What is physical fitness? Being in shape is essential for people of all ages, be it children, adolescents, adults, or even older adults. To be in condition, you need regular physical activity. This will help to promote good health and improve the quality of your life. So, if you are wondering what physical fitness is? You can perform daily life activities at optimal performance with strength and endurance.
A fit person can be able to respond to daily life situations effectively. For instance, they can do their daily chores efficiently. They can rake leaves, clean up, stock shelves, and even have the energy to take part in sporting activities.
What are the five components of physical fitness?
Physical fitness comprises five parts. These components contribute to health-related physical fitness as they minimize your chances of getting a chronic disease and help to promote your well-being and health. They also make it possible for you to function well in your day-to-day activities.
These components determine physical fitness:
- Muscular Endurance
- Muscular Strength
Morphology refers to the different tissues that make up your body composition. This includes muscle, bone, and organs. For example, body fat composition compared to lean muscle mass is often used to measure your body composition with your health.
You can consider yourself fit when:
- Men need to have a body fat composition of less than 17%
- Women need to have a body fat of less than 24%
The best way to test and measure body composition results is through underwater weighing (hydrostatic testing). However, few places offer these services because of the size and cost of equipment required to set this up. You can also ask a doctor or a personal trainer to measure your body fat percentage.
2. Muscular Endurance
This is the capacity to use your muscles for an extended period without getting fatigued and, for example, doing many pushups. Having muscular strength enables you to lift heavy stuff and hold it for a couple of minutes. In addition, with good muscular strength, your body will cope with the demands placed upon it.
To increase your muscular strength, train with light weights and do multiple reps. The heavier the weight, the fewer reps you should do. Doing many reps with lighter weights helps to prepare the muscle fibers responsible for muscular endurance. You can use the sit-up test to test muscular endurance and physical fitness.
3. Muscular Strength
This is the capacity of a muscle group to produce force in a single effort. We usually measure it based on the weight you can lift or the amount of resistance you can put up. Examples of exercises that require strength include weightlifting.
Keep in mind that you can have a set of powerful muscles, while another group of muscles can be comparatively weak. Therefore, following a well-balanced strength training program that targets all your muscle sets to ensure overall fitness in all your muscle groups.
The most commonly used test to determine your muscular strength is doing push-ups.
Many people overlook flexibility despite it being an essential component of physical fitness. Flexibility is the capacity to use your joints within a wide range of motion facing no pain or stiffness. You are flexible when your joints can freely move about adequately, and your muscles are long enough. Good examples of flexible people include gymnasts and dancers. Without flexibility, your joints will end up being stiff and limit your movements.
You can test your flexibility with the sit and reach test. First, sit on the floor, and then try to touch your toes. The closer you get to being able to touch your toes, the more flexible you are.
5. Cardiorespiratory Endurance
This is the ability to engage in exercise for a long duration of time without stopping. To do this, you need to have a strong heart, lungs, and healthy blood vessels to supply oxygen to your lungs. Your cardiovascular system (lungs, heart, and blood vessels) should be able to work for extended periods.
Examples of activities that require you to have strong cardiovascular endurance are running, skiing and swimming.
You can use the cooper run to test your cardiovascular endurance. Therefore, the cooper run is whereby you try to run as fast as possible in 12 minutes.
You can also use the step test to assess your cardiovascular endurance. This is where you step on a platform for 5 minutes. It will also give an accurate test of your endurance level.
Just because you are fit in one physical fitness area does not mean that you are fit in the other four areas. For example, a runner may run a long distance without getting tired quickly. But does that mean that she is fit in all five areas? For example, you may run for a long time, but can you bench press too? As the runner, you may be more fit in some aspects but not in all aspects. Therefore, as you go through the five fitness areas, ask yourself whether you are fit in that area.
Conclusion on physical fitness
To be healthy, you need to be fit in all the five areas discussed above. In addition, fit people are less likely to develop health problems caused by a lack of physical activity, such as heart issues, high body fat levels, high blood pressure, and colon cancer.
Therefore, when you start on a fitness program, ensure that the program focuses on improving your fitness in these five components. A workout program that ignores most of these five elements will not benefit your body in the long term.
You do not have to be an elite athlete to enjoy a high level of physical fitness. However, engaging in an activity regularly will help you stay in shape. When you are in condition, you will not only look better, but you will also feel more energetic, feel better and be able to accomplish much more.