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Definition, history and health benefits

What is fitness: definition, history and health benefits

The fitness (W), in biology, defines the reproductived success of an individual or a certain genotype compares to the others. Charles Darwin (1859) in his evolutionary theory speaks about adaptability (Darwinian or relative fitness) as a consequence of the relationship between the genotype of an organism and the environment in which he lives. Today, it is known that the same genotype will have different fitness in different environments and the success of a biological organism also depends on the environment in which it lives. The term fitness derives from the English adjective “fit” (suitable) and it is translated in Italian with the words “idoneita, capacita, preparazione fisica e stato di forma fisica” (fitness, skills, physical training and state of fitness).

It can’t be confused with the biological processes of adaptation. In the last two decades the term has been used increasingly to define the state of complete physical or fitness of the individual. In sports fitness may be interpreted as: Specific fitness, it means the ability to perform a particular task motor, whatever the state of fitness of the subject; General fitness, when it is identified with the general state of health, fitness and wellness of the body. The rapid socio-economic, demographic mutations, the need to benefit from the natural dimension has led to a diversification of the application of sport that today it presents itself with different objectives and with the research of different forms of satisfaction. Thus decreasing the demand of organizes sport, competitive racing and it increases that of individualized physical activities, aimed at achieving objectives other than the result of performance, such as inner balance or psycho-physical well-being.

The phenomenon of fitness, however, is a very complex reality. Indeed, with the term fitness is possible to identify a range of activities that are conducted every day in fitness centres and we can regroup them into: activities of  “tools room” cardio and muscle toning; activities to free body “hand to hand” free music and choreography (step, aerobics, funky and all their variations); indoor cycling activities; activities to free the body with or without music but without choreography (TBW, GAG). The scope of action of the operators of fitness is so very huge and diversified. Their skills, as well as the types of activities, are numerous and very important in their action range: the welfare of the adult population and elderly. There is the presence on the territory of several figures who, for various reasons, operate in the area of taking care of disciplines whom we have spoken above. But is it impossible to quantify the number of these operators? According to the European Commission, has been estimated at about 700,000 subjects, which should be total number of players between coaches and instructors operating within the European Union. The same authors of the report admit that the sum is testified downer because of the difficulty of an objective setting of professions that it is often beyond the control and classification. We estimate according to mathematical calculations performed by us, based on the data of the EU, that in Italy there are from 35,000 to 50,000 workers in the field of fitness. Since today we have not found scientific evidences on this subject.


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