Thursday, February 27, 2014

Individual Fitness Needs

What is fitness? Many people these days think it is about getting thin. Just losing weight does not mean one is fit. The individual, for instance, may be losing muscle instead of fat while dieting, and muscle weighs more than fat. There are new diet and exercise trends and new yogurt brands that help you lose weight.

In reality, fitness is feeling at your best, feeling you have the energy to get what you want out of life. Fitness encompasses strength, flexibility and endurance. What good is strength without the ability to move at your muscle’s widest range of motion, the feeling of being flexible? What good is being strong or flexible if you can be that for a few minutes but can’t work out, dance, ski, do housework, take care of children or something else you want to do for a as long as you want to do it, or endurance? Another important component of fitness is making sure your medical statistics, such as cholesterol, triglycerides, blood pressure and heart rate are within the acceptable limits? 

Although there are statistics on weight, blood work and more that are acceptable by groups such as the American Medical Association and the American Council on Exercise, these differ per person. A health professional such as a doctor or personal trainer must tailor their programs to fit the needs of each client so that he or she can meet their fitness goals and live their best life. For instance, one person may bulk up easily but may have a weak cardiovascular system. A fitness routine to target this would be optimum. A doctor may want to assist the individual to meet their goals with personalized medicine that would help their heart and lungs work at their best capacity. The individual may also opt to get their DNA analyzed to see if they are prone for certain diseases or muscle and bone problems. They would have to be careful where they send the DNA to be analyzed, since conflicting results from different laboratories have been noted. Their doctor would guide them to make the right decision. 

Individuals’ goals may also vary. For instance, one person may want to enter a body fitness competition, in which case building muscle will be a primary goal. Another person may want to run a marathon, in which case increasing their endurance would be of primary importance for them. Their doctor, personal trainer or other fitness professional would tailor programs to meet their needs. A nutritionist may also assist the individual toward their goals. A metabolism test or other tests that will yield results specific to that individual would have to be taken into account.

In summary, although statistics such as weight for a given age or height and cholesterol level are valid, each person’s body, health and fitness goals differ. These should be taken account by fitness professionals when they assist the individual in meeting their fitness goals and getting the most out of life.

My third book, Pocket Guide to Fitness, is available on and If you look up my name on those Web sites, you will find my other books The Boy in a Wheelchair and Life, Work and Play: Poems and Short Stories. These two books are on my Web site


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