Components of Fitness


Different people have different fitness goals. The goals could be as personal as taking on fitness to be able to run around after the kids, or for health reasons such as lowering one’s blood pressure. There are various components of fitness and 11 are recognizable. According to the two Canadian fitness certifying bodies Can-Fit-Pro and Human Kinetics, these components can be categorized as primary and secondary components. The term components of fitness is meant to define a group of functions that condition the body. How do different components define and influence your fitness?

Components of Physical Fitness

There are five primary components of physical fitness and they are considered essential in improving physical health. They ensure optimal performance of daily activities from doing laundry to running.

1. Cardiorespiratory Capacity

Cardiorespiratory capacity can be defined as the body’s ability to inhale oxygen, distribute it to the cells and effectively use it to create energy. This component is all about the health of the heart and improved cardiorespiratory function could reduce the risk of developing cardiovascular disease and resting heart. Its positive effects include improved endurance and respiratory capacity. These exercises basically increase the heart rate to help you conduct challenging tasks.

2. Strength

Muscle strength is essential in generating force. This is facilitated with heavy resistance training as well as challenging the muscles to pull, push and hold as much weight as they can. Muscular strength is required in activities such as weight lifting and sports like rugby and football where the players need to push against each other.

3. Endurance

When it comes to muscular endurance, we are looking at the ability to apply force on the muscles for a longer duration of time. Endurance is an important muscular function and this is because it enhances daily functions such as paddling a boat, walking, swimming and running as well. These are activities that repeated and the contractions require muscular endurance. In fitness, muscle endurance exercises are referred to as high rep, low weight training and these are performed with repetitive resistance training.

4. Flexibility

Flexibility is often underappreciated but it’s essential for your joint health. Flexibility means the range of motion your joint or your body is able to perform. Being more flexible means you are less likely to get injured when performing exercises. Stretching before and after workout is essential for safe exercise and improving your flexibility.

5. Body Composition

Body composition is the percentage of lean body mass. Your body mass consists of water, organs, blood, bone and muscle. Your body fat percentage should be in a healthy range as this could help reduce the risk of developing conditions such as heart diseases. If you have a lower percentage of body fat, chances are high that you have a healthy lean muscle mass amount. Good body composition works to help increase your metabolic rate.

Watch a video for explanation on the five components of physical fitness:

Motor Fitness—Skilled Related Components

Skill related components are also referred to as the secondary components of fitness. They focus on technical and tactical performance and activities. It doesn’t matter how physically fit one is, neglecting these secondary components could negatively affect ones physical abilities.

1. Balance

This is the ability to maintain a precise position. Good examples of balance include maintaining stability when performing gymnastic poses. Balance gives you control over your body and there are two types of balance namely dynamic and static.

2. Coordination

Coordination can be described as the ability to use all parts of the body cohesively to create a smooth and steady motion. Coordination creates movement with a purpose whereby the body utilizes its functions to achieve specific movement. For example, in ball games such as table tennis, hand-eye coordination is of essential importance.

3. Agility

Agility is the ability to stay under control while changing direction. Various sports require agility and these include tennis and rugby whereby the player has to constantly keep changing direction at good speed.

4. Reaction Time

This is the amount of time taken to react to stimuli. It helps to train yourself to have a better reaction time and you need to have a healthy brain for this. Your reaction is very important and contributes to your success in especially in sports where athletes need to be keen on sudden movements. A good example is in games such as football where the player must to react immediately to a pass. This could be easily identified with the amount of time it takes for an athlete to react to a throw or a gun shot in the starting line of a race.

5. Speed

There are different types of speed and this is can be defined as the amount of time required to perform certain activities. One could have leg speed such as Usain Bolt, hand speed which is evident in activities such as boxing or speed of thought with sports such as tennis. Speed is one of the most crucial fitness components, as it used in other components such as reaction time, agility and coordination.

6. Power

Power is a byproduct of speed and strength. We all need power to conduct our everyday duties and athletes in particular require a power filled training program so as to have an edge on various components in their sports. Short distance sprints, cycling uphill and other activities that require explosive acceleration are all exercises that increase power. These exercises provide a great way to get the muscles and heart in top shape.

In order to have great overall fitness, you need to train and this involves having equal training on the primary and secondary components of fitness. These components bring about all round physical, mental and emotional wellness as they uplift your moods.

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