While the definition of physical fitness may be a little complex or unclear and the definition of physical fitness may vary, most government health authorities and training scientists agree that there are 5 components of physical fitness related to health. These components give a fairly accurate idea of how fit and healthy the body as a whole is (total fitness or total fitness). The 5 components are cardiovascular fitness (also known as cardiovascular endurance), muscle strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition.
Let us look at these components in detail.
1.) Cardiovascular fitness (or cardiovascular endurance or cardiovascular endurance)
Of the 5 components, cardiovascular fitness is the cornerstone that creates the path to improving your other fitness levels.
Cardiovascular fitness is theaq efficiency with which the body (heart and lungs) delivers oxygen and nutrients to the required working muscles and transports waste products out of the cells over an extended period of time. In other words, it is the ability of the heart and lungs to work together to provide the necessary oxygen and fuel for the body without quickly reaching high levels of fatigue.
In our daily lives we need cardiovascular fitness to cope with the physical tasks and all the “running around”.
A common test of cardiovascular fitness usually involves a kind of endurance run. But typical examples of physical activities related to cardiovascular fitness are jogging, swimming, cycling, walking fast or fast and any type of aerobic exercise. Aerobic exercise is the best way to improve cardiovascular fitness.
2.) Muscle strength
Muscle strength is the maximum force (weight or heavy resistance) that a muscle or muscle group can produce with a single effort, up to the point where no more repetitions can be performed without rest. Muscular strength is exactly the opposite of cardiovascular fitness in terms of the fact that cardiovascular fitness is measured over a period of time. On the other hand, muscle strength is measured in a repetition.
In our daily lives, we need a modest amount of strength to be able to perform daily physical tasks such as lifting, moving, carrying, etc.
A common test for measuring upper body strength is a type of weight lifting, such as the bench press. Anaerobic weight lifting exercises such as the bench press, leg press, shoulder press or biceps curls are examples of the best ways to improve muscular strength.
3.) Muscle endurance
Muscle endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements (or holding a certain position) with less than maximum force over a longer period of time or until muscle fatigue. Or, to put it simply, it is how long your muscles can do something before they are too exhausted to finish it.
Be careful not to confuse muscular endurance with muscle strength. Although they can work together, they are definitely not the same. For many athletes, it may be necessary to distinguish between muscle strength and muscle endurance. But for everyday people who want to manage their daily lives easily, stay healthy and fit and simply want to play physical activities such as hiking, cycling or just playing with their kids in the park, muscular endurance plays a big role in fitness.
Frequent tests of muscular endurance can be dynamic (the ability to repeat contractions) or static (the ability to maintain contraction). Dynamic tests would be to see how many push-ups or sit-ups a person can perform in a given period of time (e.g. 30 seconds, one minute or perhaps longer). Or, without being timed, the person could do as many repetitions of the exercise as they could until they couldn’t do it anymore. An example of a static test would be the flexed arm, where the performer hangs on a pole until the intended follow-up time is reached or until he becomes too weak to hang further.
Muscular endurance can be improved by both aerobic and anaerobic exercises. Some examples are cycling, stepping machines and elliptical machines.
Flexibility is the ability to move the joints or any group of joints, muscles, ligaments and tendons through their full, normal range of motion without disability, discomfort or pain.