Good and perfect health is generally termed as fitness. But this is only physical in nature. Human personality is not only comprising physique but also includes psychic, physiological, social and spiritual parameters as well. When we talk of total fitness, we talk of the fitness which comprises a total sum of psycho-physical, psycho-social and spiritual health of a person at a given time. As far as physical Fitness is concerned it is a total sum of five elements which relate to human locomotion namely – speed, strength, endurance, flexibility and co-ordination abilities. Fitness also includes correct structural body posture free from all deformities. Fitness level keeps changing from time to time. Fitness can be improved by training but at the same time needs continued training for maintenance. Fitness is cent percent trainable even postural deformities can be corrected by training.
Physical Fitness: If an agreeable definition is given to the term physical Fitness then it can easily be defined as, “Total Sum of five abilities of human locomotion or movement”. But above definition is suitable for man made robots and other moving objects as well. More over human beings are not merely moving machines. Even without moving also they perform lot many functions. They serve the society in many other ways. Without mental abilities movement or locomotion is of no use. This way the term, physical fitness does not satisfy the whole sphere of fitness.
Physiological Fitness: Physiology is a branch of science which deals with the bodily function of living organisms. Bodily functions not only help in physical growth but also help in thought process, help the body to adapt itself in its surrounding environment, help the body to evolve from animal hood to Godhood and so on. If we define the fitness on the basis of physiological health, it will also be misappropriate Physiological Fitness is the sum total of all functions of various system in a human body. If all the systems inside the human body function properly but do not co-ordinate with each other than it gives rise to many problems. Physiological health does not guarantee the postural balance of a human body. So defining fitness merely on physiological lines may not be appropriate.
Psychological Fitness: As far as psychological fitness is concerned, it in a sum total of all the abilities to tackle and react on any given situation at a given time and all thought processes in a human body. This aspect of fitness is also incomplete as it leaves room for deformity and physical efficiency. Mentally a person may be very active and sound but may suffer from postural deformities and physical problems though may be very useful to the mankind as in the case of Stephen Hawking who suffers from ALS, a motor neuron disease which confines him to a wheel chair but his mind takes off into the vastness of space and explores the secrets of the universe in theoretical physics. His psychological fitness is beneficial for the mankind but can not be termed as fitness. So it can be concluded that psychological fitness is a prerequisite for total fitness but with in itself it in incomplete.
Social Fitness: This is a very sensitive term and many persons may not agree to count it in the sphere of fitness but it is very much needed in the society. If a healthy person is not adaptable in the society then his abilities are of no use. Basically man is a social animal. One’s personality is the mirror of society in which one lives. All the facets of personality depend on social set up. One’s health is not exception to this. A Psycho-Somatically sound person if not adaptable in society will be termed as an unfit person. So fitness also includes this faculty of fitness within it.
Spiritual Fitness: Spiritual fitness is not exactly religious fitness but it is a quality of character. Health without character is of no use. It is a matter of ethics. Human races are known with their ethics. A well built body which posses a very sound mind supported by well co-coordinated physiological machinery will be an animal in the form of human without character. So as far as total fitness is concerned spiritual fitness is a part and parcel of it.
Considering the all above facts, it can be concluded that fitness is a total sum of physical, physiological, psychological, social and spiritual health of a person which is trainable up to a great extent and can be improved progressively with continued training. Body consciousness is totally absent in a fit person.
Concept of fitness differs from person to person. Sexual and biological differences play an important role in it. It keeps changing along with the time but parameters remain the same. In the village folk a tall and bulky body is considered as fittest on the other hand urban population approach scientifically and consider the proportionate body mass fittest. Some are of the view, that a lean and thin person is fit. Most of the persons take only one parameter of fitness i.e. physical, when think of fitness. Different people have different criteria for fitness. Modern youth emphasis on musculature and six pack abdomen. Doctor all around the world term the disease free human body as fitness in which general parameters of motor movement can be achieved. Coaches all over the world try to break all human barriers of motor performance through fitness. Concept of fitness keeps changing with the passage of time. In modern times only one aspect or parameter is taken into account for deciding fitness and that is of physical one. Though physique is the axis around which other fitness parameters revolve. Motor movements are set to be the scales of fitness measurement but in real, physical fitness alone is not complete within itself.
When fitness is discussed, it is mostly general fitness level of a person which is a common state of doing normal day to day tasks easily without any special or extra ordinary effort. But in some cases extraordinary efforts or amplitude is required to carry out a task for which general fitness is not sufficient and needs specific fitness. Specific fitness is always a super form of general fitness. But both general as well as specific fitness need all the five elements of fitness. General fitness is easy to improve and maintain but specific fitness needs specific training for improvement and maintenance. All sports and games need specific fitness. General fitness forms the base for specific fitness. General and specific fitness are interrelated to each other.
Generally fitness is viewed as the absence of diseases from the body and ability to perform day to day activities in order to survive. View point of fitness keeps changing from time to time and society to society. In ancient times ability to hunt was the parameter of fitness which was later changed. In modern world fitness is viewed from various angles. All the facilities of human body are included in fitness, in rural areas a bulky muscular body is considered as the fittest body and weight shedding is said to be deterioration of fitness. On the other hand urban people prefer to weight shedding. Lean and thin active body according to them is the fit body. Over weight is contrary to fitness. Many diseases enter the obese body. For this reason many people hurriedly try to loose weight without considering the consequences of its ill effects. Some go for dieting, some take drugs and some follow high protein diet so that excess weight can be shaded. But all the above measures are not full proof. High protein diet puts excess load on the excretory system as protein does not store inside the human body for future use. Excess burden on excretory system compels the heart to pump more blood to the excretory system. But priority of heart always remains to cater the needs of locomotion. Excess burden on excretory system deteriorate the organs of this system.
Fitness is totally dependent on life style and the given environment of a person. Life style and environment sometimes affect the fitness negatively. To overcome those negative effects some corrective measures are taken. Those corrective measures form the basis for exercises and physiotherapy. Exercise is just nothing but the degree of difficulty in motor movements performed willingly. It may be assisted by men or machines or may be solo. So that disease can be prevented, injuries can be minimized and deformities can be corrected. On the other hand physiotherapy is the treatment of diseases, injuries and deformities by assisted excises which may be physical or psychological in nature and may include various motor movements, massage. I.R. Rays, Colours, waters & other remedies etc. rather than by drugs and surgeries. Physiotherapy is a combination of two separate words, physio and therapy. Physio means related to physique or physical where as therapy means the treatment or healing process. This way physiotherapy means the treatment of physique by physical means.