How well your body can perform 4 of the 5 components of physical fitness can best demonstrate your overall physical fitness level.
-Many health centers, fitness groups, and even many school districts, use the components of physical fitness as a guide for fitness.
-They can be used quite effectively to show all their members just how fit they really are.
-The 5 components can also be used to show what specific forms of exercise might be done to improve muscle tone and definition.
-More importantly, certain forms of exercise can be of enormous value to the cardiovascular system, not to mention the additional benefit to any weight loss programs used.
-The last fitness component relates to body fat vs. muscle mass.
To find your body mass index, and to view many other health charts and tables, see our charts page.
Click play for a Video Presentation on the 5 Fitness Components.
The 5 Components of Physical Fitness
-It's pretty obvious to most of us that just being able to lift a huge amount of weight over your head, isn't necessarily a good indicator of someone's overall physical fitness.
-That's the basic concept of the 5 components of physical fitness, to gauge how well your body performs as a whole, under different conditions.
-Let's take a look at each fitness component individually:
#1 -Cardiovascular Endurance -Out of all the fitness components, this is definitely the most important. This is your heart and lungs, and how efficiently they work together to provide your body with the necessary oxygen, over a sustained period of time.
-Heart health and a healthy cardiovascular system are a must.
Bicycling, swimming, aerobic dancing, anything that gets your heart and lungs pumping for a certain amount of time are good examples of this.
-The Cooper 12 minute test run is often used to test cardiovascular endurance. The person runs as far as possible, at a rate as steady as possible, and the distance run is measured.
The distance is then read from a table to determine their fitness level.
#2 -Muscular Endurance -is the ability of your muscles to perform a certain exercise (using minimal weight) over a set amount of time without tiring out, and one of the five essential fitness components.
Good examples of this would be deep knee bends, lunges, and squats. A very common exercise that is often used in testing this is sit-ups.
The person does as many as possible over a set amount of time.
#3-Muscular Strength -is one of the main components of physical fitness, and not to be confused with the previous endurance component. This is the ability of your muscles to lift a moderate amount of weight for your body size, with a certain amount of control.
Various forms of weightlifting are obvious examples of this, although the everyday push-up is the most common test for muscular strength.
#4 -Flexibility -is another of the key fitness components. The ability of your body's various joints to move through a wide range of motions, while your muscles can stretch and lengthen, then relax through a full range of movements.
Stretching to touch your toes and Yoga are good examples. This is very important for preventing stiffness and balancing the muscle groups of a particular joint. It can also help increase the range of movement to prevent an injury, or in the rehabilitation of a joint, after an injury.
#5 -Body Composition -Last, but certainly not the least important of the 5 components of physical fitness, body composition concerns the amount of stored body fat vs. organs, water, bone mass and lean muscle in the body. A healthy eating plan may be in order.
There are numerous methods of measuring body fat, such as; Bioelectrical impedance, Skinfold and caliper, and Underwater weighing. Some of these can be done at your fitness center or gym.
Although not an exact measurement of body fat, Bmi measurement is very commonly used to estimate body fat in relation to a person's height and weight taken together.
-What's the big deal with the 5 components of physical fitness, and what does it all mean?
-They simply give you a good idea of how physically fit and healthy your body is, as a whole.
What can I do about each one?
-First off, check your BMI, if you've found that you do have a high body fat content, through testing or using the BMI chart, you definitely need to add a healthy eating plan to any fitness schedule you do decide on.
A high body fat is related to many diseases such as: Heart disease and Stroke, Diabetes, many Cancers and even Osteoarthritis.
-If Flexibility is the fitness component you lack, you'll probably experience more day-to-day aches and pains, backaches etc. You're also more likely to get an injury in the first place.
You might be quite surprised at just how good it feels, to include stretching exercises and yoga into your daily exercise routine.
-You may also find that those minor aches and pains, not to mention the pulled muscles -occur much less frequently as well!
-Muscle Strength is one of the components of fitness that you need in your daily life for lifting and working around the home. Strong muscles lessen the risk of back and other injury.
Weight lifting with emphasis on the amount of weight, and general strength training will be beneficial to increase muscle strength.
-If you tire early and often during the day or during sporting activities, Muscular Endurance is the fitness component you need to work on.
Weight lifting, stressing the repetitions rather than the amount of weight, will help here.
What's The Most Important Component of Physical Fitness?
Again, of the 5 components, Cardiovascular Endurance is the one we all strive for the most. It is the one fitness component that has the greatest effect on our overall health.
-Your heart and lungs are obviously very important, and if there's a problem you can definitely feel it .... don't wait until there is!
Knowing your resting heart rate average can tell you a lot about your overall cardiovascular fitness. (and perhaps give you a goal)
-Starting a treadmill running program, jogging or chi walking for longer distances will all help with this. Swimming and bike riding are good as well, but should also be of longer duration if possible ...but start out slow.
Starting out at shorter distances and increasing the distance a bit at a time is the best way to go about it. (As always, talk to your doctor first)
-Of course, any kind of aerobic exercise can work wonders for your health, and 15 minute intervals can be a good starting point.
Check out our chart for calories burned (in 15 min) doing various activities.
-Working on the cardiovascular component of fitness has the added benefit of helping all the other components in the process.
It can be very dangerous for someone who is not in good physical shape and exercises very little, to participate in fitness training and testing out of the blue.
Starting Out Slow is Critical!
-If you do plan on starting a physical fitness program (and we all know we should)
-It's very important to include all 5 of the components of physical fitness ....for the best overall fitness, and these added benefits.
-It also makes your workout less tedious and a lot more productive!
The Importance of overall fitness has certainly never been in doubt.
Which of the 5 components of physical fitness need help in your body?
It may just give you a clearer picture as to what you can do
... for a healthier, and happier you!
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