Physical fitness is the condition of good health and well being and, more importantly, the capacity to do diverse parts of daily activities, including work, sports and other activities. It implies not only the absence of illness or disease but also a capacity to endure the rigors of work, school or other work requirements. Physical fitness has to be developed from early childhood or early adolescence. It can also be the outcome of a natural development process.
In general, people with high muscle mass and low body fat have been found to have good fitness levels. Practicing good physical fitness and incorporating it as a lifestyle habit helps in maintaining weight loss, avoiding injuries and achieving a fit and healthy body. Fitness is usually achieved through adequate rest, proper nutrition and, most importantly, the proper strength of the skeletal and muscular systems.
To measure and identify the level of fitness one has, muscle strength and endurance tests are carried out by athletes, bodybuilders and sportsmen. The aim of these tests is to determine the overall fitness level. A particular body part may be tested as a group, for instance the legs, arms, hips, upper-body, lower-body and feet. One can also choose to carry out a combined series of tests, for instance the upper-body and lower-body tests, and the hips, upper-body and lower-body tests. A person may, for instance, be tested for muscular endurance, agility, aerobic endurance, and anaerobic endurance.
Aerobic and muscular endurance are the two kinds of functional fitness, while the former deals with endurance of the body against oxygen and for low impact activities and the latter with flexibility, body composition and motion control. The former is defined as the capacity of the body to sustain sufficient oxygen intake, whereas the latter relates to the ability of the body to tolerate the moderate exercise intensity, maximum and minimum. The Flexibility assessment determines the level of flexibility of the individual. A specific test is to be carried out by stretching the various muscles of the body, in order to assess the muscle flexibility. The muscle power test, on the other hand, measures the force expended during flexibility activities and is to be carried out before and after a specific level of fitness has been attained.
Fitness evaluation in adults involves the use of a variety of tests. One of them is the Mental Health Quotient (MHQ), which is determined by taking the screening test and by analyzing the results. The screening process includes the three main components: the insight scale, which ask about one’s general knowledge; the knowledge section which consist of about 120 questions; and the knowledge section, which ask about specific knowledge in relation to the different domains of life, including knowledge about the social domain. The MHQ is usually taken by the interviewer in an informal situation. Adult fitness training programs also deal with these domains of knowledge and promote healthy mental state, by enabling the individuals to cope up with stressful situations and to make correct decisions. The fitness goals are then set, based on the Mental Health Quotient.
Aerobic and Strength Training Exercise is another important component of fitness evaluation in adults. Aerobic or cardio exercises include running, cycling, jogging, stair climbing, swimming and skipping. Aerobic exercises are beneficial in increasing endurance, strength and stamina. On the other hand, strength training exercise is helpful in building lean muscles and improving bone density. Most of the strength training exercises are done on a full-body weight training program.