5 Components of Physical Fitness
Physical fitness is an incredibly important facet of our daily lives. It helps drive us through our day and dictates our overall bill of health in the long run. Good physical fitness not only helps with our ability to carry out our daily tasks quickly, in high volume, and with less effort, but physical fitness also helps in our mental and emotional wellbeing as well.
A physically fit body improves your overall outlook in life, thanks to the excess amounts of energy, strength, and stamina stored in your body thanks to good physical fitness.
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Body composition
But, did you know that there are multiple components to physical fitness? That’s because physical fitness is overall, a very complex idea thanks to the different factors concerning your body, and how you use it. That’s why, in your journey in getting physically fit, one must understand all its aspects in attaining it.
Overall, there are five components of physical fitness, which have been standardized by health professionals, and are taught in both PE classes and workout routines in gyms all over the world. These components are fundamental to how the body works, and how to train it, so here are the five components of physical fitness:
- Cardiovascular endurance
Cardiovascular endurance basically means how well your heart and lungs work together to keep up with your body’s needs while exerting strenuous effort, like running. Have you ever felt short of breath after just running a relatively short distance? Then perhaps it’s time for you to start training up your cardiovascular endurance.
Good ways on how to train up your cardiovascular endurance is to go for walks regularly every morning. You don’t even need to jog! Just a simple, brisk walk over the course of a couple of kilometers is more than enough to get your heart pumping and your lungs breathing. And before you know it, those organs have been trained to go harder for longer. Bu then, you would start to notice that you could run for longer, and faster, without having to catch your breath. That’s because good cardiovascular endurance means that your blood’s oxygen levels remain at a high rate despite high activity thanks to the improved efficiency of your lungs, and your heart. At that point, you may graduate to more intense cardiovascular workouts like jogging, sprinting, cycling, and swimming.
Another important thing to note when it comes to cardiovascular endurance is proper breathing. Remember, the oxygenation of your blood starts with your breathing, so make sure that when you’re running, swimming, and the like, that your breathing is always up to snuff. Take deep breaths in through your nose, and quick breaths out through your mouth. Breathing exercises also help keep your lungs in good shape and improves their capacity, and also helps with your heart’s rhythmic beating.
- Muscular strength
Perhaps the component that most people would think of when they hear the words “physical fitness”, muscular strength, simply put, is the amount of force your muscle can produce. This means that muscular strength oversees how much weight you can pull, push, and lift.
It perhaps goes without saying that the primary training for muscular strength is weight training. However, be warned. Do not go overboard with the weights you try to carry at first. Weights that are too heavy for your body to handle are bound to injure you when you exert too much effort. Always start small, and work your way up as you get used to them. It is almost guaranteed that you’ll end up lifting the big weights in no time.
But it’s not just weight training that will help build your muscle strength. Another facet of muscular strength is the fact that when you work out, you are essentially damaging your muscles. This is basically why your body hurts after an intense round of muscular training. The muscles are torn in microscopic ways that would eventually repair and form tougher muscles. However, this can only be maximized if you eat the proper diet, and go through the proper sleeping schedule. A good, balanced diet rich in protein will help repair your muscles more effectively, and eight hours of bed rest are the highest points of activity for when your body goes into repair mode.
- Muscular endurance
While muscular strength can be defined with how much your body can lift, muscular endurance can be defined as how long your body can lift. It is often a pitfall among people who work out that they tend to go for bigger weights, but never seem to train to lift them for any longer than one rep. In the real world, you will be faced with situations where you not only need to lift a heavy load, you need to lift that heavy load for a long time. This may even spell the difference between life and death for either yourself or for someone you’re trying to help.
Weight training can also be applied in muscular endurance training, however, a good suggestion to help build endurance as well is that instead of quickly resetting to go for another rep, try to ease down the weight as slow as you can in order to feel the full effects of the weight for as long as possible. This may feel jarring and wholly uncomfortable at first, but the eventual benefits will pay dividends for you. Your body can do incredible things, and it’s a very fulfilling exercise to train your body to push the limits of its stamina. Doing so helps improve not only your endurance but your actual strength itself. Muscular endurance exercises are like killing two birds with one stone.
Flexibility is an often underrated component of physical fitness. Most people would only focus on muscles and cardio, without paying attention to their body’s flexibility. Flexibility is an incredibly important component of physical fitness because it practically dictates how well your body moves and adapts to all the other components of physical fitness. Without good flexibility, your body is at a much greater risk of injuring itself, especially the joints and ligaments, when working out, or when doing other daily strenuous activities, be it running, swimming, biking, or working out.
Before and after any workout, it’s important to do stretching first. This helps loosen your body’s joints and ligaments to make it more limber for the coming workout, or to relax them after a tense workout. More specific flexibility exercises include yoga and other stretching exercises such as the sit and reach. With flexibility, your body responds to other forms of training with less pain, thanks to the increased adaptability of your muscles, bones, joints, and ligaments.
A flexible body means a more adaptive body, meaning that a body with great flexibility training can also take to new exercises more quickly and efficiently. The body’s flexibility means that it can perform new tasks and exercises that an otherwise inflexible body would struggle with.
- Body composition
Body composition is perhaps the most scientific, and most difficult to understand component of physical fitness. Body composition is essentially the ratio between your body fat, and your lean muscle. Achieving good body composition is not only dependent on how you work out, but how you eat as well. Essentially, you’d want to avoid harmful trans-fat, and instead focus on eating a balanced, and protein-heavy diet, and to efficiently burn those calories through your workout to burn your body fat, and to build up lean muscle.
Body composition is perhaps the core component of physical fitness, due to it governing how nutritious your overall body is. Essentially, workouts from all of the other four components would be useless without your body composition is up to par. Without good body composition, you run the risk of having severe hormonal and nutritional imbalances or deficiencies, making your body actually perform worse by comparison. Another good method of keeping good body composition is to keep watch on your caloric intake and log all the kinds of food you eat so you may always have an idea of when to exercise and eat.
In conclusion, physical fitness is a marathon, and not a sprint. It takes hard work, dedication, and discipline to master all five components of physical fitness, and sometimes the task may seem daunting. But fret not, our bodies are hardwired to start craving exercise after the initial shock and hurdle of the pain from when you start, but once you cross that threshold, you’re home free when it comes to achieving your dreams of physical fitness.
But overall, pursue physical fitness because you want one thing and one thing only: self-improvement. It won’t do you any good if you pursue it merely for superficial, shallow purposes. Physical fitness is more than just looking good. It’s about improving your quality and outlook on life, and being the best version of yourself that you can be. The right mindset, with the right motivation, can eventually get you the right body, and all those three together would serve you nicely in your life.