What is fitness? Is it being slim or muscular? Is it successfully completing a marathon or being skilled at field sports? One thing is clear – fitness has got nothing to do with being slim. It has more to do with your muscle strength, power, endurance, and your willpower. A fit body has a defined shape, good posture and metabolism, high agility, quick reaction time, and strong stamina. The five components of fitness give you a realistic picture of how fit you are. So, let’s get started and find out ways you can tell if you are really fit. Swipe up!
What Is Fitness?
Fitness is your body’s ability to function properly during activity and leisure times, being able to protect the body from diseases caused due to leading a sedentary life, and to be able to meet the physical and functional requirements during emergency situations.
Your fitness can be divided into two concepts:
- General Fitness – state of physical and mental health and well-being
- Specific Fitness – specific task or sport oriented fitness
For non-athletes, the five components of fitness are the best ways to determine your fitness. Scroll down to know what they are.
5 Components Of Fitness
For the general population, being healthy and fit is the main target. And health-related fitness aims at improving the overall well-being and functioning of the body. Here are the 5 components of fitness and how to measure them.
1. Body Composition
Body composition measurement helps you understand how much fat and muscle mass are present in your body. Your height, age, weight, bone structure, and the ratio of fat and lean muscle are all considered to find out your body composition. If you workout at a gym, I am sure your trainer must have asked you to get a body composition analysis (BCA) done so that depending on your goals (weight loss or muscle gain), he/she can help you reach your target. Here’s how body composition is analyzed.
How To Measure Body Composition
You can get your body composition measured professionally at the gym using calipers or a bioelectrical impedance machine. You can also use DEXA or hydrostatic weighing machine. All you have to do is follow the instructions of the technician, and a printed report will be generated and handed out to you.
Do This To Improve Body Composition
If you want to lose weight, your first goal should be losing the extra flab. Do cardio three days a week for one hour each day. Avoid sugar and unhealthy foods. Start strength training from Week 3, two days a week, one hour per day. This will help you build lean muscle mass and look toned.
To gain weight, you must strength train to build lean muscle mass, eat healthy (protein, healthy fats, healthy carbs), sleep better, and take less stress.
Flexibility is the measure of the ability of your bones to move to their full range of motion. Since most of us lead a sedentary life, the joints become immobile and lose their flexibility. As a result, you feel a sharp pain and tightness in your joints when you are asked to move your body parts to do certain movements. But being flexible will help you prevent joint injuries.
How To Measure Flexibility
In the lab, flexibility is measured using a flexometer or goniometer, and in the field, it is measured using a zipper or sit and reach tests.
Do This To Improve Flexibility
Regular exercise, stretching, and yoga are great for increasing flexibility. If your joints are weak, wear joint support. Start slow, but be persistent.
3. Cardiovascular Fitness
Cardiovascular fitness determines if your heart and lungs are working in coordination. Your body’s ability to deliver oxygen to all the cells and then flushing out the toxins and being able to continue being on a cardio workout without feeling tired and fatigued soon will determine your cardiovascular fitness.
How To Measure Cardiovascular Fitness
In the gym or the lab, your cardiovascular fitness will be measured by calculating your VO2 max. You will be asked to run a 12-minute run, walk a mile, do other treadmill and bicycle tests, etc.
Do This To Improve Cardiovascular Fitness
You have to include cardio in your workout regimen. Start by walking and then increasing the pace of your walk and the distance. Move on to jogging, running, and sprinting. You must also play a field sport that includes body part movements and coordination of the brain and the body.
4. Muscle Strength
Muscle strength is the ability of your muscles to lift weight and exert a force against a resistance. For example, when you lift weights or a heavy box or a child, your muscles have to act against the gravitational pull to be able to lift the weight. The muscles have to contract and relax to complete the range of motion. Unless your muscles are strong and flexible, you will not be able to lift, push, and pull anything. Now, there are three classes of muscle strength:
Elastic strength – The ability of the muscle to overcome resistance force by contracting quickly.
Maximum strength – The greatest force possible in a single maximum contraction.
Strength endurance – The ability to do the same contraction multiple times.
How To Measure Muscle Strength
The 1RM test is conducted in the lab on resistance machines to measure muscle strength. Dynamometers also can be used. Isometric and isotonic contractions also give information about muscle strength.
Do This To Improve Muscle Strength
Include strength training in your workout. Lifting weights on a regular basis or even doing bodyweight training will help improve your muscle strength.
5. Muscle Endurance
Muscle endurance is the measure of the ability of the muscles to perform the same task again and again without getting tired soon. For example, running a marathon is a typical example of muscle endurance power. It also shows how effectively your heart and lung muscles are working to keep your cells oxygenated and prevent fatigue.
How To Measure Muscle Endurance
In the lab and the field, muscle endurance is measured by counting the number of repetitions for an extended period. Running, jogging, and cross training are common ways to assess muscle endurance.
Do This To Improve Muscle Endurance
Practice your run/jog/planks/push-ups/bicep curls. Do a mixed workout 4-5 days a week. Eat healthily and set new targets for every week. Increase the sets and reps of your exercise over a period.
These are the 5 components of fitness. But if you are an athlete, you have to step up your game. Here are a few extra components of fitness that you should take care of.
Other Components Of Fitness For Athletes
- Reaction time
You cannot achieve fitness overnight. You have to work at it consistently to achieve a fitness level and maintain it. Eating healthily, taking rest, and not giving up on your workout routine are the keys to being fit. Also, do a mixed workout – strength training, cardio, a sport, dance, yoga, etc. This will help train your muscles better than just doing one type of workout. Most importantly, do not judge fitness depending on how you (or anyone else) look(s) and take care of your mental fitness as well. Take care!