It's no secret that the world is dealing with a physical and emotional health epidemic. Are you bombarded by messages telling you to "live your best life" or "hustlers don't sleep; they nap"? What does this even mean anyway, and how is it affecting our health?
Here's food for thought, your best life isn't "out there," but by how you manage what's "in there." (Point to your chest right now!)
Everyone has their own personal definition of what it means to live healthier. For some people, eating healthy means going vegan or gluten-free; for others, it might be cutting out sugar to lose weight or prevent diabetes. And then, some think living healthier is about looking good at all costs while avoiding the emotional component altogether.
The problem is, if you don't take care of your mind and body holistically, it will catch up to you. Understanding how a holistic approach to your health will positively impact all aspects of your total health-related fitness is vital.
If you are struggling to understand what actually entails "health-related fitness," no need to worry; we got you covered!
We're going to cover the five aspects of health-related fitness and how a holistic fitness approach like Tai Chi or Yoga covers all your bases!
Let's get started!
The five components of health-related fitness are muscular strength, muscular endurance, cardiovascular endurance, flexibility, and body fat composition.
We'll go through each in detail one by one, and discuss how a dedicated holistic health routine can benefit you in all five!
Flexibility is about how well your muscles stretch without straining or pulling a muscle. It's also crucial for injury prevention because flexibility allows muscles to move without being overstretched. The benefits of flexibility are two-fold: it prevents injuries by allowing the muscles to move without being overstretched and provides an injury prevention benefit. Tai Chi and Yoga are both excellent for increasing flexibility!
Holistic fitness routines like yoga or Tai Chi will increase flexibility. Tai Chi helps with flexibility by encouraging you to move fluidly, which will improve your range of motion in general. The movements are also gentle and slow-paced, so they don't cause sudden muscle contractions or overstretching.
Yoga helps to increase flexibility by encouraging you to stretch your muscles and then hold these positions for a while before switching, which allows the muscle fibers time to lengthen.
By increasing your range of motion through exercises like Tai Chi or Yoga, you can help prevent injuries in the future!
Oh yeah, everyone's favorite topic! The body has two types of fat, subcutaneous or "sub-q" fat (fat just under the skin) and visceral, typically referred to as belly fat. The Visceral is more difficult to lose because it's stored deep within the abdominal cavity. Exercise, diet, and body composition measurements can be used to help assess visceral fat accumulation.
Visceral fat is a dangerous type of body fat because it can lead to hypertension and diabetes. Visceral fats release fatty acids into your bloodstream, which travel all over your body, causing insulin resistance in muscle cells, leading to Type II Diabetes.
The best way to assess this is by measuring waist circumference using a tape measure.
Formula: 703 x weight (lbs) / [height (in)]2
Holistic health routines like Tai Chi are fantastic for helping your body's fat composition. Tai Chi helps increase muscle mass, which burns more calories. What's great about this is that it doesn't matter the weight of your muscles. This means if you're short and skinny or tall and heavy, doing just a little bit of tai chi will help balance out body fat composition for both types of people.
Yoga can also be helpful with body fat composition because it focuses on alignment and flexibility. Yoga helps the body become more limber, which can lead to weight loss.
The amount of force a muscle can produce is muscular strength. Muscles that are stronger tend to be more toned and shapely. In contrast, those muscles with poor muscular endurance may end up being scrawnier-looking or "flabby."
It is helpful to use an endurance test to measure muscular strength, such as a push-up test or lifting something heavy with your arm for reps. The more repetitions you can do before becoming fatigued, the greater the levels of muscular endurance, thus increasing overall health-related fitness.
Holistic health fitness like Tai Chi may not be the first thing you would think to turn to for building muscle strength, but the reality is that it does actually create muscle strength!
Tai Chi is all about slow movements, which means that your muscles are given a chance to rest periodically. This translates well into creating muscular strength because you can exercise for long periods without becoming tired or overheated.
Yoga also helps develop muscle strength. Many poses require you to hold your body in a particular position for an extended period, which engages the muscles and creates strength.
So rather than going for the heavyweights and intense workouts, remember these holistic fitness exercises as they may be just what you need!
Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against variable resistance. Muscles with poor muscular endurance are more vulnerable to injury and fatigue. Training for improved muscular strength and cardiovascular fitness will help improve this attribute as well.
A good way to test your muscular endurance is to push or pull against resistance for as long as you can. The longer and heavier the weight, the more repetitions you should be able to do before collapsing!
Holistic health definitely makes more sense when it comes to muscle endurance. Exercises like Tai Chi help muscle endurance by increasing the strength and endurance of muscles with small movements. Yoga also increases muscle endurance by increasing flexibility, which is essential for maintaining a healthy body and reducing aging-related injury due to tight muscles.
Cardiovascular endurance is the body's ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to cells from the cardiovascular system. This attribute can be improved with aerobic training, which increases heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output while lowering blood pressure. Aerobic exercise can reduce some risk factors for metabolic syndrome. This is a set of disorders that raise your risk for heart disease, stroke, and diabetes.
This health-related fitness component can be improved with aerobic training, which increases heart rate, stroke volume, and cardiac output while lowering blood pressure.
One can also improve cardiovascular endurance by doing exercises such as swimming or biking, which do not stress the joints of weight-bearing activities like running or jogging. This will help anyone who requires rehabilitation from injury or previous surgery to avoid more damage caused by high-impact workouts.
Tai Chi has medical studies behind it that show it's a great holistic modality for cardiovascular health. According to Harvard Health, "Tai chi offers other benefits as well for heart patients. Deep breathing enhances oxygen uptake, reducing the shortness of breath that's also common with heart failure. This benefit was also seen in a study comparing heart attack survivors who did tai chi versus those who did stretching exercises".
So yeah, it's no secret that the world is dealing with a physical and emotional health epidemic. But you can fight back by getting holistically healthy.
The holistic health approach to fitness will help you achieve all five of the goals. It is a sensible way to stay fit and improve your stamina, strength, agility, flexibility, and balance.
If you don't have a regular fitness routine that is holistic in its approach then it's time you start today! Whether you are trying to live healthier, be less stressed, training for a sport, or rehabilitating an injury; a holistic health training regime is what you need.