How Important Is Physical Fitness?

A person who is fit is capable of living life to its fullest extent. Physical and mental fitness play very important roles in your lives and people who are both, physically and mentally fit are less prone to medical conditions as well.

What is Fitness?

Fitness does not only refer to being physically fit, but also refers to a person’s mental state as well. If a person is physically fit, but mentally unwell or troubled, he or she will not be able to function optimally. Mental fitness can only be achieved if your body is functioning well. You can help relax your own mind and eliminate stresses by exercising regularly and eating right.

Why is it Important to Be Physically Fit?

People who are physically fit are also healthier, are able to maintain their most optimum weight, and are also not prone to cardiac and other health problems. In order to maintain a relaxed state of mind, a person should be physically active. A person who is fit both physically and mentally is strong enough to face the ups and downs of life, and is not affected by drastic changes if they take place.

How Can You Become More Physically Fit?

Becoming physically fit requires a change in life style as well. You will have to incorporate a regular exercise routine in your life and also eat healthier. By avoiding junk foods, fizzy drinks, bad habits like smoking and alcohol and by getting adequate amount of rest, you will be able to become physically and mentally fit. Just by eliminating all these food substances from your life, no matter how temporarily, you will allow your body to detox and become stronger. Make sure that you spend more time outdoors in the sun, and fresh air and take part in more healthy activities. Fishing, bicycling, swimming, hiking, and even playing foot ball with your kids should be a part of your physically fit lifestyle.

What Are the Advantages of Being More Active?

By becoming more active you can increase your body’s fitness levels and also avoid health problems like diabetes and high blood pressure from developing. Exercise is also good for your joints and makes your body stronger overall.

How to Become A Morning Workout Person

We know not everyone is a morning person. (And even fewer of us are eager to wake up and hit the gym.) But getting up and moving can actually be an amazing way to start your day.

While the best time to exercise depends on your schedule and your body, the odds are in favor of morning workouts. Think about it: You won’t have to trudge to the gym after a long day of work, you may sleep better, and you’re more likely to actually get it done if you do it before other (sometimes more fun) options come up. (Who wants to say no to happy hour?!)

Sure, you may have heard the usual tips and tricks, but what hacks do people who consistently work out in the early a.m. use? We asked those who know best—a mix of people who train for a living, Greatist staffers, and you, our dear readers—to find out what gets them up and at ‘em at the crack of dawn.

From the Experts

1. Cool down to warm up.

“I ride a Citi Bike to the gym to teach—even in the winter. Those single-digit temperatures and bitter breeze smack me so hard in the face, I don’t even need a cup of coffee!” — Ryan Wilke, co-founder of Throwback Fitness

2. Set two alarms.

“The first one lets me know I have 15 more minutes to sleep, which makes me happy. Then I meditate for 10 minutes, drink an almond milk cappuccino, play music (pretty loud—sorry, neighbors!), and throw on a super-bright Nike outfit. Caffeine. Clear Head. Neon. I’m out the door and ready to take on the day.” — Holly Rilinger, Nike Master Trainer, Flywheel Master Instructor, and co-creator of BeachFIT

3. Pack accordingly and get in bed early.

“Every evening I check to see what the morning workout will be and prepare my bag accordingly (not every day is a jump rope day). On weekdays I’m in bed no later than 10:30 p.m., so my 6:30 a.m. alarm doesn’t feel quite so brutal. I’m ready and out the door within 10 minutes.” — Sandee Shin, CrossFit Virtuosity athlete

4. Flip a switch.

“Blinding light as soon as the alarm goes off always makes me realize I don’t want to go back to sleep. Then I turn on some tunes—on days I need extra help I’ll go for Drake or Nikki—and grab my first cup of coffee rather than the covers.” — Jessi Kneeland, personal trainer and creator of Remodel Fitness

5. Have a delicious breakfast ready and waiting.

“When I’m looking at another 5 a.m. wake up call, I’ll pre-order my favorite smoothie from my go-to smoothie shop to be delivered to the box early the next morning. Once I hit that send button, I know I have get up early—not just so I can eat it, but to make sure nobody else eats it (which, yes, has almost happened). I even label my alarm to say: ‘Get your damn Liquiteria.'” — Sarah Pope, assistant coach at Brick New York

6. Keep the alarm away from your bed.

“In fact, I used to have an alarm clock that would purposely vibrate off my nightstand, then shake and roll all over the floor so I had to chase it to shut it off! For me, the hardest part is that initial physical act of getting my body out of bed. It’s all downhill from there!” —Brian Gallagher, co-founder of Throwback Fitness

7. Make it a habit.

“Life is about habits, both big and small. So to get to the bigger goal of working out in the morning, I stick to small habits along the way, like placing my alarm clock in my kitchen. As I brush my teeth, I ask myself: What will I gain from staying awake instead of going back to bed? The answer is always ‘a lot,’ because a couple extra hours of uninterrupted time is enormous, whether it’s spent at a desk or in the gym.” — Adam Griffin, founder of Bodeefit

8. Prep your clothes—and a playlist.

“The more I like my outfit, the more excited I am to put it on! Also, I always have an excellent playlist. For me, music dictates the way and the intensity in which I move.” — Bree Branker, Flywheel NYC instructor

9. Wear red and grab a mint.

“Most of my workout clothes are red. The color’s known to increase excitement, energy levels, and circulation, and for me it really works to get me going. I also pop in a peppermint Altoid, which I’ve done ever since my collegiate track and field days. Peppermint can create alertness, which is something I need running through Central Park in the early a.m. The only thing that I haven’t mastered is remembering my keys, which sometimes makes my workouts a bit longer than originally planned.” — Jay Cardiello, celebrity trainer

10. Coffee = life.

“I drink as much coffee as I can (if they made coffee IV injections, I’d buy ‘em) to get my zombie-like body out the door before it knows what’s happening to it.” [Editor’s note: After all, we can have more caffeine than we thought!] — Alyx Brown, Chiropractic physician at Manhattan’s Urban Wellness Clinic

11. Splash yourself.

“I could lie in bed for hours, so the biggest struggle for me is just putting my feet on the ground. Then I immediately walk to the bathroom and wash my face with cold water—afterward, I feel awake and ready to go.” — Locke Hughes, senior editor

12. Eliminate excuses.

“When I pack my bag the night before, I include an extra plastic bag for sweaty clothes and my second stash of toiletries so I’m never without some deodorant or quick-cleansing wipes (which I’ll use after a not-so-sweaty workout like yoga). Also, I keep hair ties on my wrist, because yes, I have used that excuse before.” — Maria Hart, senior editor

13. Schedule brunch.

“I’m completely motivated by rewards, preferably food. So now I plan brunch with my friends on the weekends in the late morning. Nothing makes me run harder or faster (and even sometimes longer) than knowing a mimosa and some French toast are waiting for me.”— Jeff Cattel, associate editor

14. Think about how you’ll feel afterward.

“For me, it’s knowing how great I’ll feel once it’s over. Once I’m done, I know I have the entire day and night to do whatever I want!” — Amanda Delaney, director of office operations

15. #Treatyoself.

“I like to have an insanely delicious (and healthy) pre-gym snack so I’m motivated to wake up and go. I love making energy bites loaded with almond butter and oats, and having a strong cup of coffee on my commute to the gym. By the time I’m there, I have tons of energy and am ready to work.” — Tara Fuller, director of brand strategy

16. Turn to your furry friends.

“I’ve got four dogs that I run with in the morning before we eat. There’s nothing like four barking dogs to get you up and running.” — Mary Muller, via Facebook

17. Look into the future.

“I visualize the workout the night before as I’m falling asleep. Visualizing myself enjoying it and seeing myself smiling works every time.” — Antonio Deliseo, via Facebook

18. Respect your routine.

“Give your workout the same respect as your child’s doctor appointment or your work schedule. Scheduling my workouts keeps me going—I really try not to let anything get in the way.” — Summer MacKenzie Devine, via Facebook

19. Warm up the room.

“I have a gym buddy, lay out clothes the night before, and schedule the heat to turn on early so getting out of bed isn’t so hard!” — Mandy Thudium, via Twitter

20. Have a group you can’t let down.

“Find a good group. While I don’t always want to go to the workout, I always want to see my friends.” — Rachel Lockwood McDonald, via Facebook

21. Chores count.

“I live in Boston—my morning workout is shoveling snow and getting firewood inside. No way around that!” — Kerstin Dorbert, via Facebook

22. Sleep in workout clothes.

“I sleep in my workout clothes and pack my bag the night before. Also, I get really excited about breakfast.” — Christine DiGangi, via Twitter

23. Use a wake up light.

“I have a wake up light, so when the alarm goes off, it’s bright in my room and I’m not tempted to snooze. I also have everything packed and ready to go the night before so all I have to do is roll out of bed and go!” — Lauren Furmanski, via Facebook

24. Do it no matter what.

“For me, it’s consistency. Even if I’m not feeling the workout that day, if I just get up and go through the motions, it helps.” — Aaron Perkins, via Facebook

Important Tips For Overall Wellness

What is Exercise and Physical Fitness?

Exercise is “planned, structured and repetitive physical activity done to improve or maintain one or more components of physical fitness.”Physical fitness is “a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity.”3 According to the Centers for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion, less than 50 percent of adults engage in the amount of exercise recommended for optimal health; 16 percent do not engage exercise at all; and almost half of 12 to 21 year olds are regularly inactive. What does it take to get more people interested in exercising?

Benefits of Exercise

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, regular physical activity is one of the most important things we can do for our health. 5 The benefits of exercise include:

  • Weight control
  • Lower risk of cardiovascular disease
  • Lower risk for type 2 diabetes and metabolic syndrome
  • Lower risk of some cancers
  • Stronger bones and muscles
  • Improved mental health and mood
  • Improved mobility in daily activities and better prevention of falls
  • Increased longevity

What is a Successful Fitness Program?

Muscular strength and endurance—”The ability of the muscle to exert force during an activity, and the ability of the muscle to continue to perform without fatigue.”

  1. Flexibility—”The range of motion around a joint.”

Aerobic Activity

Aerobic activity is any physical action that gets you breathing harder and your heart beating faster, for example:

Moderate Physical Activity

  • Hiking
  • Gardening or yard work
  • Dancing
  • Golf (walking and carrying clubs)
  • Bicycling (less than 10 mph)
  • Walking (3.5 mph)

Vigorous Physical Activity

  • Running or jogging (5 mph)
  • Bicycling (greater than10 mph)
  • Swimming
  • Aerobics class
  • Walking (4.5 mph)
  • Basketball

Muscle Strength and Endurance

In order to gain muscle strength benefits, this exercise needs to be repeated to the point where it is difficult to perform one more repetition without help. A repetition is one complete movement of an activity, like lifting a weight. Between 8 to 12 repetitions is called a set.7

Examples of muscle strengthening activities include the following:

  • Lifting weights
  • Using resistance bands
  • Push ups or sit ups
  • Yoga

How Much Exercise Do We Need?

There have been recent breakthroughs in exercise science research that propose exercising for only 10 minutes at a time may be just as or more effective than exercising for 30 to 60 minutes continuously.8 This provides the opportunity to break up the total daily exercise requirement into manageable amounts.

Amount of Exercise Needed to Gain the Health Benefits of Exercise (for Adults)

  • 2-½ hours (150 minutes) of moderate-intensity aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities 2 or more days per week, OR
  • 1-¼ hours (75 minutes) of vigorous-intensity aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities 2 or more days per week

Remember: More time equals greater health benefits:

  • More than 300 minutes per week of moderate intensity aerobic activity plus strength training OR
  • 150 minutes per week of vigorous intensity activity, plus strength training

10 Ways to Finally Make Fitness a Habit



1. Forget the ‘Go Hard or Go Home’ Mentality

Hourlong, sweat-soaked workouts are great, but they don’t all have to be so grueling. And, when you’re trying to make fitness a habit, they shouldn’t be. Besides potentially pushing your body harder than what it’s ready for and upping your risk of injury, a “go hard or go home” line of thinking generally ends in you throwing in the towel, says clinical psychologist Elizabeth Lombardo, author of “Better than Perfect: 7 Strategies to Crush Your Inner Critic and Create a Life You Love.”

End your all-or-nothing approach and prevent burnout by starting small. “If you watch TV, set up a stationary bike and spin easy while watching,” says Pat Gilles, a Wisconsin-based certified strength and conditioning coach. “You would be amazed how a set of five push-ups when done throughout the day can equal 200.” Bonus: Compared to performing one 30-minute workout, fitting in three 10-minute mini workouts may be superior for improving your heart health, per 2015 research in the European Journal of Applied Physiology.

2. Stop Waiting to Have Time

“When you decide to work out ‘when you have time,’ you never will have time and you will never work out,” says Lombardo, who recommends scheduling your workouts like any other priority. Because, in fact, they are a priority. “While some studies show the best time to work out is the morning, I find in my clinical practice that the best time really depends on the individual,” she says. “If you know you are never going to get up early to go to the gym, then you might do better penning in a time in the evening or during lunch.”

3. Give it Eight Weeks

The whole “it takes 21 days to form a habit” is idealistic, if not altogether unrealistic. While, if nothing unexpected or stressful pops up onto your plate, you can likely cement a habit in three weeks, real life includes stress, frustrations, surprises and family drama, Lombardo says. All of that can delay how long it takes for you to get into the exercise groove and make hitting the gym a true habit. For that reason, Mike Donavanik, a certified strength and conditioning coach in Los Angeles, tells his clients that it takes a good eight weeks of consistent workouts to make future ones automatic.

4. Make it Convenient

Nowadays, between supermarket delivery services and Skype-based therapy sessions, convenience is more important than ever. The same goes for exercise – especially for newbies trying to make it a habit, Gilles says. So if you are looking to join a gym, choose one that’s near your home or work – or put together your own one in the basement. If you want to get in a morning workout, lay out your clothes and breakfast the night before, Lombardo says. Consider your workout and make it a point to remove any and all obstacles standing between it and you.

5. Find Your Fitness Personality

When it comes to working out, there’s no stronger instigator than intrinsic motivation – the desire to do something simply because you like doing it. So, if you’ve always left the gym thinking “well, that was no fun,” finding a workout that you truly enjoy has the potential to radically change your relationship with exercise, Donavanik says. Try to pinpoint your fitness personality. Do you like to work out with others or need some alone time? Do you like fast-paced workouts or slower ones? Are you competitive or into mindfulness? “If you don’t like lifting, go spinning. If you don’t like spinning, go do CrossFit. If you don’t like CrossFit, do yoga,” he says. “I guarantee you can find something that you like. You just need to be open minded to the idea of actually liking something.”

6. Get Accountable

“Accountability is an integral part of helping you stick with workouts,” Lombardo says. But accountability doesn’t have to equate to enlisting the support of a workout buddy. It could mean hiring a personal trainer, placing a bet on GymPact or DietBet, logging workouts in your fitness tracker or signing up in advance for paid workout classes, Gilles says. Again, gauging your fitness personality can help you find the right course of accountability action for you.

7. Stop Using Exercise as Punishment

A lot of people think of exercise as a punishment or a way to “offset” their favorite, less-than-healthy foods. So, as a result, exercise becomes a chore and a time for self-critique, Donavanik says. Sound like you? No wonder you aren’t consistent with your workouts. Research from Syracuse University shows that the more dissatisfied people are with their bodies, the more likely they are to avoid exercise. “Instead, when you put ‘gym’ in your schedule, think of it more as ‘me time’ and allow yourself the luxury to do something good for yourself,” he says. “Make your workout an opportunity to de-stress, to take time just for yourself and to not worry about anything else.”

8. Make the Right Goals

“Focus on performance over results,” Lombardo says. “Too often, people base their feelings about exercise according to their results. Thinking such as, ‘I haven’t lost any weight; this is not working’ can ensue. And it’s tough to enjoy something when you view it as a failure.” By focusing on the immediate rewards of your gym time (for instance, working out increases all-day energy levels, improves sleep quality, fights brain fog and can even take the edge off of a headache) every workout feels worth it.

9. Drop the Comparisons

Comparing yourself to others in the gym – namely those who are fitter than you – is a surefire way to make yourself feel defeated and want to give up. But just because the guy at the squat rack made fitness a habit before you did doesn’t mean that you can’t, too, Lombardo says. “Remember, any habit is learned,” she says. “And anyone, yes anyone, can change.” So rather than think, “I’ll never be that fast” when someone passes you on the trail, think, “I’m so excited to be that fast.”

10. Celebrate Small Victories

Recognizing progress – and giving yourself the kudos you deserve – can help keep you motivated to exercise over the long-haul, says Gilles, who recommends setting continual short- and long-term goals. To spot progress in real-time, try tracking your workouts in an online log or notebook, Donavanik says. Every time you add five pounds to the barbell, or run a mile one second faster than last time, celebrate that. Go ahead and smile, share your achievement with others or celebrate by buying a new pair of shiny sneakers.