During a typically day, we Americans clearly spend far too much time watching TV, sitting behind a desk at work, driving everywhere and altogether living a sedentary lifestyle. It’s killing us! In fact, there is a direct correlation between watching the boob tube and obesity according to research.
Couch potatoes, young and old, far and near, it’s time to fight back and make your health and physical fitness a higher priority. The importance of physical fitness is clear. It’s definitely more valuable to your longevity and health than your favorite sitcom or reality series, right?
Ok, so what is physical fitness? What does that really mean? Let’s start by first defining it and then discuss what you need to work on specifically for better overall health and well being.
Physical Fitness Defined
There are a number of components to physical fitness. These things are either skill related components or health related. For most people, they will be looking at developing their health related components, unless they are training for a specific sport. For that reason and because it’s probably more relevant to you, we will focus on the health related components first.
The 5 Components of Physical Fitness for Better Health
1. Your Cardiovascular Endurance
If you are trying to develop overall fitness and health, you need to focus on cardiorespiratory endurance. This is the ability for your heart, lungs and blood vessels to transport oxygen and to remove the waste products from the muscle (or muscle groups) you are exercising.
2. Your Muscular Endurance
The next thing that you need to work on is your muscular endurance. This is defined as how well a muscle or muscle group is able to contract over a period of time.
3. Your Muscular Strength
Next is another component of overall health. It is muscular strength. What is this? Muscular strength is the maximum force that can be generated by a muscle.
4. Your Body Composition
The next thing that you need to work on is your body composition. This is something that almost everyone tries to target first. This is probably going to be a high priority and one of the major reasons for exercising. We all want to look better and vanity is a strong motivator.
5. Your Flexibility
The final component of health related physical fitness is flexibility. The level of flexibility is very important as it has an impact on many other factors associated with health. You see, it will prevent you from getting as many injuries when you train and also encourage additional strength (as you can exercise a wider range of motion in the muscle).
For those people interested in the skill related components of physical fitness, they include agility, balance, coordination, speed, power and reaction time.
Measure Your Progress
Truthfully, the great thing about the components of health is that they can be measured. This means you can keep a record of how you progress over time and measure your improvement in each aspect. Your goal should be to increase your level in each area. If you are able to do this, then your health will certainly improve. As you can probably see, there is certainly an overlap between many of the different fitness aspects, so once you start taking action on one aspect, you will be positively affecting a range of others.
In essence, there are a number of principles that you need to take into consideration when you are improving your physical fitness. It is not enough to just repeat the same routine each time you go to the gym. You need to take into account the overload principle. This principle states that you need to exercise at a higher level than you previously did, in order to increase your level of stamina, strength or other aspects of fitness.
You also need to think about the results that you are getting from a specific training program. You should try a certain training plan for a number of weeks and measure the changes. If you are not getting the desired improvements, then you need to make an adjustment with some part of the routine. This is definitely the best way to approach any type of fitness training. By doing so, each week you will have consistent and measurable progress and will experience firsthand the true benefits of physical fitness.
Need Help from Us?
We do not guarantee that you will lose 3 pounds daily. You already know that crash dieting does not work long-term. In fact, we do not recommend anything that has not been validated by research no matter how trendy it is. We are certified fitness trainers that design workout routines and nutrition programs based on people’s distinct needs and help them develop strategies for lifelong success.
Matthew Johnson (Google+) is a certified personal trainer, nutrition expert and an on-line fitness consultant that started ChangingShape.com back in 2001.