by Kenneth Rudich
According to Dr. Charles Corbin, emeritus professor of exercise and wellness, there are two types of fitness to consider when embarking on an exercise and wellness program.
One is Skill-related Fitness, and the other is Health-related Fitness.
Skill-related fitness refers to an individual’s performance capacity within the context of doing something that requires a physical skill. An example would be throwing and catching a ball. It’s not the skill itself, but the performance of the skill.
The performance of such activity involves motor skills. A motor skill is a learned sequence of movements that typically involves some combination of agility, balance, coordination, speed, power, or reaction time. Optimum performance stems from doing the sequence of movements as efficiently and effectively as possible.
In essence, everyone relies on having some degree of skill-related fitness for daily living. Consider the hand-eye coordination, for example, needed to play catch with a ball, write with a keyboard, or drive a car.
These motor skills can be developed and changed with practice, at least to a certain point. For instance, parents help their children to learn motor-related skills ranging from simple activities like manipulating small objects such as paint brushes or crayons to more complex activities like tumbling, climbing, running and jumping. The rapid development of these skills is especially noticeable in toddlers.
The amount of skill-related fitness will vary from person to person. This has a lot to do with genetics. Some people are genetically gifted with exceptional motor skills, like professional athletes, dancers, high-rise construction workers, and fighter pilots. Others are less lucky. Imagine, for instance, how unbearable it would be to watch an uncoordinated construction worker trying to cross an I-beam while working 100 stories above the ground.
To a certain extent, health-related fitness may be the more important of the two types of fitness for the average person – though I don’t want to inadvertently suggest either type is unimportant to anyone at any age.
Health-related fitness by itself is not synonymous with wellness (wellness is more all-inclusive and will be dealt with in another post), but it is vital to achieving wellness. It contributes by helping to prevent disease and improve the quality of life.
Health-related fitness is something you can change through physical activity, healthy living, and diet. The key is to focus on specific aspirations for enhancing each one of them.
Physical activity contributes to health-related fitness by developing attributes like cardiovascular (aerobic) fitness, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and proper body composition. Whether you have good or poor skill-related fitness doesn’t matter. You can still obtain the benefits of health-related fitness through physical activity.
You may recall from an earlier post that the opposite of such activity is a sedentary – too little physical movement – lifestyle, which can put a person at risk of being vulnerable to various forms of disease. Physical activity assists to ward off the potential problems of a sedentary existence. Be forewarned that it necessitates some personal discipline on your part, like stepping away from the computer, getting off the couch, and breaking a sweat on a regular basis.
For example, cardiovascular fitness involves aerobic exercise, which means getting your heart rate up for a period of time through perhaps jogging, bicycling or skating.
Muscular strength and muscular endurance may be improved or obtained through weightlifting. These two different forms of fitness represent one reason why it is important to be an informed fitness consumer. Though it’s true both involve some kind of resistance training, like weightlifting, the exercise routine will not be the same for both. You’ll need one routine to achieve one, and another routine to achieve the other.
When pursuing health-related fitness, it is important to understand that there is no one-size-fits-all solution for everyone. This is yet another reason to become an informed consumer. What may be an appropriate exercise routine for one person may not be right for another. What is an achievable body composition for one person may be impossible for another to have.
Everyone must cater to their own individualistic – and realistic – needs and capabilities.
Healthy living is another pivotal component of health-related fitness. This can include the way you live, and where you live.
Few better examples currently exist than the circumstances surrounding the BP Oil spill off the U.S. Gulf coast. The stress and strain on the economy has produced an unhealthy anguish for the people who live there. This ongoing emotional roller coaster ride can take a terrible toll on the human condition, both physically and mentally.
In addition, there are grave concerns about the environmental damage, and whether it will be safe for people to live there anymore.
Healthy living also includes taking care of yourself in other ways, things like safe sex, not smoking, and not drinking alcohol to excess.
Finally, diet is central to health-related fitness.
Given the media’s recent attention to the dangers of eating the wrong kind of foods; and to issues like epidemic obesity, it seems this has already been well-covered and really doesn’t require further elaboration just now – other than perhaps to say, a healthy diet can go a long way to achieving and sustaining health-related fitness.
fitness and wellness
We can’t control everything in life. But we can take the reins on some aspects of it, and we can assume responsibility for ourselves when it comes to those things.
In future posts, I’ll delve into further detail about the things we can do to promote health and wellness for ourselves and for others. I’m banking on the idea that people will be more inclined to grab the reins once they become better informed about the what, when, where, why, and how of handling them.
And I’m hopeful it will ultimately lead to a greater social good.
Watch for next week’s installment to the Social Good Campaign. If you would like to author a post for the campaign, let me know. I’d love to have your contribution.