Physical fitness plays a significant role when it comes to our overall health. Regular physical activity reduces your risk of cardiovascular disease and Type II diabetes. According to CDC (Center for Disease Control and Prevention), health-related fitness components enhance your bone and mental stability as well as improving your quality of life as you age. These are only a few of the many benefits you get when you carry out regular exercises to remain fit.
Total fitness is defined by the level at which the body performs each of these components as a whole. Bench pressing your body weight may not be enough if you want to keep fit. You may also need to determine how well you can sustain running a mile beside other health-related activities. This article gives a complete guide on the major components of health-related fitness and how you can improve your own level of fitness by setting achievable goals.
Five Health-Related Fitness Components
The fitness components are often used in fitness centers, health clubs, and school systems to gauge how well your body can handle a certain level of resistance. There are five components of health-related fitness:-
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Body Composition
Understanding Health-Related Components of Fitness On a Deeper Level
Staying healthy can be fun and challenging. Physical fitness can be described as the condition that helps you look, feel and do your best. It can be categorized into health-related or skill related components of fitness. This guide helps you learn about health-related components of fitness and how you can improve them to stay healthy, have fun, and live longer.
1. Cardiovascular Endurance
Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of your blood vessels, lungs, heart and blood to deliver oxygen and essential nutrients to all body cells when you are physically active. The time, intensity, type and frequency at which oxygen and other nutrients are pumped to your body cells may vary depending on the goals of an individual. It is one of the most essential health-related fitness components that enhance cellular metabolism and increases the uptake of oxygen to your body’s systems.
The most crucial part of cardiovascular endurance is that it eases the physical challenges of everyday life. It would be wise to start a workout program that would enhance your cardiovascular fitness. It offers many health benefits as you engage in regular exercises that challenge the performance of your heart and lungs.
Strategies To Improve Cardiovascular Endurance
If you want to change your cardiovascular endurance, try performing activities that elevate your heart rate for a sustained length of time. Consistency is always the key if you want to achieve the best results. Some strategies to improve cardiovascular endurance include:
- Performing Aerobic Exercises
Aerobic exercises involve activities that use larger muscle groups and get your heart rate up. Some of these exercises include running, swimming, bicycling, jogging or boxing. Your breathing normally increases filling your lungs with oxygen as your heart rate climbs. It gets diffused into the blood before it goes straight to your heart. The heart responds by sending blood carrying oxygen and essential nutrients throughout the body. The oxygen inside your muscles burns carbohydrates and fat for fuel. The more fuel used by the muscles, the more fit you become and this increases your duration of exercise.
- Performing Anaerobic Exercises
These exercises last for a short period and often involve activities of high intensity. At this point, your body’s demand for oxygen will exceed the available oxygen supply. They are quite different from the anaerobic exercises as they rely on the sources of energy stored in muscles rather than depending on taking in oxygen from air. Some of these exercises include jumping ropes, isometrics, interval training, and hill climbing.
Frequency, Time and Intensity of Cardiovascular Endurance
The physical activity guidelines call for at least 75 minutes of vigorous exercise, or at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise every week. This breaks down to duration of 15 to 30 minutes of exercise per day done five days a week. This will also depend on how hard you will push yourself through the workouts. Other types of continuous activities such as the 12-minute runs, step-test, and cycling are used to assess cardiovascular fitness.
2. Muscular Strength
Muscular Strength is the amount of force that can be applied by a muscle in a given contraction. If you want to make your muscles stronger, the key is working them against resistance i.e. from weights or gravity. It is among the health-related fitness components that are group-specific, which refers to the amount of force that can be produced by a particular group of muscles in one, all-out effort.
A person may have very strong pectoral muscles or glutes but comparatively weak hamstrings or deltoids. It is important to have well-balanced strength training as it targets all your major group of muscles. Since your focus is on health-related fitness components, you should be strong enough to easily stand up from a chair or lift a heavy box. Enhanced muscular strength is always a byproduct of a routine workout that tends to focus more on developing muscular endurance.
It is essential to select a set and rep scheme that suits your desired goals. If your goal is to get stronger, then you need to lift heavier weights while using each set to take your muscles to fatigue. This involves performing sets that have fewer total repetitions. If your goal is to improve muscular endurance, then the most efficient route will be lifting lighter weights and performing higher reps.
Strategies To Improve Muscular Strength
Muscular strength is achieved when you carry more weight and perform fewer reps. If you want to gain muscle strength, try out resistance exercises or weight lifting. Before you begin a strength training program, it is important to ask a professional for help. Some of the strategies to improve muscular strength include:
- Power Jumps and Throws
It is an exercise that requires an all-out effort of the arm muscles. You can practice jumps and throws in sets of 2 to 3 repetitions while having a rest between the sets.
- Loading the Muscles
You can increase power in your muscles by performing a very fast movement against a load. The load is provided by the weight of the body. If you want to measure your progress, you can count the number of repetitions you can complete in 30 seconds.
- Circuit Training Routines
It makes your exercise program more efficient as it combines cardio and strength exercises into a single bout of training. This can be done independent of, or in conjunction with cardiovascular training.
Frequency, time and intensity of Muscular Strength Fitness
These exercises can be done 2 to 3 times a week. Choose a weight you can safely lift 8 to 12 times for general strengthening. The sets and reps are always determined depending on the goals of an individual. Duration of 30 to 60 minutes should be enough. Remember to give a rest period of at least 24 to 48 hours to the worked muscles.
3. Muscular Endurance
This is the ability of muscles to contract over a certain period of time. Muscular endurance complements any activity that requires the use of physical strength. It is an important factor to consider when it comes to health-related fitness components as it contributes to overall muscular health. You can think of muscular endurance as the ability of a particular group of muscles to continuously contract against a given resistance.
Just like other components of fitness we have discussed in this guide, muscular endurance is specific to a particular muscle group. This means that some of your muscle groups can develop high levels of endurance without developing a similar level of endurance in other muscle groups. Likewise, your health or fitness goals are directly related to the extent to which you choose to focus on muscular endurance.
For example, you may want to develop enough endurance to lift and carry groceries from your vehicle to the house or climb up several flights of stairs for health reasons. However, if you want to become an endurance athlete, you may want to put more focus on training regimens that use sport-specific activity and high-repetition strength training to make you a better athlete. Speed cycling and obstacle course races are some of the sports that require continual muscle contraction.
Strategies To Improve Muscle Endurance
If you want to achieve a greater muscular endurance, you will require more reps and less weight. It is quite the opposite of muscular strength as it requires fewer reps and more weight. Some of the strategies you can implement to improve muscle endurance include:
- Holding a plank
This allows you to develop your core strength. You achieve a greater endurance through your shoulders, abdominals, and hips the longer you are able to hold your body in a steady position and contract your muscles.
- Long-distance cycling
Cyclists have to develop muscles that are fatigue-resistant when pedaling a bike continuously over a long distance. This usually happens on steep inclines causing a particular muscle group to contract against the given resistance. The fatigue-resistant muscles of long-distance cyclists are good examples of a high level of muscular resistance.
- Add explosive movements to your workouts
Explosive movements often take a greater amount of energy to simultaneously challenge your strength, stamina, and endurance. After consistent workouts, you will realize that you are actually moving much faster than a beginner. You can also add other exercises like box jumps, power push-ups and jumping knee tucks to your workout routine.
Frequency, time and intensity of Muscular Endurance Fitness
These exercises should be performed at least 2 to 3 times a week. Your goals and endurance against resistance workouts will determine the number of reps and sets you can make. This can be done in duration of 30 to 60 minutes a day. It is important to give a rest period of at least 24 to 48 hours for the worked muscle. The exercises of muscular endurance focus more on the number of reps rather than lifting weights.
Flexibility is defined as the ability of the joints to move smoothly through their full range of motion. It is joint-specific just like muscular strength and endurance fitness components. For example, you may have flexible shoulders but tight and inflexible hips or hamstrings. Flexibility is one of the health-related components of fitness that play a significant role in the unhindered movement as it can affect your agility, balance, and coordination.
You can enhance your athletic performance and reduce the likelihood of injury by maintaining a full range of motion using your major joints. The importance of flexibility becomes clearer the more you age. Think of the individuals who are considered by the society as elderly or senior citizens. They always have a hard time reaching their aims over their heads and they often walk with a shuffle.
This creates a huge impact on their quality of life because it becomes more challenging to perform daily living activities. They may experience difficulties picking up items off the floor, reaching items on high shelves or simply moving effectively to maintain their balance when they start to fall. It is not possible to stop the aging process but maintaining mobility and protecting your joints can help you spry well as you advance to your golden years.
Strategies To Improve Flexibility
Having tight shoulders and hips can limit your fitness and inhibit proper form. The best way is working on getting flexible to prevent poor posture and gain new ranges of motion. Some of the strategies you can implement to improve flexibility include:
- Prioritize Full Range Of Motion
Partial ranges of motion are always used to build higher amounts of strength. However, it is also important to carry out each exercise through a full range of motion as it has many benefits in terms of improving your flexibility. When learning new moves, work at full ranges of motion using lighter weights before dropping into a heavy working set or loading up a bar.
- Dynamic Warm-Up before Working Out
Go through some body-weight movements such as push-ups, squats, and side lunges before starting your cardio or lifting session. Warm up the entire body by performing three sets of each movement for at least 20 – 30 reps as it leaves you in a light sweat ready to workout.
- Follow a Workout with light static stretching
Stretches that take a long time help to lengthen the muscles that got tightened up during the lifting session. It is also important to focus on hip flexors, chest, and lats as they may become tight depending on your daily posture.
- Incorporate Massage
Body massage adds an extra benefit as it helps break up knots that restrict movements in tissues and muscles. A foam rolling pre-workout prepares the body for movement while a post-workout roll allows you to recover quickly for your next session. A skilled massage therapist will help you get some extra relief as they complement your flexibility routine.
Frequency, Time and Intensity of Flexibility
The time and intensity for each session should last for at least 15 to 30 seconds. These workouts need to be done every 3 to 5 days and consistency should always be given a priority. Note that stretching should always feel warm and fuzzy but not cause pain to an individual.
5. Body Composition
This refers to the ratio of body-fat tissue to lean body tissue (comprised of muscle and bones). After measuring the thickness of the selected skin folds, you can calculate the percentage of lean body mass using formulas that have been developed with more accurate methods of measuring body composition.
An individual’s total weight is what you always see on a scale and it may not change over time. However, this scale doesn’t assess the total weight of the lean mass which includes muscle, ligaments, tendons, and bone. It is always important to consider your body composition if you want to manage your weight and live a healthy life. Also, remember that your type of nutrition determines your exercise and the exercise determines your nutritional needs.
Always learn how to eat a healthy meal without eliminating all the essential food groups. This entails picking all natural foods that contain dense nutrients and vitamins. The right energy helps the body to improve your physical work. In addition, it helps with some of the maintenance functions such as to rebuild and repair your body tissues after a strenuous workout.
Strategies To Improve Body Composition
Always focus on changing your body composition rather than trying to change your weight. It makes your clothes fit better and you won’t have to worry about your weight on the scale. If you want to improve your body composition, here are simple steps you can take to achieve your desired goal:
- Measure Your Body Fat Percentage
It is necessary to test your body composition and you must learn to judge your progress using your body composition results. This equips you with the required knowledge to get the best results faster and smarter. You may get a complete body readout with fat mass, muscle mass and body water depending on how you determine body fat.
- Choose The First Goal To Work On
To change your body composition, you need to increase lean body mass and reduce fat mass. It is best to target them one at a time the fact that you are working with two goals instead of one. The rationale behind this theory is that your body responds differently to programs designed to build lean muscle and those that target fat.
- Create A Health Plan To Achieve Your Goal
Now that you have decided the first goal to work on, it is important to choose a plan that will help you reach that goal. Targeting fat loss is all about burning more calories in a day that the ones you take in (caloric deficit). This can be achieved through calorie restriction and exercise.
Building your lean body mass will require the adoption of a resistance training program which increases the size and amount of your muscles to consume more water. Your lean body mass increases as the muscles grow and take in more intracellular water that allows them to function properly.
- Track Your Progress Towards Your Goal Through A Retest
It is essential to test your body composition after a month or two. Your body may take some time to respond to the exercise and diet changes you have made. You should be more interested in your lean body mass and body fat percentage than your overall weight since you will be measuring your body composition.
- Be Patient As You Reach Your Goal
A change in body composition will take some serious effort and time to get results but the rewards will be great as the changes always last. Always avoid weighing yourself every day as it can take your mind out of the plan. The key is to always make smarter decisions as you continue to see results.
Frequency, Time and Intensity of body composition
It requires daily exercising and following a strict diet to achieve the best results on body composition. The intensity can range anywhere from light to moderate with a duration of at least 30 to 60 minutes per day.
The main purpose of health-related fitness components is to improve your overall health and provide you with the stamina to perform daily tasks with agility, and coordination. It requires a lot of dedication and consistency to get the best results whether you want to improve your muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, body composition, and cardiovascular endurance. Total fitness is defined by the level at which the body performs each of these components as a whole. It is also important to know that this may vary depending on the goals of an individual.
Always remember that consistency is the key as it determines how well your body can handle a certain level of resistance. Health-related fitness components not only enhances your bone and mental stability but also helps improve the quality of life as you age.