Healthy Heart Reports
The Meaning of Fitness
Most exercisers don't have the foggiest idea what fitness means
or what they have to do to increase their level of fitness. Fitness
refers to your heart muscle. The stronger your heart, the more fit
The only stimulus that makes any muscle stronger is to exercise
that muscle against increasing resistance. To make your skeletal
muscles stronger, you have to lift heavier weights or press against
weight machines. The only way that you can strengthen your heart
muscle is to exercise.
When you start to exercise, your skeletal muscles squeeze blood
from the veins near them to your heart. Your heart muscle has to
squeeze harder and faster to pump the extra blood to your body.
The harder you exercise, the more blood returns to your heart and
the harder your heart has to work to push it out, so your heart
has to beat faster.
Fitness is determined more by how hard you exercise than by how
long. Competitive athletes must exercise intensely. Runners have
to run very fast in practice and weightlifters have to lift very
heavy weights.You will become more fit by running a few miles fast
once or twice a week than you will be by running a lot of miles
very slowly. However, every time that you exercise intensely, your
muscles are damaged and it takes at least 48 hours for them to heal.
That's why competitive athletes exercise intensely 1 to 3 times
a week and exercise at a more casual pace or take days off the rest
of the time. If you want to become more fit, you need to do the