Physical activity exercise or fitness is increasingly being emphasised for a good quality life and long term good health. An individual who is fit is capable of living life to the fullest extent. Lack of adequate exercise may predispose an individual to long term ill health. Although the physical activity required by individual at different stages in the lifecycle may differ, a moderate intensity exercise regime of about 30-60 minutes has been reported to have a positive effect on several aspects of human health.

Exercise – is a subset of physical activity that is planned, structures, and repetitive. And has a final or an intermediate objective the improvement or maintenance of physical fitness.

Physical fitness – is a set of attribute that people have or achieve that are rather health or skill related. Being physically fit has been defined as the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigour and alertness, without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure time pursuit and to meet unforeseen emergencies


The many benefits of exercise and physical activity are now well documented. Regular physical activity has the ability to improve physiological and biochemical parameters, reduce the risk of several major chronic diseases, as well as promote quality of life and a sense of well being. The main advantages of regular physical activity includes –

  • Improved strength of bones, muscles and joints and lowered risk of osteoporosis thus improving abilities such as speed power flexibility and agility.
  • Improves weight management.
  • Lower total blood cholesterol level and higher good cholesterol
  • Lower risk of type 2 diabetes
  • Lower risk of some cancers
  • Lower blood pressure
  • Reduces risk of heart attacks
  • Better recovery from heart attack
  • A general feeling of well being with more energy, a healthier and relaxed state of mind, and improved sleep.

Components of physical fitness

Although components like vigour, alertness, fatigue, and enjoyment are difficult to measure, there are other attributes that comprise physical fitness and are important to public health as well as to sports ability. Hence, physical fitness may be classified into two types –

  • Health related fitness
  • Skill or sports related fitness

Both type of fitness include consist of certain specific attribute that are measureable, and therefore easy to monitor. The attributes of health related fitness are –

  • Muscle endurance – this component relates to the ability of muscle groups to exert external force for many repetitions or successive exertions.
  • Cardio – respiratory endurance – this component relates to the ability of the circulatory and respiratory system to supply fuel and oxygen during sustained physical activity and to eliminate products produced due to fatigue.
  • Muscle strength – relates to the amount of external force that a muscle can exert.
  • Body composition – this component relates to the relative amount to muscle, fat, bones, and other vital parts of the body.
  • Flexibility –relates to the range of motion available at a joint.

Skill or sports related fitness –

Concerns athletes and related personnel who train towards maximal performance in a particular event or sports, this components includes –

  • Agility – relates to the ability to rapidly change the position of the entire body in a space with speed and accuracy.
  • Coordination – relates to the ability to use the senses, such as sight and hearing, together with body parts in performing motor tasks smoothly and accurately.
  • Speed – relates to the ability to perform a movement within a short period of time.
  • Balance – relates to maintenance of equilibrium while stationary or moving.
  • Power – relates to the rate at which one can perform physical activity, or the ability to exert maximal force in as short a time as possible. Activities such as weight throwing or jump require power.
  • Reaction time- relates to the time elapsed between the stimulants and the beginning of reaction to it.



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