Nearly anyone knows that staying fit requires physical activity and a balanced diet. These are things we learn as children. By embracing an active lifestyle and making healthier dietary choices, you lay the foundation for achieving physical fitness. To determine precisely what this means is a different story. This is where the 5 components of fitness come in.
Even as many of us pay attention to what we eat and take measures to get our steps in every day, we still may need to understand what fitness means fully. The 5 components of fitness are detailed to help us get a better sense of what we need to do to stay physically fit.
Learning more about the 5 components of fitness can help you avoid common mistakes concerning fitness . Knowing the details of what being fit really means helps you to focus your time, energy, and money on the correct things that lead to physical fitness.
What are the 5 components of fitness? How can you apply the principles of the 5 components of fitness to your lifestyle? And what do you need to do to maintain the 5 components of fitness? This guide will provide you with the details of the 5 components of fitness.
What are the 5 components of fitness?
The 5 fitness components provide detailed focus areas to help you maintain your health. They offer specific areas to help you get on your way to being physically fit.
The 5 components of fitness are:
- Cardiovascular endurance: the ability to perform exercises at moderate-to-vigorous intensities for a prolonged period of time.
- Muscular strength: how much force your muscles can exert or how heavy weights they can lift.
- Muscular endurance: the ability of your muscles to sustain exercise for a period of time.
- Flexibility: the ability to move muscles and joints through a full range of motion.
- Body composition: your body’s ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass like muscle and bone.
We will delve into the details of these components, but you can see that each of these focuses on a specific area of your health. These 5 fitness components offer you a roadmap to well-rounded physical health.
Muscular strength is the ability of a particular muscle group to exert force or lift weight. The stronger your muscles, the heavier weight you can lift or carry. Muscular strength often varies from one group to another. You can have strong glutes and quads even if your biceps may not be as well developed.
The way you can focus on muscular strength is to focus on each muscle group as you plan your workout. Make sure you work all major muscle groups. Legs, arms, shoulders, core, back, and hips all need to have priority.
An easy way of testing your muscular strength is to test what is called your one-rep max. This is the maximum weight you can lift for one rep. You can also test muscular strength with muscular overload. This is when you add weight until you reach the point that you cannot lift anymore.
Another measure of muscular strength is muscle hypertrophy, which is a measure of muscle mass. You can increase muscle hypertrophy by doing 8-12 reps per set until you reach the point at which you can easily do 12 reps. This indicates that your muscles are getting stronger.
You can help build muscular strength by giving your body the nutrients needed to build muscle like the proteins and amino acids from which muscle is made. Glutamine from NF Sports is the best supplement for feeding muscle protein synthesis. Since glutamine is the most abundant amino acid in muscle tissue, Glutamine from NF Sports will help you build the muscle mass and muscle strength that form the basis of one of the 5 components of fitness.
Identify your goals
As with any type of workout or training program, you need to identify some specific goals. This helps you stay focused and not become discouraged. Set goals make for reachable milestones toward the 5 components of fitness. Be realistic in setting your goals. For example, with muscular strength, you need to build in increments. No one is going to lift massive weights after a week of exercise. If you test your muscular strength in the ways described above, set goals that increase this strength in realistic increments.
Muscular endurance measures how long your muscles can withstand exertion or exercise. This differs from muscular strength which is a measure of how much your muscles can lift. To build muscular endurance along with muscular strength, you can add some different exercises to your workout.
Ways of building muscular endurance include:
This form of weight training would involve increasing reps rather than weight. Begin with a manageable weight and increase your reps to 20 or more until your muscles become fatigued.
These are exercises that involve holding your body in position for extended periods of time. Planking is a great example of an isometric exercise.
Increased duration training
These are endurance exercises, and they are a great measure of how long your muscles can sustain endurance. Things like cycling, running, swimming, and stair climbing are ideal duration exercises.
If you are just starting out building muscular endurance, there are some great exercises that can get you on your way to building muscular endurance. These include low-intensity exercises like pilates, yoga, and stair climbing.
Beta-alanine from NF Sports helps build muscle and speed recovery with exercise and workout programs. Beta-alanine from NF Sports contains 100 percent Carnosyn, an ideal source of beta-alanine that enhances muscle recovery toward increased muscular endurance. This is an ideal way to supplement your workouts with the 5 components of fitness.
As you work on things like muscular strength and endurance, keep in mind that these pillars of the 5 components of fitness are features of everyday health. Each of the components is part of improved overall fitness and health.
With the right training plan and some realistic goals. You can incorporate all of these workout programs into a complete health and fitness system that fits your lifestyle, one that will help you achieve and maintain everyday health.
The best way to maintain the 5 components of fitness is to set realistic goals. Your workouts and goals should be geared toward lifestyle, schedule, and preferences. Some guidelines and goals to consider include:
- 150–300 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise, 75–150 minutes of vigorous-intensity exercise, or a combination of both every week.
- 2–3 days of muscular strength and endurance training per week.
- at least 2–3 days of stretching and flexibility training per week.
You can alternate these exercises and workouts on different days of the week. In this way, you will have the time and the energy to attend to all 5 of the components of fitness.
Cardiovascular endurance, or cardio endurance-- is your body's ability to sustain exercise for long periods of time. It refers to aerobic fitness—the ability of your heart and lungs to sustain you. Cardo endurance allows you to perform athletic activities for longer without being overly deprived of oxygen and other nutrients.
How to build Cardiovascular Endurance
Good exercises for cardiovascular endurance include walking, jogging, cycling, and other sports that require continuous movement. Experts recommend that you get about 150-300 minutes of moderate-intensity but vigorous exercise each week. What constitutes moderate intensity will differ from one person to another.
Flexibility is the range of motion your joints can move without pain. You must maintain healthy flexibility for everyday health. For instance, flexibility helps you maintain balance and helps you with ordinary movements like bending and picking things up. Athletes who depend on flexibility include people who do gymnastics, dance, and martial arts.
How to Increase Flexibility
You can increase flexibility primarily with stretching exercises. The main thing to think about with these exercises is to avoid injury. Do not push these exercises beyond your abilities and allow them to help increase your abilities.
Try to include stretching in your workouts at least 2-3 days per week. There are three basic types of stretches you can do to increase your flexibility. These include:
Static stretching. This type of stretching involves holding a muscle extended for 1-30 seconds. This type of stretching allows your brain to relax the muscles that support your joints.
Dynamic, or active stretching. These are active movements that stretch your muscles and joints. They help improve your range of motion. Many athletes do these types of stretches during a warm-up. These include things like rotations, leg swings, walking lunges, and trunk twists.
Dynamic exercise. These are complete exercises that depend on or utilize stretching. Examples include pilates, yoga, tai chi, and barre.
Body fat composition
This is the final component of the 5 components of fitness. Body fat composition describes the ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass in your body. Our health depends on maintaining a certain level of body fat. However, too much body fat can be dangerous. Excess body fat contributes to chronic diseases like heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and some types of cancer. At the same time, greater bone and muscle mass tend to promote health and reduce your risk of chronic diseases.
Measuring Body Composition
Body composition will differ slightly for everyone, and there is no single measurement to define fitness. However, there are some parameters to help you. Ways of measuring or gauging body composition include:
- Waist circumference. A larger waist circumference (>35 inches or 85 cm in women and >40 inches or 101.6 cm in men) indicates greater body fat in the stomach area and is linked with a higher risk of chronic disease.
- Waist-to-hip ratio. A high ratio (>0.80 in women and >0.95 in men) is associated with a higher risk of chronic disease.
- Bioelectrical impedance analysis (BIA). A convenient but less accurate measure of body fat percentage. You can find these machines in some fitness centers or purchase at-home BIA scales.
- Dual-Energy X-ray Absorptiometry (DEXA). Performed in clinical settings, DEXA measures bone mineral density, muscle mass, and fat mass. It can give a more accurate idea of your body composition. However, it’s less accessible and can be costly.
- Hydrostatic underwater weighing. This method measures your weight on land and then again underwater using an underwater scale. This method is usually reserved for research settings.
- Air Displacement Plethysmography (ADP) or BodPod. Found in specialty clinics, BodPods measure your total weight, fat mass, and muscle mass. It’s much easier to perform than hydrostatic underwater weighing.
Again, there is no single measurement or benchmark that works for everyone. If you are concerned about your body composition, it is best to consult your doctor for an evaluation of what your body composition should be.
Wrapping things up
The ways we evaluate health and fitness continue to change as more research and evidence are compiled that help us understand these things. While we once measured fitness in simple terms like weight and stamina, we now know there are numerous factors that determine our health and fitness.
The 5 components of fitness are meant to help you work toward a well-rounded way of approaching exercise and fitness. Certainly, some athletes will need to focus on one component more than others. But for most of us, a well-thought-out workout that varies from day to day can help us become physically fit. The best way of thinking about a healthy workout is to think in terms of the 5 components of fitness.
The 5 components of fitness help you understand how each mode of physical health works toward making you physically fit. We must maintain and build muscle strength, but we also need to be mindful of muscle endurance. The same goes for cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. And all of these things will help you maintain a healthy body composition.