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Understanding the Definition of Health-related Fitness

Being a Conditioning Professional, it is my job to know terms and definitions that are commonplace to this industry, at the same time to keep abreast of evolving trends. Through my experience, I have discovered that a number of terms deserve a tad bit more clarification than that that they are granted.

Besides clarifying the definition of Medical Fitness, this article offers to shed some light on a few of the associated terms, and to show their respective distinctions.

Can it be simply all within a name?

The fitness world usually use the concept Health Related Fitness like a generic fitness principle - interchangeable web-sites like "Physical Fitness", "Health and Fitness" or simply just "Fitness."

While most of these terms can be included within the broad term Health insurance and Physical Fitness, they individually make reference to different aspects - both generic and particular. Unfortunately, references to these and other fitness-related terms are often vague, while consistency of their intended use is meager at the best; there is a kind of "generally accepted" use for the children, but individuals often depend upon own interpretation, this also can lead to confusion.

With that said, does Health Related Fitness simply infer fitness by using good health? Not quite. That's the reason we need to understand more behind these words before digesting the definition.

How did the term Health Related Physical Fitness come about?

That is a good question. You are able to probably ask what's 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 conditioning terms are used inconsistently and quite often refer to different concepts or notions. Succeeding the 1996 report from the US Surgeon General (Exercise and Health; an investigation of the Surgeon General), there was clearly a move to try and address the alarming boost in obesity levels among the general American public. Studies and initiatives required standardization among clinicians, health practitioners and fitness trainers to grapple with all the task at hand. Enter "Health Related Physical Fitness", a working term to address the typical state of health among the public.

The definition of Health Related Fitness

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

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

    Cardiorespiratory Fitness
    Body Composition
    Muscular Strength
    Muscular Endurance

Conversely, Skill Related Fitness Components are:

    Reaction Time

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the meaning of Physical Fitness emphasizes the main difference between Health Related Health and fitness and Athletic Ability Physical Fitness. Its point-of-departure is the "health" of the usa nation, which is often termed as the "public health perspective." Due to that, the 5 Health Related Fitness Components will be more important than those linked to Athletic Ability (or Skill Related Components).

Even though the concept of Health Related Fitness posseses an integral association with "good health", the 5 Components are addressed individually by medical researchers to allow for their measurement.

Now that we have a deeper idea of the term, what purpose does it serve?

Continuing where the definition left off, the goal of measuring the 5 Components would be to advise clients regarding their own particular Health Related Fitness, and to use data extracted from the tests to development appropriate exercise programs which may then be evaluated.

The five Components contribute evenly to make up a holistic Medical related Fitness, which is of direct interest towards the health of the ordinary citizen, in that the concept is normative. In other words, it is a standard allowing for consistent application.


So get a telephone for those working in the medical and fitness industry to not mistake "overall physical fitness" with "Health Related Conditioning."

To conclude, why don't we consider this distinction between Conditioning and Health Related Fitness

You should bear in mind that regular physical exercise can improve overall Physical Fitness, as well as Health Related Fitness. However, overall fitness is often a generic term and it is up to subjective interpretation, while Medical Fitness can be assessed.

The difference therefore, between both of these terms, exists for the reason that Health Related Physical Fitness might be measured according to a set of established comparative norms.

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

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

His work centers on the "sensible approach" to Medical Fitness, which entails using practical, flexible and sustainable ways to achieve optimal levels of health and physical fitness.


His clientele belongs mostly towards the group he calls "average everyday people", who in a nutshell want to be in excellent shape, yet still lead a conventional life.