Being fit means that you are able to push the limits of your body and not face any serious consequences as a result. This means that you can run long distances, lift heavy weights, go for brisk walks and do all the other things that place your body under stress. This is achieved by subjecting your body to that stress repeatedly until that becomes an almost 'normal' state for it and you have to place it under more stress in order to get the same challenge – this might be achieved through running increasingly long distances, lifting weights, trekking at high altitudes or a range of other activities. This requires strong muscle fibres which can help deal with heavy loads, as well as a good circulatory system and cardiovascular/aerobic fitness in order to pump energy around your body and nutrients.
This is what it means to be fit, but what are the benefits? Actually there are too many to list here and in any article really – it would take several books. However just to give you some motivation to get fit yourself and some understanding of just how useful it is, here we will look at rage of the benefits that you get from being fit. Some of them are obvious but others are likely to surprise you.
It improves your IQ: Firstly being fit can improve your IQ (I said it might surprise you... ). Though the exact mechanisms here are unknown, it is though this is to do with the cardiovascular fitness and though the increased oxygen getting to your brain, as well as using more of your brain for your movement and coordination (the motor cortex) and the increase of certain hormones released in your brain including dopamine and neurotransmitters. In tests it was found that the concentration and memory of those who did regular exercise was improved.
It improves your mood: Running and other exercise increases the amount of dopamine and endorphins your brain produces. This creates the momentary improved mood known as the 'runners high' which causes many runners to become 'hooked' but it also means that over time your overall mood can change permanently for the better.
It improves your looks: Running results in generally improved health resulting in healthier skin, better hair and fewer wrinkles and bags under your eyes meaning you look better. At the same time it results in a lower body fat percentage and more lean muscle which emphasises all your best features and gives you a great physique. This in turn will improve your confidence and your luck in romance and even in careers. You'll fill out a suit better and can take off your top with confidence.
It improves your sex drive: Exercise produces testosterone and that means that it can increase your sex drive. At the same time it improves your energy levels resulting in longer lasting and better sex (and more sperm for the man... ).
It improves your immune system: Exercising subjects you to stress and it's the job of your immune system to keep you going during this point. This then means that as well as your heart and your lungs, you will also be training that, and this can help you to get fewer illnesses.
It protects you from heart disease: Any cardiovascular exercise strengthens your heart as you require it to pump the blood around your body faster. As your heart is a muscle this will mean that it gets strengthened in much the same way as your bicep would from lifting a dumbbell and that can mean you are less likely to suffer heart disease, heart attack or other problems.
It improves your circulatory system: This in turn means that your blood is pumped more efficiently around your body and this can help to overcome problems such as those caused by cholesterol. Better circulation will prevent your extremities from getting cold, help you to have an even skin tone and prevent high blood pressure and associated problems.
It deepens your voice: For men hoping to have a more commanding voice, then try having a bit more testosterone in your system and you will experience a very slight dip in your pitch.
It helps you to sleep better: Exercising during the day means that you sleep better during the night – as does the fact that you will be less stressed, have more oxygen pumping around your body and be healthier. This then has a range of benefits in itself.
It slows down the effects of ageing: Exercise results in the production of growth hormone which has been shown to reverse many of the effects of ageing by helping you to heal individual cells. This then means that the visible signs of ageing are reversed as your body heals skin cells, and that your organs are rejuvenated.
It helps wounds to heal: Again because of the growth hormone as well as the improved immune system.
It means you can eat more: If you are used to having to diet to stay slim you'll know it's no fun. With exercise you can eat that cake then burn it off by going for a run.
It speeds up your metabolism: Your metabolism is responsible for burning the fat that you use for energy and for rebuilding muscle meaning that you can improve it through exercise. That then means that you will continue to burn fat more quickly even when you're not exercising, and also meaning you'll be warmer at night and flush problems out of your system more quickly.
Increased hand eye coordination: Repeated movement improves your ability to know where you are in space and that means fewer accidents, a better catch and more.
More explosive reactions: By training the fast twitch muscle fibres used for running and weight lifting you train the ability to move quickly and explosively – so you can block punches or catch falling vases.
Reduced chances of diabetes: Using your body regularly for energy as well as improving your weight so you will this way you will be less likely to have problems with your insulin.
It keeps you flexible and limber: Lots of exercise means repeating movements that loosen up your joints. This can prevent joint problems (as well as you take good precautions) and can also result in your being more flexible. Fewer pulled muscles then, and higher kicks when you dance.
Chores become easier: Opening a jar? Hammering a nail? It all becomes easier when you are stronger and fitter.
It improves your lung capacity: Running and other aerobic exercises require you to get lots of air from the environment and this improves your VO2 max and your lungs. You'll also be able to swim further under water then, it will counteract some of the negative aspects of smoking and you'll be less effected by high altitudes where the air is thinner.
It ensures you win at sports: Want to be better at every physical activity? Then start exercising regularly. This way if you play for a local football team you'll suddenly start performing better and become a more crucial player. At the same time though you will also be able to perform better in all the other little tasks you perform – should you and friends go bowling or to play darts, or should you decide to try your hand at something new. You will constantly impress and it's a great feeling to perform well in everything physical you do.
You won't get out of breath: Embarrassed at getting out of breath taking the stairs? Or at not being able to play football with your children? Then cardiovascular or aerobic fitness is what you need.