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The Five Components of Physical Fitness

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If you are planning on embarking upon a fitness program, there are many elements to consider.

Your general health and abilities will definitely impact your workout. Also to be considered is the amount of time you have each day to put into your workout, as well as your personal workout tastes.

Physical fitness is an important part of maintain your health. But just what is physical fitness? Is it going to the gym every day? Being able to run a marathon? A random class in school where you wore invariably too short bright-colored gym? Here is a look at the five components of physical fitness and what they mean.

Cardio/respiratory

Number one of the five components of physical fitness is the cardio/respiratory element. This component looks at the capacity and the capability of the lungs and the heart. Two major organs of the body, the lungs and heart need to work in harmony to deliver the oxygen and other nutrients to the cells throughout your body. The lungs are responsible for adding oxygen to the blood and removing carbon dioxide, while the heart is responsible for pushing that blood throughout the body. From the point of view of the five components of physical fitness, cardio/respiratory exercise should improve the function of your heart and lungs so that the rest of your body will work better as well. In general, any type of aerobic exercise can help with this component of physical fitness.

Endurance

Number two of the five components of physical fitness is the endurance portion. This component looks at the endurance of the muscles, which involves how well your muscles can lift a weight repeatedly. In weight training, this would be considered the number of repetitions that you can do with a given weight. This can also be applied to other exercises, such as your ability to do repeated pushups, pull-ups, or squats. When many athletes consider endurance, they picture distance runners, such as those who participate in marathons, but from the point of view of the five components of physical fitness, endurance can apply to any sport that has repetitive actions.

Strength

Number three of the five components of physical fitness is the strength element. This component looks at the strength of the muscles, which involves the ability that your muscles have to exert force against resistance. Many people consider strength to be the most important of the five components of physical fitness. It is often associated with weight training, such as the number of pounds that you are able to bench press.

Flexibility

Number four of the five components of physical fitness is the flexibility component. This component looks at the ability of the joints and how freely they can move throughout a variety of ranges of motions. To address this member of the five components of physical fitness, stretching is very important. There are specific exercises that are also designed to help with flexibility, such as yoga or Pilates.

Body composition

The fifth and last of the five components of physical fitness is the body type. This component is variable, since it depends upon the individual. Someone who is large and muscular has a different composition than someone who is dainty or petite. Bone structure, genetics, and even gender can play a role in this part of the five components of physical fitness. You have to remember to take this last component into consideration when tailoring a workout for yourself. A petite size zero lady would embark upon a very different routine than a male body builder.

Balance is important

If you are looking to become physically fit, you need to consider all of the five components of physical fitness. You have probably met someone at the gym who can bench press twice his own body weight, but cannot jog to his car without getting out of breath. On the other hand, you may also know someone that could twist herself into a pretzel, but struggles lifting a few pounds. In order to be truly physically fit, you need to address all five components of physical fitness. Balance your workout so all components are involved in order to achieve maximum results. For instance, start your workout with stretching to improve flexibility. Then spend time on the treadmill to improve your cardio/respiratory fitness. Afterwards, work with varying weights for strength and endurance. With all of this, consider your own body makeup and limitations, and you will soon start to see an improvement in your physical health.

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