With the hectic pace of our 21st century lifestyle it can be easy to overlook the importance of our general health, fitness and wellbeing. Being physically active is a good way to maintain general fitness. Activities and exercise such as long walks, jogging, sports and dance can all increase fitness levels as well as helping to relieve the effects of stress. It is also important to maintain a sense of wellbeing, the capacity to live a resourceful and fulfilling life and having the resilience to deal with life challenges. Go to our shop page to download visualizations and massage videos to enhance well being now.
Aspects of Health and Well Being
Physical health is the ability to meet the physical demands of everyday life and the varied physical demands of our chosen physical activity without reducing us to a fatigued state. The body systems function efficiently with no illness or injury. We are able to meet various demands of our physical activities effectively and efficiently without excess stress or strain on our physical, mental, emotional or spiritual well-being.
Good mental health is the ability to cope with the mental and emotional pressures of artistic, work, social, and family life. You may be able to adapt mentally to the changing environment of work, training, social, spiritual, family and leisure. You can also have and maintain a positive outlook on life. Mental health problems can describe temporary reactions to a painful event, stress, lack of sleep, physical illness or trauma either physical, mental or emotional.
Spiritual health is in essence to be able to look beyond the physical body, seeing how the mind, body and soul are interconnected. Spirituality and health are closely connected, when one part is stimulated, it affects the other parts as well as yourself as a whole. Health in a spiritual perspective is concerned with the physical, emotional, mental and spiritual aspects of our being. This holistic approach looks at the whole being to understand and to create balance and harmony.
You may be able to make friends and socialise with ease. A sign of good social health is the ability to receive help from others, make a contribution to the community and be valued by it. You may be able to develop positive relationships with a wide variety of people from different cultures and social environments.
Element of Fitness
There are various elements of fitness and are divided into:
Health Related Fitness
Health related fitness is keeping the body fit for general health and incorporates the following components:
The ability of the heart and blood vessels to supply sufficient oxygen levels to the body. This is required for sustained prolonged periods of time. For example the working muscles while dancing in an evening performance. This also involves the lungs and respiratory system. The heart, lungs and blood vessels need to work efficiently to achieve a good aerobic capacity.
Of all the element of fitness, cardiovascular fitness is the most important to develop as it enhances all the other components of conditioning. See the additional article on cardiovascular endurance.
Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle or group of muscles to work for long periods of time without muscle fatigue. We need this to be able to work, rest and play in our modern day lifestlyes.
Strength is normally measured by the amount force the muscles can generate against a resistance. Holding or restraining an object or person, for example holding your own body weight in a press up. See the additional article on muscular strength.
Flexibility is the ability to achieve the range of motion within a joint that our soft tissues and joint structure will allow. Flexibility is an important part of fitness that you need to maintain, you lose flexibility as you grow older. Always remember to warm up. See the additional article for more on flexibility.
Skill Related Fitness
Each physical activity requires specific skills although these elements are required in everyday life they are essential for us to reach optimum performance. The term skill is referred to the ability to perform a technique in the correct way.
The components of skill related fitness are:
Co-ordination is the ability to use different senses and body parts together. We often need limb and body co-ordination or hand-eye co-ordination is needed in various activities.
Balance is the ability to control the body''s position while standing still or moving. We all have to balance when we are standing, sitting or walking. When you move from your centre of gravity (centre of mass), you keep yourself upright as you shift your body weight to prevent falling over.
Agility is the ability to change the direction of the body quickly. Many physical activities require good agility to perform a series of sudden movements in opposite directions sucah as, tennis, football or dance.
Speed is the ability to perform a movement or cover a distance in a short period of time sucah as sprinting and dance like break dancing.
Power is the ability to exert maximum muscular strength instantly in an explosive burst of movements. For example a dancer needs power in his/her legs to lift their body for explosive jumping.
The ability to perform a skill at the exact time it is needed. In dance the correct timing might be in time with the music or the correct timing needed in unison or partner work. Reaction time is the time it takes to respond to a stimulus. The stimulus could be another dancer running ready to be caught, or reaction to a sound or visual cue.
Other Aspects of Fitness
Body build will be a factor in your ability to engage in various physical activities.
The body build comprises of:
Body alignment refers to the correct balanced alignment of the postural muscles that maintain an upright posture. Good neutral alignment refers to the relative alignment of the body parts stacking one upon the other supported by the muscles that allows the joints to be free of excessive stress or strain. See Postural Alignment article for further information.
Body size refers to a person's height and weight. The ideal size is very subjective and depends on the activity you are engaged in. There are standard ideal weight charts based on an individual's height. These tables do not always help us because they do not allow for body composition. Being over the standard weight is not a problem provided it is extra muscle and not fat.
Body composition refers to the relative percentage of muscle, fat, bone and other body tissues of which the body is composed. Often body composition looks at a person's body fat percentage as it is important for your health to maintain a good body fat percentage.
It can be difficult to reach a good level of fitness if your body is underweight, you will be unable to store enough energy to keep you going. Being underweight can also mean that the body does not build muscle tone, and can cause joint injuries as fat pads cushion the joints.
In general the higher the percentage of body fat the poorer the performance as it can be difficult to reach a good level of fitness if you are carrying extra weight.
We all differ in shape and size, however the average acceptable body fat percentages are:
Male: 15% Female: 25% - Women naturally have more body fat than men to help their bodies during pregnancy.
Keeping body fat under control can be very difficult for a lot of people. The way to stay an appropriate weight is to keep a balance between energy we intake from food and the energy we burn through physical activity.
There are 3 extremes of body types:
A pear shaped body
A rounded head
Wide hips and shoulders
Less developed muscles
Higher % of body fat on the body
Athletic looking body
Harder, muscular appearance
Rectangular or hourglass shape
Wide broad shoulders
Muscular arms and legs
A minimum amount of fat
Narrow shoulders and hips
A narrow chest and abdomen
Thin arms and legs
Delicate or lightly muscled frame
Little body fat
All of us are made up of the three extreme body types so we are all a mix of Endomorph, Ectomorph and Mesomorph. It is important to remember we are all unique and there is no ideal but a mixture or all aspects of fitness, skill and mental, emotional and spiritual fitness and well-being.
Positive Mental Attitude
Another aspect of health-related fitness and skill-related fitness is positive attitude. A good mental attitude will help the body achieve high levels of fitness. If a person has decided that they are not skilful enough or not flexible enough or not strong enough or not fit enough, then they are going to have a difficult time working past these ingrained attitudes to achieve even basic fitness for health.
Being Your Best Visualisation
Being Your Best Visualization by Laura Stanyer
Be Fit for Activity
Ensure that you are fit enough to engage in physical activity. You should have a good level of health related fitness and your skill related fitness should be directly related and specific to the activity you participate in. Being fit for skiing is entirely different to the fitness required for dance so make sure you are aware of the skills and fitness required for your chosen activity.
Disclaimer: The information contained on this web page is intended as general guidance and information only. Laura stanyer accept no liability for any loss, injury or damage however incurred as a consequence, whether directly or indirectly, of the use this information. All advice on this web page should only be used under the supervision of a qualified dance / fitness / healthcare professional.