In ancient Rome, there was a saying: mens sana in corpore sano, which means “a sound mind in a sound body.” This sums up the ancient world’s attitude toward physical fitness, which was something that they saw as coequal with having a good education. 

This attitude toward physical fitness carries through to today, and it’s one of the reasons that most schools require gym class, and why they call it “physical education.” Our modern attitude toward fitness is perhaps best exemplified by James Thomson, who in the eighteenth century wrote that “Health is the vital principle of bliss, and exercise, of health.”

Physical Fitness Today

According to the Centers for Disease Control in the United States, physical activity is extremely important. “Physical activity can improve health. People who are physically active tend to live longer and have lower risk for heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers. Physical activity can also help with weight control, and may improve academic achievement in students.”

Everyone knows that physical fitness is important, and yet in today’s world we have never seen a period when fewer people are physically fit. Obesity is a growing epidemic, and today almost 69% of adults can be classified as either overweight or obese, with a full 36% of adults falling into the category of obese. Worse, 6% fall into the category of extreme obesity. The situation is worse among men than women, with three-quarters of men falling into the overweight or obese range. Consequently, these adults are suffering from a range of conditions that are exacerbated by being overweight or obese. These include complications from chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease, as well as skeletal and muscle problems. As the CDC explains, the risks are many: “Inactive adults have a higher risk for early death, heart disease, stroke, type 2 diabetes, depression, and some cancers.”

Because of the prevalence of obesity and overweight, the number of people who meet fitness standards has fallen in recent years. For example, in the United States only 21% of adults meet the government’s fitness standards. Fewer than a third of high school students get the recommended hour of daily physical activity that the government recommends. Oddly enough, even though more men than women are overweight or obese, more men than women meet the government’s aerobic activity standards.

What to Do to Get Fit

For most people, it is relatively easy to start seeing the benefits of physical fitness by incorporating some daily physical activity into your lifestyle. However, not all physical activity is appropriate for every person, so always consult with your medical professional before starting an exercise regimen. Once your medical professional has cleared you to start a fitness program, there are a few things you might want to try in order to start your fitness journey.

Starting with walking is often a great way to start getting fit. Walking provides many benefits, and it’s a great place to begin as you start to add exercise to your lifestyle. Another frequent recommendation is to try taking the stairs rather than the elevator, or to park farther away from your destination so you can get a few extra steps in as you walk to your building. Some have found great success by using a wearable fitness tracker to monitor the number of steps you are taking or the number of calories that you have burned in your exercise routine. Overall, these steps (pun intended!) can help you to start getting fit and building up your stamina and your fitness levels.

Benefits of Fitness

Overall, physical fitness gets you healthy by combating certain types of disease. But it can also help with mental fitness. Physical fitness has been shown to improve mood and to combat some of the symptoms of depression. By maintaining a level of fitness, you can be doing both your body and you mind some big favors, and you’ll continue to reap the benefits from years to come because fitness also helps to stave off some of the declines associated with aging. Overall, physical fitness is one of the most important things you can do to improve and develop your lifestyle to maintain a healthy mind in a healthy body.

About author: This essay is written by Steve R. specially for this website. He is an academic writer who has been working for writing organization since 2012.