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Knowing that you are unfit may range from a niggling feeling you have about your fitness level, discomfort when doing exercise or playing a sport, being constantly out of breath when walking a lot or climbing stairs, finding daily activities difficult, tiring quickly or having a medical professional tell you that you are unfit.
Bear in mind that what one person may consider a healthy fitness level, another person may not. Examples include a short stroll in a park daily versus someone training for a specific competitive sport. Health conditions and disabilities may determine how much fitness may be improved too. In general, there are signals we may be aware of that tell us we are not at the fitness level we should be.
Signs of Unfitness
Here are some indicators of fitness levels:
- Pain and discomfort
- Lifestyle choices
- Sleep quality
- Health check-up
- Body Mass Index (BMI)
Pain and Discomfort
Pain and discomfort in the body is an alert of illness, unfitness and the need to improve health including fitness. Breathlessness when doing physical activities may cause chest pain and chest pain may be an indicator of a weak heart. Having this checked may help a person receive the needed medical care to improve their health and fitness.
Some people opt not to have needed medical care when they experience pain and discomfort. However, this choice may be detrimental particularly if it alters a person’s lifestyle choices such as not to eat balanced meals and not to do exercise. Receiving the right medical care for pain not only diagnoses the cause but helps a person receive pain relief treatment or pain management care.
The choices to smoke and consume alcohol excessively may deteriorate health and fitness. These choices may lead to a range of health conditions including cancer, liver disease, diabetes and heart disease that worsens health and limits fitness potential.
Certain lifestyle choices may be dangerous, may lead to accidents and injuries or disability that may cause fitness decline. Making healthy lifestyle choices, such as not to smoke, to drink responsibly, eating balanced diets and exercising regularly, promotes better health and fitness.
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Getting professional advice about exercise suited to your personal build, health and fitness needs is important so that the right level of exercise is done. Over-exercising or exercising incorrectly may have a negative impact on health and fitness. Not doing much exercise may cause unfitness.
Nowadays there are so many choices in exercise types and sports including individual and group activities. Some people enjoy dancing as a means of exercise, playing tennis or swimming. Local lifestyle centres offer options in exercise and individual advice on proper fitness. Gyms and clubs may be joined for exercise too.
An inability to sleep or maintain good sleep quality may be a sign of unfitness. Not being able to sleep causes tiredness, irritability and may lead to breakdowns in relationships at home and work.
Eating balanced diets, making the right lifestyle choices and exercising promotes better sleep patterns. People suffering with insomnia, snoring or sleep apnoea should be appropriately treated so that fitness is not affected by these conditions. Exercise may actually allow for deeper relaxation so that healthy sleep is enjoyed.
Experiencing breathlessness when moving may be a sign of unfitness but may also be an indicator of more serious health concerns such as a cardio-vascular condition. People who smoke may experience breathlessness and problems breathing more than non-smokers.
The less we exercise, the more our bodies become accustomed to being stationary. When we are unfit and do move, the body strains and this is what causes breathlessness. If breathlessness is experienced, it is better to get it checked by a healthcare provider so that the cause may be identified for the right kind of treatment.
A lack of exercise may not be the only cause of unfitness. Poor health may be or an underlying illness may contribute to not feeling well and unfit. By having our health checked with a medical professional we not only receive peace of mind but we may receive treatment we need for improved health and learn how to improve our fitness levels.
Just like cars have MOT checks, we need to have medical and dental check-ups to ensure our bodies are functioning at their best. Many healthcare providers give information about improving fitness levels and may refer for necessary care, such as physiotherapy or rehabilitation.
Body Mass Index (BMI)
Our BMI may be a sign that we are not as fit as we should be. A BMI over 30 indicates obesity and that weight loss is necessary to experience better health and fitness. Obesity is linked to health conditions such as high blood pressure, cardio-vascular disease, heart attacks, strokes and diabetes. All these health conditions associated with obesity weaken health, immunity to disease and fitness.
Similarly, a BMI below 18 may indicate being underweight and potentially malnourished. Being undernourished or obese affects metabolism, organ function, bone quality and mental health. Therefore, getting healthcare advice if your BMI is in an unhealthy range is important to improve health and fitness.
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To overcome unfitness starts with self-recognition that we are unfit. Once we are willing to accept and acknowledge that we are unfit, we are in a better position to make a decision to do something about it. Here are some tips in overcoming unfitness:
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Once we are aware that we are unfit, we need to make a decision to do something about it. Sometimes people lack motivation to do this and may need the help of a healthcare professional to identify unfitness and to decide what to do about it.
Motivation, Attitude and Commitment
Our motivations and attitudes to fitness plays a pivotal role in what we do decide to do about it. Knowing our level of unfitness, the effects of our unfitness on our health, and options to overcome unfitness boosts motivation and attitude to improve. Having moral support such as from a healthcare professional or through a fitness group may help. To improve our fitness we need to be committed to doing so.
Healthcare providers are there to provide advice about fitness, diagnose fitness levels and provide options in improving fitness. Some people may need a medical treatment and others may need referral for physiotherapy or specialist care. Healthcare providers may provide information about local fitness centres where affordable fitness provision is available.
Increasingly, people are opting to have healthcare insurance to widen their fitness options. Some are choosing to have medical treatments abroad, join boot camps at favourite global locations or to experience the nurturing of a retreat where fitness through yoga and meditation may be improved.
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Exercise and Fitness
There are so many choices now for improving fitness through local hubs and abroad. We do not need to limit ourselves to exercise that demotes us or is not enjoyable. Start by finding out about what is available in your vicinity or abroad through insurance options. Choose an exercise or fitness activity of interest to do and start in moderation.
If you feel your motivation is low or you may not be getting proper fitness, engage a personal trainer to help you along the way. Personal trainers are accessed through lifestyle centres and local gyms. You may be able to find private ones online or be covered for use of a personal trainer through health insurance. General Practitioners may be able to refer individuals to personal trainers for improvement of their fitness levels.
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Our nutritional intake impacts our fitness as previously mentioned in the BMI section. Diet may be improved through learning more about healthy nutrition or gaining the advice of a dietician. A GP may refer to a dietician or a dietician may be accessed through private care and health insurance.
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Choices in Improving Fitness
Improving our fitness is a personal choice for children and adults. Gaining professional advice or referral for professional care helps as does joining a fitness club or group. The local council may provide information and advice about fitness opportunities in the area.
You may broaden your choices in fitness opportunities by having healthcare insurance. For a small monthly premium, you may access a range of healthcare and fitness options through private provision. Barriers to improve fitness includes: negative attitudes; lack of knowledge about fitness opportunities; not gaining needed health care.
Cost should not be a barrier to fitness as options exist through the National Health Service and private care with health insurance. Fitness is affordable and improves quality of life.
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