What is Physical fitness?

When we think of the word fitness and how to achieve being ‘fit’ we probably imagine gasping for breath, excess sweating and possibly even pain. To a degree being a little out of breath and creating a sweat are indeed elements of achieving fitness, yet there are several components which combined together provide a much broader, holistic picture of what physical fitness truly is and it’s not all huffing & puffing!

There are six components of physical fitness, including cardiovascular endurance (sweating), flexibility (not much sweating), muscular endurance (some sweating), muscular strength (some sweating) and body composition (usually no sweat).
When factoring in all these different elements we can see why there isn’t one superior form of exercise over another and that we need several different types of exercise disciplines in our fitness schedule to achieve a state of good physical fitness.
Not only is the type of exercise we do important, we must also consider our lifestyle choices too, such as what we eat & drink, our sleeping patterns, the amount of stress in our life and how much rest we get, all of which contribute hugely to the component of body composition and also to how well we might perform in any of the other components.

So what are some examples of these different components? –
Cardiovascular endurance – continuous aerobic activity, such as walking, running, bike riding, swimming, etc.
Flexibility – Stretching, Pilates or yoga.
Muscular endurance – working against a resistance usually with high repetitions such as weight training, functional training, circuit training and Pilates.
Muscular strength – working against a resistance usually with lower reps & heavier weight such as weight training and power lifting.
Body Composition – this means balancing the ratio of body fat and lean tissue within the body, which is affected by all of the above components and by lifestyle choices already mentioned.
Bear in mind that within each of the components there are lots of variables, such as your ability, energy levels, injury etc. The scale of fitness is relative.

– This article has been published in the April edition of Life Magazines – http://www.lifemagazines.co.uk