- Fitness is your physical, mental, and emotional well-being. It impacts your overall health and improves your quality of life.
- There are five components of Fitness that can also be used as a tool to measure whether you are fit or not.
- Your fitness goals and expectations should be realistic. You can attain Fitness with just 30 minutes of regular physical activity.
- Design and plan your workout routine in a way that covers all five components of Fitness.
We all have heard about ‘Fitness and its importance.”
Is it just about keeping your body in shape?
Does it affect our mental and emotional health? If so, then how?
Fitness means different for each individual, based on their understanding.
For example, for some people, Fitness means running in a marathon or lifting heavyweight.
While to others, it might be walking around the block without shortness of breath or being in shape.
Whatever fitness means to you, it is essential to understand Fitness properly and its impact on our health.
In addition, it helps to set your fitness goals, what you should expect, and which physical fitness activities you should choose.
Fitness: What Does It Mean?
Generally, Fitness is referred to as being fit and healthy.
However, it isn’t limited just physically to fit and healthy.
Being fit means living your life to its fullest. It is only possible when your physical, mental, and emotional health are balanced and checked.
It means that Fitness means physical, mental, and emotional health and well-being.
For example, if a person is under mental or emotional duress, he is more likely to become ill. Therefore, doctors take into account all three aspects of physical Fitness.
5 Levels/Components of Fitness
No one is arguing about the benefits or health impacts of Fitness.
But Fitness can’t be measured in numeric measures.
So how can someone determine whether they are fit (physically, mentally, and emotionally)?
For that matter, the components of Fitness come in handy. Usually, there are five components or attributes of wellness.
These components include
- overall body composition
- muscle endurance
- muscle strength
- cardiorespiratory strength & endurance
These five fitness components are the roadmap or guideline and help to plan out your fitness routine.
With these fitness tools, you can not just plan but also execute your fitness and wellness regime very efficiently.
When you plan your fitness routine using these components, you end up with a well-balanced, easy to maintain, and enjoyable routine.
Also, these elements help to ensure fitness benefits.
1- Body Composition
Body composition refers to your body’s fat mass to fat-free mass ratio.
High levels of fat mass in the body are a sign of poor health.
It could trigger severe health issues such as heart diseases, diabetes, etc.
Hence maintaining a balanced and healthy body composition should be one of your fitness goals.
Remember that your body composition has nothing to do with the weight showing on the scale.
Then what should you do?
First, you should consult a trainer regarding your body composition.
They will guide you on measuring your current fat mass ratio and how to make your body fat-free.
Three ways give you an exact count of your fat-mass ratio, including:
- A bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA) scale
- The hydrostatic testing – being measured on dry land and then on an underwater scale. If the fat composition of your body is high, the underwater weight will be less.
- DEXA scans (dual-energy x-ray absorptiometry) are the same scans used to test bone mineral density and osteoporosis.
The good news is that you can quickly improve your body composition even with flexibility or cardiovascular exercises.
Body flexibility is the amount of motion/movement around the joints.
Unlike cardiorespiratory or body composition, flexibility is joint-specific.
It means while your shoulder joints are flexible, your knee or elbow joints might not be.
Regardless of age, flexibility plays a crucial role in our lives.
It allows unhindered movements and provides balance, coordination, and agility to the body.
Moreover, the more flexible you are, there are fewer chances of injuries with improved athletic performance.
As we age, our joints start to lose flexibility.
As a result, it increases the risk of severe injuries and other severe joint diseases such as arthritis. So it is essential to preserve your flexibility.
It is only possible if you engage yourself in physical activities starting from a young age.
Then, you can improve and maintain flexibility through different kinds of Stretching, including:
- Dynamic Stretching – through yoga, pilates, barre, and Tai Chi.
- Isometric Stretching – using resistance as an alternate between muscle stretch and relaxation.
- Active Stretching – using the muscle contraction to relax the stretch of another muscle, such as lifting your leg.
- Passive or Relaxed Stretching – engaging in a stretch position and holding it through the assistance of a strap, another body part, or partner.
- Static Stretching – most basic Stretching, where you have the stretch for 10 to 15 seconds.
3- Cardiorespiratory Endurance
Cardiorespiratory or cardiovascular endurance means Aerobic Fitness.
Aerobic Fitness implies that your body inhales, exhale, and delivers oxygen efficiently and effectively to your body organs.
A well-planned fitness routine that includes aerobic exercises (for challenging heart & lungs) helps to:
- Improve or maintain oxygen delivery and uptake
- Boost cellular metabolism, and
- Make everyday physical challenges easy
By doing 20 to 30 minutes of aerobic workout regularly (5 to 7 days per week), you can easily maintain your cardiovascular Fitness.
As long as you consistently work out for 20-30 minutes a day, your aerobic Fitness is intact.
You can either run, walk, cycle, swim, do circuit training, boxing, or dance.
All of these physical activities have a positive impact on your cardiorespiratory health.
4- Muscle Endurance
Muscle endurance is often confused with muscle strength.
However, muscle endurance is one of the two contributing factors to overall muscle health. It is the muscle’s (group of muscles) ability to contract continuously against resistance.
In simple words, muscle endurance is the measure of your muscle’s fatigue-resistant ability.
Take the example of a cyclist riding a bike or someone holding planks. In both cases, the longer you paddle or hold the position, it shows your level of muscle endurance.
Just like flexibility, muscle endurance is also muscle-group specific. So it means you can focus on your muscle endurance as per your goals and preferences.
If you want to develop muscle endurance enough to allow you to climb the stairs or walk easily, then trying Low-intensity weight-bearing or strength-training workouts will be sufficient.
However, if you want to become an athlete, such as a cyclist, or marathon racer, you’d need high muscle endurance.
For that purpose, you should do high-repetition strength training or sports-specific activity.
5- Muscle Strength
The last but not the least component of Fitness is muscle strength.
Muscle strength defines how much force a muscle group can produce in one rep.
Muscular strength is also muscle group-specific.
Therefore, it is advised to join a well-balanced muscle strength training and cover different muscle groups.
Importance Of Physical Fitness and the Five Key benefits
When it comes to Fitness, there is a long list of health benefits associated with it.
Studies have proven the importance of fitness and well-being in our lives.
To make our case, we have listed five key benefits of Fitness and how it impacts our lives.
1- Better Life Quality
Fitness is the key to an improved and better quality of life.
It affects your mood and mental health positively.
When you are physically fit and healthy, your immune system becomes more robust.
2- Improved Life Expectancy
One of the many benefits of Fitness is that it improves your life expectancy.
It is because people who are physically fit have less risk of diseases.
In addition, their body works effectively and efficiently.
Moreover, studies have proven that people who are physically fit live a longer life than inactive people.
3- Reduced Health and Injury Risks
When you follow a fitness routine designed around the five components, it improves your overall health.
Fitness reduces the risk of many serious diseases such as cancer, heart diseases, or diabetes, type 2, etc.
In addition to health risks, a physically fit person has fewer chances of injuries. It is because Fitness boosts our muscle strength, endurance and enhances our joint flexibility.
4- Keeps You Active
When you are physically and mentally fit, you stay active.
Even at an older age, you can do your routine tasks by yourself.
Fitness allows you to climb up the stairs, do your groceries, lift things, and walk without any effort.
5- Numerous Mental and Emotional Benefits
Indeed, you all have heard that ‘A healthy mind lives in a healthy body.’
It is a proven fact. When you are physically fit, your mental and emotional health also improves.
Fitness influence your mood and emotions.
Several surveys conducted on physically active and inactive people have shown that the latter are more prone to mental health issues.
Fitness activities play a significant role in eliminating the risk of depression, anxiety, PTSD, and stress as per the research studies.
Furthermore, Fitness boosts our self-esteem, improves sleep, sharpens our thinking, and builds strong resilience.
Your physical abilities, goals, and interests influence the meaning of Fitness in your own context.
So whether it’s running a marathon or maintaining healthy body weight, your definition of Fitness should always be within a healthy framework.
When planning your fitness routine, set goals that are small and attainable based on realistic expectations.
Besides physical activities, your diet also impacts your Fitness and health.
When you engage yourself in physical activities that focus on all five fitness components, you will notice a change.
However, remember the results will take some time.
And it would be worthwhile, as long as you will be consistent.