Muscle Fitness: General Info
Muscle fitness is the aspect of general fitness that concentrates on developing the strength and size of skeletal muscles. It generally involves working the muscles against some form of resistance in the form of weight training (e.g., free weights or machines), calisthenics, or resistance band exercises . While weight training is often associated with self-consumed bodybuilders and others seeking to look good, there are many health and cosmetic benefits to having good muscle fitness. Proper muscle fitness allows a person to lift heavier objects, and enables them to work longer without becoming tired. This might be important to an endurance runner, but it is also important in carrying out everyday functions like picking up children, doing yard work, and carrying grocery bags. Good muscle fitness and tone will also help to prevent joint injuries.
The History and Importance of Muscle Fitness
For thousands of years, people engaged in physical labor, which kept them in good muscle fitness. These days, weight training is more popular than manual labor for shaping up muscles. When done properly, weight training offers substantial benefits to overall health -- and you don't have to get big and bulky to use weights, or to have proper muscle fitness. Working with weights can increase muscular strength and endurance and build lean muscle mass while burning calories and fats.
Muscles as We Age
It is important to boost the metabolism in this way as we age, because our metabolism slows, making it easier to gain weight and lose muscle fitness. Working with weights also helps to increase stability and balance, which can be another factor for some as they age. The idea in muscle fitness is to maintain muscle tone. This is a physiologic term that refers to the ability of muscles to be in a constant state of slight tension, even when at rest. These low-frequency contractions that occur in the muscles contribute to good posture and keep them in a prepared state for movement, allowing for both proper balance and metabolism. Also, the heart is a muscle that requires cardiovascular exercise to assure its own muscle fitness.