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Being a Health and Fitness Professional, it is my job to be aware of terms and definitions that happen to be commonplace to this industry, also to keep abreast of evolving trends. Through my experience, I have found that a number of terms deserve more clarification than that that they are granted.

Apart from clarifying the definition of Health-related Fitness, this article intends to shed some light on the few of the associated terms, also to show their respective distinctions.

Can it be simply all in the name?

The fitness world usually use the concept Medical Fitness like a generic fitness principle - interchangeable with other people like "Physical Fitness", "Health and Fitness" or just "Fitness."

While these terms can be included under the broad term Wellness Physical Fitness, they individually refer to different aspects - both generic and specific. Unfortunately, references to these and other fitness-related terms in many cases are vague, while consistency inside their intended use is meager at best; there is a kind of "generally accepted" use on their behalf, but individuals often count on own interpretation, which can lead to confusion.

Having said that, does Health Related Fitness simply infer fitness by using good health? Not quite. For this reason we need to understand a bit more behind these words before digesting the definition.

How did the word Health Related Physical Fitness occur?

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That is a good question. You can probably ask what is this concept all about - are we able to not simply use the terms "Fitness" or "Physical Fitness" instead?" Why Health "Related"?

The main reason stems from the fact that most physical fitness terms are used inconsistently and frequently refer to different concepts or notions. After the 1996 report in the US Surgeon General (Exercising and Health; an investigation of the Surgeon General), there was a move to try and address the alarming increase in obesity levels one of many general American public. Studies and initiatives required standardization among clinicians, doctors and nurses and fitness trainers to grapple together with the task at hand. Enter "Health Related Physical Fitness", an operating term to address the state of health among the public.

The phrase Health Related Fitness

In accordance with the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the principle authority in this field, ineffective definitions with unclear and subjective wordings, and also definitions containing terms which themselves require defining, have contributed to confusing the term "Physical Fitness."

There is no reliable guide for Physical fitness and health Professionals to measure "Physical Fitness", because the term has been so loosely and inconsistently defined. Hence, it is that one should consider the concept of Health Related Fitness. Madness therefore centers on the 5 Components of Physical Fitness which correspond with "good health." These Components are:

Cardiorespiratory Fitness
Body Composition
Flexibility
Muscular Strength
Muscular Endurance

However, Skill Related Fitness Components are:

Balance
Reaction Time
Coordination
Agility
Speed
Power

In line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the word Physical Fitness emphasizes the real difference between Health Related Physical Fitness and Athletic Ability Health and fitness. Its point-of-departure is the "health" of the US nation, which is often called the "public health perspective." In that regard, the 5 Health Related Fitness Components will be more important than those linked to Athletic Ability (or Skill Related Components).

Even though concept of Health Related Fitness comes with a integral association with "good health", the five Components are addressed individually by physicians to allow for their measurement.

Given that we have a deeper comprehension of the term, what purpose should it serve?

Continuing where the definition left off, the intention of measuring the 5 Components is to advise clients about their own particular Health-related Fitness, and to use data extracted from the tests to create appropriate exercise programs which may then be evaluated.

The five Components contribute evenly to generate up a holistic Health-related Fitness, which is of direct interest to the health of the ordinary citizen, in this the concept is normative. To put it differently, it is a standard that enables for consistent application.

Phone connection, and for those working in medical and fitness industry to never mistake "overall physical fitness" with "Health Related Fitness and health."

To conclude, let us consider this distinction between Conditioning and Health Related Fitness

One needs to bear in mind that regular exercising can improve overall Fitness and health, as well as Health Related Fitness. However, overall fitness is a generic term and is up to subjective interpretation, while Health Related Fitness can be assessed.

The difference therefore, between those two terms, exists in this Health Related Physical Fitness can be measured according to a set of established comparative norms.

This is when the "rubber hits the path." The guidelines set out by the ACSM enable health professionals to work with clients to assess and measure their reaction to exercise and prescribe appropriate exercise programs. A client's progress will then be monitored and adjusted where necessary to be able to obtain the desired fitness goals.

Cleto Tirabassi is a certified Fitness Trainer with all the International Sports Sciences Association (ISSA).

His work focuses on the "sensible approach" to Medical Fitness, which entails the application of practical, flexible and sustainable solutions to achieve optimal numbers of health and physical fitness.