Physical fitness isn’t just about working out, or even just doing cardio exercises. Physical fitness is about being lean, flexible, muscular, and strong – about motor fitness skills, about agility, about coordination and balance. Having a balanced body will help in so many areas of your life. Exercises and stretching, such as with Yoga and Pilates, can increase your core and abdominal strength and give you a lean waist. Weight training increases your ability to burn fat and increases your metabolism. Cardio fitness increases heart health, circulation, and stamina. Stretching increases flexibility. Everything works together to create a lean and fit body and focusing on all aspects of physical fitness will give you a well-rounded and healthy lifestyle.
There are five components to physical fitness:
- Muscular Strength. When working out with weights you are using your muscles, even creating small tears in your muscles (this is why you’re so sore the day after lifting weights), but these small tears heal and make your muscles stronger. Lifting weights doesn’t mean that you have to bulk up. Instead, lift lighter weights and this will tone your muscles instead of making them grow extremely large. Whether you are just looking to tone or are looking to bulk up, only lift a weight that does not interfere with your form or technique execution. If you do, you could end up seriously hurting yourself.
- Body Composition. Body composition is the ratio of fat to fat-free mass in the body. Individuals who have a lower ratio of fat to fat-free mass are typically healthier, have more flexibility, and feel better all over. The less fat an individual has on their body, the more calories their body burns even when at rest.
- Cardiovascular. Cardio exercise increases the amount of oxygen that is introduced to the body. This creates a healthier body, and decreases the risk of heart disease, diabetes, and increases the ability to maintain a healthy weight.
- Muscular and Cardiorespiratory Endurance. The combination of cardio and muscular endurance is especially useful when performing physical work/activities for a long period of time. Examples of obtaining this endurance combination include: participating in boot camp classes, weight training, plyometrics, or using step machines, just to name a few. This endurance combination helps the body deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles that are being used during the physical activity and discards waste products from cells, creating an overall healthier body.
- Flexibility. The range of movement of the joints is extremely important to be able to move quickly and easily. Flexibility also allows the body to assume more natural positions when sitting and standing, helping maintain good posture. As we age our joints stiffen up – it’s just a part of life. But, preventing the stiffening of joints can create a healthier (and pain-free) body. Stretching the body helps loosen the muscles and ligaments and maintain the health of the bones and cartilage that make up the joints. Flexibility also increases physical performance and reduces the risk of injuring yourself in normal and exhaustive activities.
When creating workout routines keep all five of these components in mind to allow yourself a great workout that benefits your whole body and makes you feel great.