What is physical fitness? Physical fitness is a measure of the body’s ability to function effectively in daily activities, work, and sports. It is a person’s overall state of health and well-being. However, physical fitness can be difficult to achieve, especially with today’s modern and stressful lifestyles. Most people don’t get the chance to do enough exercise and be physically active. To help you get fit, we will discuss the various components of physical fitness
Components of Physical Fitness
Some people exercise only when they have time to spare. Others exercise without a specific fitness program in place. But to successfully achieve your fitness goals, you must first understand the components of physical fitness.
1. Cardiovascular Endurance
This involves proper functioning of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels. It is the ability of your body to deliver nutrients and oxygen to tissues and remove metabolic waste products. Physical activities intended for cardiorespiratory endurance focus on repetitive, prolonged, and dynamic movements using major muscle groups.
The most common tests used to assess cardiovascular endurance are the Cooper Run (running as far as possible within 12 minutes) and the Step Test (stepping up and down on a platform for 5 minutes). Some examples of cardiovascular exercise include jogging, running, cycling, hiking, and swimming.
2. Muscular Strength
Muscle strength is defined as the ability of the muscles to lift weight and carry heavy objects. Without muscular strength, the body would become weak and less capable of doing physical tasks.
Doing weight training exercises regularly can help increase muscle strength. The heavier the weight, the fewer the reps. Examples of exercises for muscular strength include squats, bicep curls, and bench presses.
3. Muscular Endurance
Muscular endurance is the ability of the body to do repeated exercises without getting tired. The muscles should be able to perform contractions for an extended period. If you can perform more repetitions of a strength training exercise without resting, then it can be said that you have good muscular endurance.
Rather than just lifting something for a few seconds, muscles are used for several minutes. To train for muscular endurance, perform many repetitions using lighter weights. Some exercises that you can do to develop muscle endurance include cross-training, sit-ups, push-ups, and pull-ups.
Flexibility is one of the important, yet overlooked aspects of physical fitness. It is the ability of the joints to move through their full range of motion. Without flexibility, muscles and joints will become stiff and movement would become limited.
Flexibility training allows you to move without pain or stiffness. Two ways to improve flexibility are dynamic stretching (holding a stretch for a few seconds and repeating it several times) and static stretching (holding a stretch for 30 to 60 seconds). Some flexibility exercises that you can do include yoga and Tai Chi.
5. Body Composition
Body composition is the ratio of fat to muscle. A person’s body type, height, and weight are taken into consideration. A person who is fit has minimal fat and maximum lean mass. To give you an idea, a 100-pound person with a 25% body fat composition will have a lean body mass of 75 pounds.
To qualify as fit, men should have a body fat composition lower than 17%. For women, it should be lower than 24%. Aside from exercising regularly, it’s also important to pay close attention to your diet.
Importance of Physical Fitness
One of the benefits of regular exercise is that it helps people maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight/obese is one of the risk factors for hypertension, high cholesterol, and metabolic syndrome. Cardio exercises are an excellent way to burn calories. The more intense the activity, the more calories you’ll burn. And more calorie burn will lead to fat loss, given the same amount of caloric intake. Devoting at least 30 minutes each day to exercise is a great way to jump-start your fitness routine.
Physical fitness reduces the risk of many chronic diseases. Being physically fit lowers the risk of type 2 diabetes, heart disease, and certain types of cancer. It also addresses another health risk. Leading a sedentary lifestyle increases belly fat. Too much abdominal fat increases the risk of heart disease and breast cancer. The good news is, exercise and proper eating can help people shed fat around their midsection.
Quality of Life
If these benefits are not enough to convince you to exercise, think of how physical fitness can improve your quality of life. Besides building build muscle mass, exercise also increases bone density. If you have a regular exercise routine, it will reduce the risk of developing osteoporosis when you get older.
By improving your physical fitness, you will develop strength and endurance that will help you do everyday tasks. A combination of cardiovascular exercises, muscle strength exercises, muscular endurance exercises, and flexibility exercises will help you attain your optimum body composition. When you’re physically fit, you look good. And when you look good, you’ll feel better about yourself.
Physical fitness is a requisite for an active and healthy lifestyle. When you’re physically fit, you will have a lower risk for ailments such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and obesity, among others. But the benefits of physical fitness don’t stop there.
Aside from boosting strength and endurance, it can also improve a person’s mental and emotional well-being. After knowing the various components of physical fitness, now is a good time as any to start exercising, be conscious of what you’re eating, and start living a healthy lifestyle.