Altogether there are 5 health-related components of fitness. Namely, cardiovascular endurance, muscular endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. Total overall fitness comprises the aggregate of performance in each component.
Cardiovascular endurance is a measure of how efficiently the body transports oxygen to tissues, delivers nutrients, and removes waste products.
With regular exercise, cardiovascular endurance alongside cellular metabolism can improve and, as a result, contribute to a higher quality of life.
Guidelines suggest that individuals should engage in either 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise or 75 minutes of intense activity on a weekly basis in order to improve cardiovascular endurance. Examples of moderate-intensity exercises include walking briskly and ballroom dancing, while more vigorous options include swimming laps and jumping rope.
Muscular endurance refers to a specific muscle’s ability to repeatedly apply force against resistance. In essence, therefore, it’s a measure of a particular muscle’s resistance to fatigue. Examples of muscular endurance at play include a cyclist’s ability to pedal nonstop for long durations or an athlete’s capacity to hold a plank for an extended period.
Since muscular endurance is muscle group-specific, it doesn’t necessarily translate that a long-distance cyclist, for example, would be able to hold a plank for an extended period. As such, a well-balanced muscular endurance training program is one which targets all muscle groups equally.
Muscular strength is a measure of how much force a specific muscle group can generate in a single effort. The key to building muscular strength is to work muscle groups against resistance, be that in the form of gravity or weights.
As with muscular endurance, muscular strength is also muscle group-specific. Consequently, in order to develop proportional gains, it’s necessary to follow a targeted strength training program. Furthermore, it’s recommended that individuals should engage in strength training 2-3 times per week.
Flexibility refers to the ability of a joint to express its full range of motion. Through the influence it exerts over coordination, balance, and agility, flexibility is integral to promoting freedom of movement. Moreover, preserving overall flexibility can help reduce instances of injury and contribute to improved athletic performance.
It’s recommended that an individual should perform some form of flexibility training 2-3 times per week. Types of flexibility training include static stretching, yoga, and pilates.
Body composition refers to the ratio of fat tissue to lean tissue. Individuals with higher levels of fat are at higher risk of developing health problems such as heart disease or type II diabetes. The makeup of an individual’s body composition can be measured using bioelectrical impedance, skinfold readings, or underwater weighing.
In common with the other health-related components of fitness improvements to body composition can be achieved through regular exercise.