Essential Fitness Components

Fitness is a state of good health and well being and, more importantly, the ability to do basic tasks, activities and sports well. Many people define it as being fit and healthy. However, the extent to which it can be improved is limited by the individual’s lifestyle, environment, and genetics. A good fitness regime will help maintain an individual’s health, reduce medical costs and increase quality of life. However, physical fitness should not be considered a goal in and of itself but rather an integrated part of an overall lifestyle management plan, one that encompasses all facets of fitness and nutrition.

One way to improve fitness level is through physical activities. It can be as simple as brisk walking around the neighbourhood or taking a morning walk for a pleasant change of pace to something more vigorous like jogging or cycling. However, physical activities are not enough if the individual needs to improve his or her nutritional status. Regular physical activities are helpful in reducing stress and anxiety, creating a feeling of well being, as well as promoting proper digestion. However, these activities are only a small component of a comprehensive fitness program.

Physical activity also requires the commitment of both mind and body. It is much easier to sustain interest in a physical activity if you are mentally involved in it. Engaging your mind in mentally stimulating and physically active activities such as crossword puzzles, playing games like card games, puzzles, brain teasing, or even puzzles can significantly improve mental fitness. Similarly, physically active activities require the body to exert effort and burn calories. Walking, jogging, cycling, swimming, or doing aerobics can significantly improve cardiovascular fitness. Even a gentle, slow stroll through a park or a leisurely bike ride around the city can burn off calories and improve one’s general wellbeing.

The combination of these two components, meaning mental and physical activity, makes aerobic exercise the ideal form of fitness program. Aerobic exercises, in combination with stretching and strength training, make the body stronger and more flexible. This helps reduce the risks of injury and increase the body’s endurance. Through a combination of this form of activity and a quality fitness routine, physical fitness can be maintained throughout one’s life. A fitness program should include activities that target all the major muscle groups as well as cardiovascular activity to maximize its benefits.

Strength training is another key component of a complete physical activity and a good way to achieve aerobic fitness goals. Stretching exercises improve flexibility, while aerobics improve both cardiovascular and respiratory fitness. Aerobic training and strength training are the most effective methods for obtaining lean muscle mass and maintaining a healthy body weight. Lean muscle mass is essential for maintaining optimal bone and joint health.

Aerobic endurance is the ability to repeatedly lift a specific amount of weight over a period of time as determined by the fitness goal. Aerobic endurance tests can be used to compare the strength and stamina between people. An example of an aerobic endurance test would be the maximum number of repetitions you can complete in one minute. The test is scored on how long it takes you to complete the maximum number of repetitions.

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