“Lack of activity destroys the good condition of every human being, while movement and methodical physical exercise save it and preserve it.” – Plato (Greek philosopher)
The United States Department of Health and Human Services has defined physical fitness as ‘a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relate to the ability to perform physical activity’. Basically, physical fitness might mean different things for different people. For some people, being physically fit might mean being healthy. For others, it might mean being able to run a particular distance within a specific period of time or lift a particular amount of weight. However, if you really want to measure the overall fitness of a person, you have to take into consideration the five components of physical fitness.
The main elements of physical fitness include:
➠ Cardiovascular endurance
➠ Muscular strength
➠ Muscular endurance
➠ Body composition
Cardiovascular/cardiorespiratory endurance is defined as the ability of the heart to pump oxygenated blood for the functioning of your muscles. The ability to remain fit without feeling tired during physical exercise measures the physical fitness of a person. Swimming, cycling, walking, jogging, and aerobics are the classical examples of exercises and sports related to cardiovascular endurance.
Muscular endurance is sometimes confused with muscular strength. It is the ability of a muscle or muscle group to repeat a movement several times, or to hold a particular position for an extended period of time. It is related to muscular strength and cardiovascular endurance. Performing exercises such as jogging, bicycling, or even dancing can help increase muscular endurance.
The muscular strength is the amount of force a single muscle or muscle group can exert against a heavy resistance. It is measured by maximum amount of strength a muscle has, or the amount of weight that can be lifted or moved. It can be improved by lifting weights.
The fitness level is also measured by the flexibility of your joints. If you have good flexibility in the joints, injuries related to joints could be prevented. The exercises such as stretching and swimming can help improve flexibility.
Body composition directly relates to the overall fitness level. It is the amount of fat in the body in comparison to the amount of lean mass. It is measured by the percentage of your body’s tissues that are made of fat versus fat-free tissues.
On a concluding note, the physical fitness of a person not only depends on the aforementioned components, but is also a result of his lifestyle, nutrition, and basic habits.