The five components of physical fitness are cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition, according to Fit Day. There is unanimous agreement in the fitness community that these are the five components of physical fitness, though the definition of what level of fitness needs to be achieved is a personal one.
This is the power that helps you to lift and carry heavy objects. Without muscular strength, your body would be weak and unable to keep up with the demands placed upon it. The way to increase strength is to train with heavy weights, working in the 4 – 6 or 12 – 15 rep ranges. The heavier the weight, the fewer reps you should perform!
Endurance is the ability of your muscles to perform contractions for extended periods of time. Rather than just lifting or carrying something for a few seconds, the muscles are used for minutes. The way to increase strength is to train with light weights, working in the 20 – 25 rep range. Working with lighter weight will train the muscle fibers needed for muscular endurance, and the higher rep range leads to a longer period of exercise.
Cardiovascular endurance is your body’s ability to keep up with exercise like running, jogging, swimming, cycling, and anything that forces your cardiovascular system to work for extended periods of time. Together, the heart and lungs fuel your body with the oxygen needed by your muscles, ensuring that they have the oxygen needed for the work they are doing.
Flexibility is one of the most important, yet often overlooked, components of physical fitness. Without flexibility, the muscles and joints would grow stiff and movement would be limited. Flexibility training ensures that your body can move through its entire range of motion without pain or stiffness. To test your flexibility, lean forward and try to touch your toes. Those with good flexibility will usually be able to touch their toes, while those with limited flexibility will not. The sit and reach test (sitting on the floor and reaching toward your toes) is another good way to assess your flexibility. The more flexible you are, the closer you will come to touching your toes and beyond.
Body fat composition refers to the amount of fat on your body. To qualify as fit:
- Men must have a body fat composition lower than 17 percent
- Women must have a body fat composition lower than 24 percent
The average man tends to have about 18 to 24 percent body fat, while the average woman has 25 to 31 percent body fat.