Health & Fitness

The Five Elements of Physical Fitness

Physical Fitness

The term “fitness” can be represented in different ways, depending on your individual interests, sporting or family backgrounds, gender or other factors. Exercise is one of the most critical things we are able to do in order to achieve a healthy lifestyle. Increasing fitness levels by regularly performing physical activities produce a huge number of benefits both physical and mental. Results show that there are psychological, physical, social and societal benefits of regular exercise. It is proven to strengthen heart muscles, as well as improving heart function by lowering the dangerous cholesterol, LDL (low-density lipoprotein)  Some other benefits include improved lung function, burns calories, reduces stress and is also known to be an effective therapy for mild cases of depression. Our brains are known to release a number of chemicals during exercise. Endorphins being one of the most important. The regular release of endorphins and is proven to sharpen focus and improve mood as well as memory. 

The concept ‘Physical Fitness’ is comprised of five different elements :

1. Cardiovascular Endurance

This relates to the heart (cardio) and blood vessels (vascular) In some parts of the world this is also known to include the lungs (respiratory) when described as Cardiorespiratory Endurance. Each referring to the efficiency of which the body delivers oxygen needed for physical activity. At the same time, getting rid of lactic acid which causes our muscles to seize and fail. As well as keeping our bodies lean, this component also alleviates stress. Some examples of activities which utilize CV Endurance are long distance running, cycling and swimming. 

2. Muscular Strength

The maximum force that can be produced by a single contraction of a muscle. It is important to be strong, to power through sports movements, perhaps sustaining a hit yet avoiding injury. This could refer to weightlifting activities featuring no repetitions, like the deadlift.  

3. Muscular Endurance

The ability of a muscle or muscle group to continually contract over an extended period of time. Muscular Endurance can also be referred to total-body endurance where most muscle groups in the body are forced to carry out the sustained performance. This refers again to more weight training activities with lower weights but high repetitions. Examples of relevant activities may be repetitive weight exercises such as abdominal cruncher or dumbbells

4. Flexibility

Flexibility refers to the entire amount of movement possible from various joints that is demanded in order to play certain sports or activities.  If joints are not flexible they become stiff and movement decreases. Increased flexibility also helps to prevent injuries, improves posture and is known to reduce lower back pain.  

5. Body Composition

This refers to the relative percentage of body fat compared to mean body mass, which is made up of muscles, bones and water. It is important to maintain a healthy body weight in order not to put a strain on your joints and muscles as they carry around a heavy frame. This can be best achieved by regular eating purposely made, protein-rich, low-fat meals such as those found at Muscle Meals.