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Understanding the Definition of Health-Related Fitness

Understanding the Definition of Health-Related Fitness

“To keep the body in good health is a duty… otherwise we shall not be able to keep our mind strong and clear.”

  — Buddha

Why the definition of Health Related Fitness needs Clarity.

Being a Health and Fitness Professional, it is my job to understand terms and definitions which are commonplace to this industry, as well as to keep abreast of evolving trends. Through my experience, I have found that some terms deserve a little more clarification than that which they are granted.

Aside from clarifying the definition of Health Related Fitness, this article intends to shed some light on a few of the associated terms and to show their respective distinctions.

Is it simply all in a name?

The fitness world seems to use the concept Health Related Fitness like a generic fitness principle – interchangeable with others like “Physical Fitness”, “Health and Fitness” or simply “Fitness.”

While all of these terms can be included under the broad term Health and Physical Fitness, they individually refer to different aspects – both generic and specific. Unfortunately, references to these and other fitness-related terms are often vague, while consistency in their intended use is meager at best; there is a kind of “generally accepted” use for them, but individuals often rely on their own interpretation, and this can lead to confusion.

With that said, does Health Related Fitness simply infer fitness through good health? Not quite. That is why we need to understand a little more behind these words before digesting the definition.

How did the term Health-Related Physical Fitness come about?

That is a good question. One could probably ask what is this concept all about – can we not simply use the terms “Fitness” or “Physical Fitness” instead?” Why Health “Related”?

The main reason stems from the fact that most health and fitness terms are used inconsistently and often refer to different concepts or notions. After the 1996 report from the US Surgeon General (Physical Activity and Health; a report of the Surgeon General), there was a move to try and address the alarming rise in obesity levels among the general American public. Studies and initiatives required standardization among clinicians, health practitioners, and fitness trainers to grapple with the task at hand. Enter “Health-Related Physical Fitness”, a working term to address the general state of health among the public.

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The Definition of Health-Related Fitness

According to the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the main authority in this field, ineffective definitions with unclear and subjective wordings, as well as definitions containing terms which themselves require defining, have contributed to confusing the term “Physical Fitness.”

There exists no reliable guide for Health and Fitness Professionals to measure “Physical Fitness” because the term has been so loosely and inconsistently defined. It is therefore that one should consider the concept of Health Related Fitness. The definition, therefore, centers on the 5 Components of Physical Fitness which relate to “good health.” These Components are:

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On the other hand, Skill Related Fitness Components are:

  • Balance
  • Reaction Time
  • Coordination
  • Agility
  • Speed
  • Power

 

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the definition of Physical Fitness emphasizes the difference between Health-Related Physical Fitness and Athletic Ability Physical Fitness. Its point-of-departure is the “health” of the US nation, which is often referred to as the “public health perspective.” In that respect, the 5 Health Related Fitness Components are more important than those related to Athletic Ability (or Skill Related Components).

Although the concept of Health Related Fitness has an integral association with “good health”, the 5 Components are addressed individually by health professionals to allow for their measurement.

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