk of fall-related injuries and fractures.

Regular physical activity helps with arthritis and other rheumatic conditions affecting the joints. If you have arthritis, doing 150 minutes a week of moderate-intensity aerobic physical activity, if able plus muscle-strengthening activity not only improves your ability to manage pain and do everyday tasks, but it can also make your quality of life better.

Build strong, healthy muscles. Muscle-strengthening activities like lifting weights can help you increase or maintain your muscle mass and strength. This is important for older adults who experience reduced muscle mass and muscle strength with aging. Slowly increasing the amount of weight and number of repetitions you do as part of muscle strengthening activities will give you even more benefits, no matter your age.

Improve Your Ability to do Daily Activities and Prevent Falls

A functional limitation is a loss of the ability to do everyday activities such as climbing stairs, grocery shopping, or playing with your grandchildren.

How does this relate to physical activity? If you’re a physically active middle-aged or older adult, you have a lower risk of functional limitations than people who are inactive.

Improve physical function and decrease the risk of falls. For older adults, multicomponent physical activity is important to improve physical function and decrease the risk of falls or injury from a fall. Multicomponent physical activity is physical activity that includes more than one type of physical activity, such as aerobic, muscle strengthening, and balance training. Multicomponent physical activity can be done at home or in a community setting as part of a structured program.

Increase Your Chances of Living Longer

Science shows that physical activity can reduce your risk of dying early from leading causes of death, like heart disease and some cancers. This is remarkable in two ways:

  1. Only a few lifestyle choices have as large an impact on your health as physical activity. People who are physically active for about 150 minutes a week have a 33% lower risk of all-cause mortality than those who are physically inactive.
  2. You don’t have to do high amounts of activity or vigorous-intensity activity to reduce your risk of premature death. Benefits start to accumulate with any amount of moderate- or vigorous-intensity physical activity.

Ancient philosophers and physicians such as Plato and Hippocrates believed in the relationship between physical activity and health, and the lack of physical activity and disease. However, by the mid-20th century it was believed that physical activity might be harmful to health. Moreover, the recommended treatment of the time after myocardial infarction was complete bed rest. It was not until landmark epidemiological studies in the 1950s that physical inactivity was associated with increased risk of coronary heart disease (CHD). Dr Jeremy Morris examined the differences in CHD incidence between two groups of men working on London’s double-decker buses: the drivers, who were sedentary (sitting for more than 90% of their shifts), and the conductors, who were physically active (climbing roughly 500 to 750 steps a day). Despite coming from similar social classes, the physically active conductors had lower rates of CHD than the physically inactive drivers (overall annual incidence of 1.9/1000 for conductors versus 2.7/1000 for drivers). Furthermore, sudden cardiac death (SCD) occurred less often in conductors than drivers (0.5/1000 versus 1.1/1000), and the conductors’ CHD were more likely to manifest as angina than SCD. Similarly, it was shown that physically active postal workers had lower rates of incident CHD and SCD than their less active co-workers. Based on these findings, Morris and colleagues postulated that physically active work offered a protective effect, predominantly related to sudden cardiac death as a first manifestation of disease. These observations were the first formal studies to link physical inactivity and heart disease.

Physical activity and primary prevention of all-cause mortality
Contemporary studies have consistently demonstrated the inverse relationship between physical activity and rates for all-cause mortality and cardiovascular death (CVD). Physical activity is an important determinant of cardiorespiratory fitness and fitness is related to physical activity patterns. While physical activity can be difficult to estimate, fitness can be assessed readily using the metabolic equivalent task (MET) to provide an objective measure of a subject’s fitness. (See the Box for a definition of MET and other fitness-related terms used in this article.) Although determinants of cardiorespiratory fitness include age, sex, health status, and genetics, the principal determinant is habitual physical activity levels.

Thus, cardiorespiratory fitness (referred to simply as “fitness” in this article) can be used as an objective surrogate measure of recent physical activity patterns.

The relationship of fitness to all-cause mortality was examined in the Aerobics Center Longitudinal Study of 13 344 healthy people. The subjects included in the study had no personal history of MI, hypertension, diabetes, or stroke, and no resting or stress-induced electrocardiogram (ECG) changes. They were required to complete an exercise treadmill test (ETT) to establish their fitness level. After 8 years of follow-up, those subjects in the lowest quintile of fitness compared to those in the highest quintile had a relative risk (RR) all-cause mortality rate of 3.44 for men and 4.65 for women. Additionally, the RR for CVD in the least fit men and women compared with the most fit was 8.0. Even after adjusting for age, cholesterol level, blood pressure, smoking, fasting blood glucose, and family history of CHD, the findings were consistent for men and women.

How much physical activity is enough?
The greatest reduction in all-cause mortality occurs between the least fit and the next-to-least fit group. In a study assessing both fitness and physical activity and the relationship to all-cause mortality, age-adjusted mortality decreased per quartile, with a 41% reduction in death occurring between the least fit and the next-to-least fit quartiles. These findings suggest that even small improvements in fitness can translate into significantly lower risk of all-cause mortality and CVD. Efforts should be made to target the least fit (the physically inactive) because slight increases in activity can mean significant gains in health status. A theoretical relationship between physical activity and the risk for mortality and chronic disease is shown in Figure 1.

What is the optimal amount of physical activity?
Data from many prospective population studies suggest there is a graded dose-response relationship between physical activity/fitness and mortality or disease state. In other words, the greater the amount of physical activity, the greater the health benefits. A theoretical risk of excessive endurance exercise and the possibility of a U-shaped curve (Figure 1) is discussed by Warburton and colleagues in Part 2 of this theme issue. To examine whether low levels of physical activity (below the recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise) affect mortality, a large prospective study considered the mortality of 416 175 individuals in relation to five different activity volumes: inactive, low, medium, high, or very high activity. Participants in the low-volume activity group who exercised for an average of 92 minutes per week, or approximately 15 minutes a day, experienced a 14% reduced risk of all-cause mortality and had a life expectancy 3 years longer than those in the inactive group. A graded benefit to exercise was also seen in this population: for every 15 minutes of exercise added to the minimum daily amount of 15 minutes, all-cause mortality was further reduced by 4% and all-cancer mortality was reduced by 1%.

Physical activity and risk reduction
An extensive effort to ascertain the benefits from the current Canadian physical activity guidelines on all-cause mortality and seven chronic diseases was published recently. The body of literature included in the study suggests that the current requirement for at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous aerobic physical activity per week in sessions of 10 minutes or longer (an energy expenditure of approximately 1000 kcal/week) is associated with a 20% to 30% lower risk for premature all-cause mortality and incidence of many chronic diseases, with greater health benefits for higher volumes and greater intensities of activity (i.e., moderate or vigorous intensity rather than light intensity). A summary of risk reduction in physically active subjects is shown in Figure 2.

Hypertension is the most common risk factor for heart disease, stroke, and renal disease and has been identified as a leading cause of mortality. In a recent meta-analysis of 13 prospective cohort studies, high-level recreational physical activity was associated with decreased risk of developing hypertension when subjects were compared to a reference group with low-level physical activity (RR 0.81). In another meta-analysis that included 30 studies involving patients with existing hypertension, aerobic endurance training was shown to reduce blood pressure by 6.9/4.9 mm Hg.

Type 2 diabetes is a worldwide problem with significant health, social, and economic implications. Diabetes results from a complex interplay of environmental and genetic components. There is strong evidence that such modifiable risk factors as obesity and physical inactivity are the main nongenetic determinants of the disease. Current diabetes treatments can help control hyperglycemia and slightly reduce diabetic complications, but cannot eliminate all the adverse consequences and have had limited success at reducing macrovascular complications. Since current methods for treating diabetes remain inadequate, prevention of the disease is preferable.

A randomized controlled trial sought to determine whether lifestyle intervention or treatment with metformin would prevent or delay the onset of diabetes in patients with impaired fasting glucose levels. Participants assigned to the intensive lifestyle intervention were able to achieve and maintain a reduction of at least 7% of initial body weight through a healthy low-calorie, low-fat diet and to engage in moderate-intensity physical activity such as brisk walking for at least 150 minutes per week. When compared with placebo, the lifestyle intervention reduced the incidence of diabetes by 58% and the metformin intervention reduced the incidence by 31%. This translates into a number needed to treat (NTT) of 7 for the lifestyle intervention and 14 for the metformin when attempting to prevent one case of diabetes over a 3-year period. Thus, physical activity represents a major public health opportunity to reduce the cost of a major source of morbidity.

Stroke is the third leading cause of death in Canada, where 5.5% of all deaths are due to cerebrovascular diseases. Physically inactive people have a significantly elevated stroke risk (RR 1.60). In a systematic review, high levels of physical activity were associated with a 31% risk reduction. The reduced risk of stroke is seen in both men and women, and it appears that this benefit may be present for both ischemic and hemor-rhagic stroke.

Cancer is now the leading cause of death among Canadians, accounting for 29.9% of all deaths (more than MI and stroke combined). Population studies from the 1980s have identified an increased risk of developing cancer among physically inactive people. In the NHANES I survey, physical inactivity was associated with a relative risk of 1.8 for men and 1.3 for women compared with their physically active counterparts. Multiple studies provide compelling evidence that high physical fitness levels are associated with a reduced risk of developing and dying from cancer. A recent meta-analysis confirmed that fitness is inversely related to cancer mortality: individuals with high cardiorespiratory fitness levels had a 45% reduced risk of total cancer mortality (RR 0.55) when compared with their unfit peers, independent of adiposity.

Cancer, like CHD, is also preventable to some extent and shares several common risk factors such as poor nutrition, obesity, inflammation, and physical inactivity. Improvements in some of these risk factors with regular exercise might explain the cancer mortality benefits seen in meta-analyses. Physical activity appears to affect all the stages of carcinogenesis (initiation, promotion, and progression), and it is likely that multiple mechanisms act synergistically to reduce overall cancer risk. Some protective mechanisms that may attenuate cancer risk or promote survival are shown in Figure 3.

Depression is associated with poorer adherence to medical treatments and reduced health-related quality of life, as well as increased disability and health care utilization. Furthermore, depression is independently associated with increased cardiovascular morbidity and mortality, and is commonly seen in patients with CHD.

In a meta-analysis examining the effect of exercise in patients with chronic disease, exercise significantly reduced depressive symptoms by 30%. The greatest reduction in depressive symptoms occurred in patients with higher baseline depressive symptoms and exercise-improved physical function. A recent Cochrane review found exercise to be effective at reducing depression symptoms when compared with psychological and pharmacological therapies.

Cognitive function
The benefits of physical activity in maintaining cognitive function in older age and promoting healthy aging have been well documented. In the third decade of life the human brain starts to show a loss of gray matter that is disproportionately large in the frontal, parietal, and temporal lobes of the brain.

In a meta-analysis of 33 816 nondemented subjects from 15 prospective cohorts, physical activity was found to protect against cognitive decline. The most fit subjects had a reduced risk of cognitive decline of 38%. Even low-to-moderate-level exercise showed a significant reduction in risk (35%). In addition to reducing risk factors associated with the incidence of vascular dementia, physical activity appears to increase the production of neurotrophic factors in the brain and can potentially mitigate against the loss of gray matter. High levels of physical fitness (as measured objectively by maximal oxygen consumption) are associated with greater gray matter volume in frontal and temporal lobes independent of age. There is a consistent association between higher levels of fitness and greater gray matter, and between physical activity and a reduction in accelerated brain aging or neuron loss.

Physical activity may also reduce the risk for developing Alzhiemer disease. In a 21-year longitudinal study that assessed individuals age 65 to 79, twice-weekly leisure-time physical activity was associated with a reduced risk of dementia and Alzheimer disease. This risk reduction was more pronounced in individuals with a specific APOE e4 allele, the strongest known genetic risk factor for Alzheimer disease.

An exciting aspect of the positive relationship between physical activity and gray matter volume is that aerobic exercise interventions over a 6- to 12-month period appear to be sufficient for increasing volume. Furthermore, in an intention-to-treat study of older adults with memory impairment who did not meet diagnostic critieria for dementia, a short 24-week home-based exercise program demonstrated a modest improvement in cognition. Those subjects who did not receive the exercise program had a decline in cogntive function over the study period.

Physical inactivity—a modifiable risk factor
Physical inactivity is the fourth leading cause of death worldwide. It is estimated that over a third of cancers and about 80.0% of heart disease, stroke, and type 2 diabetes could be prevented by eliminating behavioral risk factors such as physical inactivity, unhealthy diet, tobacco smoking, and alcohol use. In a study designed to examine the population attributable risk of physical inactivity on death from diseases such as CHD, cancer, and diabetes, 6.0% to 10.0% of all deaths from noncommunicable disease worldwide were attributed to physical inactivity. Specifically, in Canada 5.6% of CHD, 7.0% of diabetes, 9.2% of breast cancer, 10.0% of colon cancer, and 9.1% of all-cause mortality were attributed to physical inactivity. These results suggest that 6.0% of the burden of noncommunicable disease worldwide could be eliminated if all inactive people become active. Furthermore, the public health burden of physical inactivity is similar in magnitude to that of obesity and even smoking. In 2008, it was estimated that physical inactivity contributed to 9.0% of premature mortality or more than 5.3 million of the 57.0 million deaths worldwide. In Canada nearly half the population (47.8%) is physically inactive and only one-quarter (25.1%) of Canadians are moderately active. The physical inactivity of Canadians has a significant economic impact, and in 2001 was estimated to be $5.3 billion or 2.6% of total health care costs. Among Canadians physical inactivity is the most prevalent modifiable risk factor, and improvements in fitness over time have been demonstrated to improve prognosis and longevity. Health outcomes and conditions that are improved by physical activity and the proposed mechanisms they are improved by are shown in Table 1 and Table 2.

Physical inactivity is central to the development of many chronic diseases that pose a major threat to our health and survival. The physically inactive have increased rates of cardiovascular disease and all-cause mortality. Not only can a physically active lifestyle reduce mortality and prevent many chronic diseases such as hypertension, diabetes, stroke, and cancer, it can promote healthy cognitive and psychosocial function. Physical inactivity should be recognized and treated like other modifiable risk factors.

Extensive evidence shows an inverse relationship between physical activity and mortality and the development of chronic disease: the greater the amount of physical activity, the greater the benefits. As well, evidence confirms there is a graded dose-response relationship. The unfit or the physically inactive can achieve the largest health gains with slight increases in activity levels. Even patients with established disease or cardiovascular risk factors can reduce their risk of premature mortality by becoming physically active. The recommended weekly 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity has been shown to prevent and positively moderate disease. The benefits of physical activity cannot be overstated, and encouraging physical activity should remain an important health care policy objective.

Competing interests
None declared.

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Dr McKinney is a fellow at UBC Hospital and is completing a sports cardiology fellowship at SportsCardiologyBC. Mr Lithwick is a project and research coordinator at SportsCardiologyBC and has completed a master’s degree in health administration at UBC. Ms Morrison is a project and research coordinator at SportsCardiologyBC and is completing a master’s degree in experimental medicine at UBC. Dr Nazzari is a resident in internal medicine at UBC. Dr Isserow is co-founder and medical director of SportsCardiologyBC and director of cardiology services at both UBC Hospital and the Centre for Cardiovascular Health at Vancouver General Hospital. Dr Heilbron is a cardiologist at SportsCardiologyBC and a clinical assistant professor in the Division of Cardiology at UBC. Dr Krahn is a professor of medicine and head of the Division of Cardiology at UBC.

The most effective weight loss & muscle toning fitness program in Chalfont

A lot of clients and friends call our Body-Health Fitness Group Training Program ‘Bootcamp’ and we know what they mean. But we always like to make this clear – we are NOT a bootcamp.

And we probably DON’T do what you expect we might do with our coaching at Body- Health Fitness.

You see ,unfortunately, not all ‘bootcamps’ are created equally and if you tar them all with the same brush you can sometimes be left miffed about your results.

These days the fitness ‘trends’ have caught up. Now every gym and community up and down the country has people running exercise classes they call ‘bootcamp’.

Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not slating – if people choose to exercise that’s a positive step for them but I’m pointing out this is NOT what we do.

So, what are the main differences for Body-Health Fitness then?

1. ‘Bootcamp’ usually just means ‘hard exercise class’ and an instructor shouting orders and motivation.

Body-Health group training is a ‘program’, a set program that our clients attend 3 x per week for not only exercise but ongoing guidance on nutrition, mindset and lifestyle.

So, what’s the benefit of it being a program then? THE RESULTS. You see, to get real lasting results, it needs to be more than just hard exercise. You need to train your body, mind and lifestyle to a new way of working.

2. Accountability. Our program makes you accountable. If you just go to bootcamp sessions somewhere, or you have the option to dip in and dip out and not attend some days and it doesn’t matter if you turn up or if you don’t. Are you going to be consistent enough to see results? (be honest).

To ensure we deliver results we insist our clients come to set training sessions 3 x per week and we are waiting for them to be there at every session. It makes you feel like you should be somewhere and you don’t have the option to let yourself off the hook and just not go.

3. It’s NOT random. At so many ‘bootcamps’ every session is just random. ’10 hard exercises’ kind of approach.

The problem with random is it’s kind of like helping an infant child learn how to walk, by getting them to crawl, jump, shuffle, lie down, sit down etc. As you know, the body doesn’t learn things like that, it learns by doing what you want to learn. Your child needs to walk to learn how to walk. Exercise works exactly the same. You want better legs, first you should learn to squat, then the next time do some more squats, and then add more to them until your legs HAVE to change shape to get better at doing the squats. If it’s random ‘stuff’ you’re not teaching your body to get better, so the changes are slower.

When you train with us we don’t give you trendy stuff. We give you direct stuff that is carefully selected to get you results FAST.

4. We SHOW you how to eat for results. Once again, if it’s just a ‘class’, you can come and go to – what about all the other stuff you need to do to see results? If we can get you on board our program, we can also coach you on how to eat correctly for results too. (We don’t mean a meal plan and ‘get on with it attitude’). We mean lifestyle guidelines, new habits, recipes, examples and opportunity to learn how to create long term healthy changes to your life.

5. We can change your mindset. Once again if you are part of our program, we can guide you step by step and when you have questions we can coach you to the answers so you can change your mindset as you transform your body. If it’s just a class, where your attendance is not consistent, a coach can’t have your attention long enough to coach you to lasting results.

Over the last year we have truly connected with our clients through face to face and e-mail mindset tricks tips and advice, to get the best results. We are a program that delivers results and that is our message!

Difference between a Gym, Fitness Center and Health Club

If you had to categorize the facility you work out in as a gym, fitness center or a health club, what would you say? Or would you say that these three are one and the same thing?

There are plenty workout and wellness facilities in San Diego. While some of the clearly identify as gyms, fitness centers or health clubs, others are not so clear. Should we even be looking for a difference between the three?

While the terms can be (and often are) used interchangeably, there are some differences. Read through to find out what they are.

Gym – a place for workout

A modern day gymnasium (as gym used to be called way back in Ancient Greece) is a place for indoor physical workout where various equipment and machines are typically used. For some people, a typical gym is a place where you focus on weight lifting and similar activities. While it is true that gyms used to be reserved for weight training and were rarely frequented by women, that’s not the case nowadays. Both men and women work out at the gym, and there is a great variety of machines, including cardiovascular machines.

Broadly speaking, gyms don’t offer as many group classes as a fitness center does. While there are personal trainers and 1-1 training sessions, group classes are not as common. Mind you, this applies to facilities that identify only as gyms, and not as gyms and fitness centers or health clubs.

Fitness center – full-body fitness

A fitness center is a place where both recreational and professional athletes can work out. A fitness center may specialize in a certain sporting/fitness discipline but most modern fitness centers provide a variety of workouts.

As opposed to a ‘’typical’’ gym, a fitness center may provide both indoor and outdoor health and fitness activities. A fitness center is usually larger than an average gym, especially if it includes amenities such as outdoor pool, golf course, running tracks.

A fitness center normally offers a range of group classes and individual workout programs. Whole-body health and fitness is also promoted by various amenities such as physical therapy, saunas, steam rooms, warm-up and cool rooms, healthy juice and snack bars.

All in all, we could say that a fitness center is more than a gym. It provides the same machines and equipment for training and workout, but offers a wider variety of group classes and amenities.

Health club – body and mind wellness

As a concept, a health club is more similar to a fitness center than a gym. The focus is on the whole-body wellness rather than just physical fitness. In fact, every high-end gym and fitness center can be classified as a health center, due to the variety of amenities.

Health clubs comprise all the characteristics of both gyms and fitness centers – there are individual and group classes, various amenities such as swimming pools, designated spaces for group sports such as basketball and volleyball, healthy food bars, etc.

Fit Athletic: Not a gym – A lifestyle

Fit Athletic combines the best of all three categories. Our philosophy is simple and straightforward: promote whole-body and mind wellness by providing a country club-like atmosphere and an all-encompassing member experience.

Fit provides diverse group spin classes, dance workout fitness classes, personal training and fantastic amenities and perks like Fit Bar, Fit Perks, Fit 3D Scan. We organize many social events for our members to unwind and have fun together!

Come join us in East Village, San Diego, Club Solana Beach, or Club Carmel Mountain Ranch!

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