ASK THE EXPERT: The 5 Components of Physical Fitness

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There are 5 components of physical fitness, and these components represent how fit and healthy the body is as a whole.

Some people think that being physically fit means being in good general health. Other people think it means being able to lift a certain amount of weight, or being able to run a particular distance in a certain time, or having a specific type of body, such as a lean or a muscular body.

There’s actually no single agreed upon definition of physical fitness.

One common definition is that physical fitness is a set of attributes that people have or achieve relating to their ability to perform physical activity. Another common definition is that physical fitness is a state of well-being with a low risk of premature health problems and energy to participate in a variety of physical activities.

According to Wikipedia, physical fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases (diseases related to, or caused by, a sedentary lifestyle), and to meet emergency situations.

ASK THE EXPERT:

Even though the definition of physical fitness can vary, there’s near unanimous agreement on the 5 components of physical fitness. Here’s an overview of each of the components.

1. Cardiovascular Fitness – Cardiovascular fitness (also known as cardiorespiratory fitness) is the ability of the heart, lungs, and vascular system to deliver oxygen-rich blood to the working muscles during sustained physical activity. Aerobic exercise improves cardiovascular fitness. Visit the Benefits of Aerobic Exercise page for more information on aerobic exercise.

2. Muscular Strength – Muscular strength is the amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert against a heavy resistance. Anaerobic exercise improves muscular strength. Visit the Benefits of Anaerobic Exercise page for more information on anaerobic exercise.

3. Muscular Endurance – Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to repeat a movement many times or to hold a particular position for an extended period of time. Muscular endurance can be improved by both aerobic exercise and anaerobic exercise.

4. Flexibility – Flexibility is the degree to which an individual muscle will lengthen. Stretching improves flexibility. Visit the Benefits of Stretching page for more information on stretching.

5. Body Composition – Body composition is the amount of fat in the body compared to the amount of lean mass. Several methods can be used to calculate body fat. Visit the How to Calculate Body Fat page for information on these methods.

Now that you know what the 5 components of physical fitness are, you’ll be better able to develop an effective fitness program.

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