Mastering components of an experience allows you to control the outcome of that experience and match it with your goals.
Your experience could revolve around you alone or within the context of your interaction with others or your environment.
One form of experience is physical fitness that many have difficulty achieving. Part of the problem is a lack of definition of what physical fitness is.
To some, physical fitness means having six-pack abs, to others physical fitness is the ability to squat down and talk to their grandchildren without pain.
There are as many definitions of physical fitness as there are people who experience various forms of motion and challenges to perform those motions.
A person who experiences shortness of breath may consider cardio aspects of fitness. Another person may experience low back pain, and the consider physical fitness a stronger core that helps reduce the pressure on the low back.
There is a standard way to define components of physical fitness. Knowledge of these standard components allows you to look deeper into the reason behind what you do and whether or not the steps you plan to take could help you reach your goal.
Different goals may not require the redefining the components of physical fitness. Different goals could often be achieved by changing the composition and use of the same components of physical fitness.
Your fitness level along with your agent health condition in addition to your mental, emotional and physical likes and dislikes determine how well you can mix various components of fitness to reach your goals.
The first category of physical fitness components is directly related to health and because of it is mostly talked about. These are:
- Cardiovascular endurance
- Muscular strength
- Muscular endurance
- Body composition.
Cardiovascular fitness component of fitness refers to a strong and healthy heart as well as strong and healthy lungs plus an efficient vascular system that allows the heart and lungs perform.
Muscular Strength is your ability to create a force against resistance. The more force you can create the more strength you have. In strength training, you focus on increasing the load in a systematic and sequential way. As your muscles adapt to moving heavier loads you become stronger.
Muscular Endurance is another component of fitness. Endurance could be an overall endurance or local endurance. Overall endurance is the ability to continue exerting force over a long time. Think of a marathon runner as an example.
Local endurance is your ability to exert force in a specific area of your body over a long period. Can you do 100, 200 or 300 squats or push-ups in a row? High repetition activities require local endurance.
Flexibility is a misunderstood component of fitness. Many consider lengthening their muscles as a flexibility exercise. Flexibility is a function of your joints, not your muscles. This confusion is caused by the fact that your muscles are attached to bones across a joint. For example, your hamstring is attached to your shin bone behind your knee joint. It is also attached to your pelvis above your hip joint. As you try to flex at your hip by bending, you feel your hamstring. If you focus on the hamstring and disregard the hip joint, you could be flexing your spine and do not gain the necessary flexibility in your hip joint and injured muscles in your low back.
Body Composition is one of the most apparent and sometimes deceiving components of physical fitness is body composition. Overweight and obese person seems to be unhealthy and unfit. A heavyweight powerlifter could look like an obese person on the surface.
A person with high cholesterol levels could carry sixpack abs. Body composition refers to the percentage of fat and ration of fat to lean muscle within the body. Where the fat is located determines health risks for a person.
There are an additional six components of physical fitness that are usually considered to be related to sports performance and they include:
- Reaction time
Agility component of fitness refers to the ability to create power sequentially. The basic component of agility is moving your feet and your body in different directions with control. Think of a soccer player or a basketball player weave through opponents with ease.
Balance is defined by how much control you have as your base of support narrows. When you lift one leg off the ground, you essentially are narrowing your base of support. If you can retain that one-legged position without a struggle or falling over you are exercising the balance component of fitness.
Co-ordination is another component of fitness. Think of driving. You control the speed of the car with your feet and the direction of your car with your hands. When age reduces the ability to perform these tasks together, coordination has been reduced.
Power is another component of fitness. Power is sometimes confused with strength. There are elements of time and speed in power that is the ability to move a load over a distance.
A person who can move 200 pounds 6 feet in three seconds is more powerful than a person who can move the same 200 pounds over the same distance in six seconds. Since power ties into your ability to burn calories, it is important for you to recognize the relationship between power expenditure and time.