||The examples and perspective in this article may not represent a worldwide view of the subject. (June 2011)|
Physical fitness comprises two related concepts: general fitness (a state of health and well-being), and specific fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations). Physical fitness is generally achieved through correct nutrition, exercise, and enough rest.
Physical fitness has been defined as a set of attributes or characteristics that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.The above definition from Physical Activity and Health: A Report of the Surgeon General is the most common currently used definition of physical fitness. It was originally used by Caspersen and has been used extensively. An alternative definition by Howley and Frank that provides additional descriptive information is: Physical fitness is a state of well-being with low risk of premature health problems and energy to participate in a variety of physical activities. While either is a good definition, most experts agree that physical fitness is both multidimensional and hierarchical.
In previous years[when?], fitness was commonly defined as the capacity to carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. However, as automation increased leisure time, changes in lifestyles following the industrial revolution rendered this definition insufficient. In current contexts, physical fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.
The President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports — a study group sponsored by the government of the United States—declines to offer a simple definition of physical fitness. Instead, it developed the following chart:
|Health related||Skill related||Sports|
A comprehensive fitness program tailored to an individual will probably focus on one or more specific skills, and on age- or health-related needs such as bone health. Many sources also cite mental, social and emotional health as an important part of overall fitness. This is often presented in textbooks as a triangle made up of three points, which represent physical, emotional, and mental fitness. Physical fitness can also prevent or treat many chronic health conditions brought on by unhealthy lifestyle or aging. Working out can also help people sleep better. To stay healthy it is important to engage in physical activity.
Specific or task-oriented fitness is a person’s ability to perform in a specific activity with a reasonable efficiency: for example, sports or military service. Specific training prepares athletes to perform well in their sports.
- 100 m sprint: in a sprint the athlete must be trained to work anaerobically throughout the race.
- Marathon: in this case the athlete must be trained to work aerobically and their endurance must be built-up to a maximum.
- Many fire fighters and police officers undergo regular fitness testing to determine if they are capable of the physically demanding tasks required of the job.
- Soldiers of the United States Army must be able to pass the Army Physical Fitness Test (APFT).
- Hill sprints, this training requires a level of fitness to begin with, the exercise is particularly good for the leg muscles. The army often trains doing mountain climbing and races.
 Menopause and Physical Fitness
The menopausal period in women is frequently associated with many subjective complaints including vasomotor symptoms, sleep disturbance, alteration in mood, lowered libido, and musculoskeletal pain. All of these symptoms could lead to a lower quality of life. Physical Fitness has the ability to alleviate or even eliminate the effect of most of these. Women experiencing their menopausal period should engage in regular exercise in order to achieve better physical fitness. 
 See also
- Harvard Step Test
- Health club
- National Academy of Sports Medicine
- Neutral spine
- Olympic Games
- Personal Trainer
- Physical exercise
- Physical fitness test
- VO2 max
- “President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Definitions for Health, Fitness, and Physical Activity”. Archived from the original on August 25, 2012. http://webcache.googleusercontent.com/search?q=cache:http://www.fitness.gov/digest_mar2000.htm.
- “Skill-related physical fitness essential for sports success”. Archived from the original on June 2011. http://web.archive.org/web/20110617084150/http://www.tradoc.army.mil/pao/Web_specials/H_and_PWB/013204.htm.
- “The elderly have specific fitness requirements”. http://www.aafp.org/afp/20020201/419.html.
- “A targeted fitness program can increase Bone Integrity”. http://www.niams.nih.gov/Health_Info/Bone/Bone_Health/Exercise/default.asp.
- “US Department of Health and Human Services Presentation: Physical Activity Fundamental to Preventing Disease”. http://aspe.hhs.gov/health/reports/physicalactivity/.
- “How much physical activity do adults need?”. http://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/everyone/guidelines/adults.html.
- “Physical Fitness requirements for Santa Clara County firefighters”. http://www.sccfd.org/physical_fitness.html#appendix2.
- “APFT Requirements”. http://www.army.com/enlist/APFT.html.
- Bailey, Allison MD (September/October 2009). “Menopause and physical fitness”. The North American Menopause Society 16 (5): 856-857.
 Further reading
- 2004 September 21. Medical News Today. The Benefits of Physical Activity
- Brandon, Leigh (2009). Anatomy of Strength and Fitness Training for Speed. McGraw-Hill. ISBN 978-0-07-163363-5.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to: Fitness|
This article uses material from the Wikipedia article Physical Fitness, which is released under the Creative Commons Attribution-Share-Alike License 3.0.