Do you often find yourself gasping for breath while performing physical activities?. My friend, you are probably physically unfit due to lack of exercises. Physical fitness can be achieved and maintained by engaging in regular exercises, proper nutrition and adequate rest.
There is a general misconception about fitness, individuals who can lift the heaviest weight in gym or run long distances are deemed to be fit. Though strength and endurance are good measures of physical fitness but they are just specific areas.
Physical fitness is made up of 11 components, 5 of which are Health-related while the remaining 6 are skill related.
You should consider incorporating all components of fitness when planning your fitness programme. It is proven that being fit not only helps us perform our daily activities efficiently, it also prevent heart-related diseases, obesity, type 2 diabetes and cancer.
In this article, we will be looking at the meaning of physical fitness, health-related components of physical fitness, body mass index and skill-related components of physical fitness.
What is Physical Fitness?
Physical Fitness can be defined as the ability to perform one’s daily activities without undue fatigue and still being able to respond to emergencies. It can also be defined as “the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypokinetic diseases(diseases caused by lack of exercise and movement), and to meet emergencies” (Wikipedia).
Physical fitness enables us to perform our daily activities efficiently. For Instance, we require strength to unload or luggage after shopping, reaction time to drive to our place of work, flexibility to bring down items from the cupboard e.t.c.
Componets of Physical Fitness
Health-related components are those that are required to perform our daily activities. They are:
1. Cardiovascular endurance
This is the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues over a sustained period. Those who can perform physical activities or exercises for a relatively long period can be said to have high cardiovascular endurance.
Cardiovascular Endurance can be improved through aerobic exercise; those performed at a moderate level of intensity over a relatively long period such as
- playing tennis
2. Muscular strength
Muscular Strength entails the ability of the muscle, or group of muscle to exert force for a brief period. Sports like Weight lifting, Basketball, Boxing all require muscular strength.
This can be achieved and maintained by anaerobic exercises; those performed at a high level of intensity over a short period. Resistance and Weight training with emphasis on more weight and less rep is suitable to develop strength. Strength can be improved by
- Bench press
- Dead lifts
This is often confused with muscular strength. Muscular Endurance is the ability of a muscle, or group of muscle, to exert force over a sustained period. Muscular Strength will enable you benchpress a 50kg barbell; while muscular endurance, on the other hand, will enable you to do more reps using the same 50kg barbell.
Muscular endurance can be achieved and maintained by resistance and weight training with an emphasis on less weight and more rep. Exercises to improve muscular endurance include
- Puss Up
- Pull Up
This denotes the ability to move joints and muscles through their full range of motion. Gymnast possesses a high level of flexibility.
Flexibility can be improved by
- Static stretches
- Dynamic stretches
- jumping jacks
5. Body composition
I think it is the most important fitness component because having the right body composition is key to preventing heart-related diseases, type 2 diabetes, obesity and cancer. There is no specific exercise to improve this component, exercising for other components of physical fitness alongside proper nutrition and adequate rest directly improves body composition refers to the body in terms of lean mass(the combination of bone, vital tissue, organs) in proportion to fat mass. An optimal ratio of fat to lean mass can be determined by a person’s body/mass index.
Body Mass Index
Body Mass Index is a measure of fat based on height and weight. It can be calculated thus; weight(kilogram) divided by height(Metre)squared
if BMI is:
- less than 18.5= Underweight
- 18.5 to 24.9= Optimum
- 25 to 30 Overweigh
- More than 30= Obesity
It is important to calculate your BMI to know if you have the optimum amount of fat mass. However; Nutrition, adequate rest and exercises are key to improving body composition.
Skills Related Components
Skills related components are those required in certain occupations, most especially sports. They do not directly affect our health but they help in our performances in certain occupations and activities. They are:
Speed is the ability to move quickly. It is important to note the concept is relative. Speed to a sprinter is different from speed to a boxer.
Drills to improve speed include
- Mille repeats (for long-distance speed)
- Interval running (for sprint speed)
This is the ability to move quickly and easily. In sports, it can be seen as the ability to move quickly and easily change direction.
Agility exercises include
- Ladder drills
- Cone drills
Power can be referred to as the ability to exert maximal force at minimum time. Simply put, its the combination of strength and speed.
Exercises to improve power include
- Box Jumps
- Power squats
It can be said to be the integration of the eyes, hand and legs when performing an activity. Coordination can be improved and maintained by
- Playing catch
Balance can be referred to as the ability to stay at equilibrium when performing an activity. Balance can be improved by
- Yoga poses
- Standing on one foot
6. Reaction Time
This is quite related to Coordination. Reaction time can be said to be the amount of time it takes one to response to stimuli-events that arose action. This can be improved by engaging in sports like
The key to being physically fit is not by exercising alone; proper nutrition and adequate rest play vital roles as well. Thus, eat foods rich in nutrients and have adequate rest.
It is recommended you should engage in moderate Intensity exercises for a minimum of 150 minutes a week, or high-intensity exercises for a minimum of 75 minutes a week.
Moreso, consult your doctor or trainer before you engage in any exercise. However, once you feel discomfort while engaging in exercise, stop immediately and seek medical attention.
Finally, endeavour to calculate your BMI to ascertain if you have the optimum amount of fat mass.
Drop a comment below with your weight(kg) and height(m) to know your BMI.