Health and Fitness Parameters

Let’s assume that there was a workout school out there that you could attend; you’d be taught five main subjects:

  • Cardio respiratory fitness,
  • Muscular endurance,
  • Muscular strength,
  • Flexibility
  • Body composition.

You cannot do any justice to the time spent working out or the calories burnt if they do not lead to any kind of progress or learning on these five core areas of fitness.

Cardio respiratory fitness:

Ability of the heart and lungs to deliver oxygen and nutrients to working cells or muscles which are demanding them — let’s say you’re climbing stairs, then your leg muscles will demand more blood supply, oxygen and nutrient delivery and will need to remove or recycle waste products (like lactic acid).

Muscular strength:

The greatest amount of force (maximal effort) that a muscle or a group of muscles, can exert at one time. This is called muscular strength.

Muscular endurance:

The ability of a muscle or group of muscles to perform repeated activity over a period of time. For example, if you are moving furniture or if you are making laddoos, then you would be using your muscular endurance.


Ability of joints to move through their full range of motion (ROM). For example, a bowler would move his shoulder through a full range of motion before coming in to bowl.

Body composition:

This refers to the fat mass that you carry as compared to the total body mass you have. For women this should be 25% or under and men 20% or under. For example, when someone says they want to look toned and not flabby, they actually mean that they would like to reduce the fat mass and increase the lean mass (bone and muscle), basically improve body composition.

Now the moral of the story is, when you make improvements on the first four parameters of fitness, it results in improvement (lowering fat mass) of the fifth parameter, that of body composition. Learning these ‘subjects’ or making improvements on these fitness parameters leads to an improvement in overall health, sense of wellbeing, sharpens your kinaesthetic (bodily) intelligence and yeah, improves your appearance and looks too. It also leads to perfect harmony in our hormones, leads to stable moods and puts the mind into the ‘feel-good’ mode, unlike the high-strung or run-down state of mind that most weight-loss plans lead to. Every time I am invited as a speaker at medical conferences or colleges, I strongly urge the medicos to use the term ‘improve your body composition’ or ‘make improvements in strength and stamina’ while advising their patients versus the often used ‘just lose some weight’ as a remedy to lifestyle diseases or aches and pains.

Thanks for reading…

It’s All in The Mind- A Short Motivational Story

There was a boy who was born with a severe physical disability One of his legs was so weak, that he had to have a brace on it. At first, he was not at all bothered by this handicap. But when he started going to school, he became dejected. He could not run; he could not climb trees; he could not play games like all the other boys.

Sensing his depression, his father decided to take the boy to a famous temple in a distant town. It was said that when people prayed at the temple, miracles happened to them. It was also said that the handicapped people who went there, could throw away their braces and crutches and walk freely. They were healed completely.

Father and son set out on a pilgrimage to the temple. They entered the shrine, and offered fervent prayers for the boy’s leg to be healed. Suddenly, the boy sensed a wonderful feeling of warmth within his heart. He felt that he had been truly healed. He opened his eyes and rose to his feet. He glanced at his leg – but it was as withered as ever.

“It’s no use being here,” he said to his father. “Let us go. God has not heard our prayer.”

As he neared the temple gates, he had a wonderful sensation. He felt as if a great hand passed over him, and he cried out, “Father, Father! You were right! I am healed! I am healed!”

Startled, the father looked at his leg – and saw no sign of healing. The brace was very much in place.

“Father, God has not taken away the brace on my leg,” the son explained. “But He has taken away the brace on my mind! I no longer feel handicapped. I no longer feel an inferiority complex.”