Definitions & Components of Fitness
WHAT IS PHYSICAL ACTIVITY?
Physical activity is defined as bodily movement produced by skeletal muscles that result in energy expenditure (using calories). What is fitness? Fitness is defined as the ability to perform moderate-to-vigorous levels of physical activity without undue fatigue and the capability of maintaining this capacity throughout life. The Principle of Overload states that by making a particular system work harder (overload), such as the cardiovascular system, on a regular basis, that system will become more fit. What are the components of fitness? There are four components of fitness as listed below. Although you may get more of an aerobic workout by bicycling (cardiovascular exercise) you may also strengthen the muscles in your lower body because of the resistance in pedaling (strengthening exercise). However, in order to increase your level of fitness in one of these components, you should u According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), physical fitness is defined as ‘the ability to carry out daily tasks with vigor and alertness, without undue fatigue, and with ample energy to enjoy leisure-time pursuits and respond to emergencies.’ Based on this definition, fitness involves everything from getting out of bed to hiking to performing CPR. In order to complete all of these tasks, one must consistently address their fitness levels. This requires proper conditioning through both structured exercise and leisurely activities utilize specific activities for that particular component. This is referred to as the Principle of Specificity.
1. Muscular Strength
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!
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.
3. Cardiovascular Endurance
Cardiovascular endurance is your body’s ability to keep up with exercise like running, jogging, swimming, cycling, and anything that forces your cardiovascular system (lungs, heart, blood vessels) 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.
The Cooper Run (running as far as possible in 12 minutes) is a test commonly used to assess cardiovascular endurance, but many trainers use the Step Test (stepping onto a platform for 5 minutes). Both are accurate measures of a subject’s cardiovascular endurance.
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.
5. Body Fat Composition
Body fat composition refers to the amount of fat on your body. For example, a 100-pound person with a 25% body fat composition will have a lean body mass of 75 pounds.
THE FITNESS COMPONENTS IN SPORTS
The fitness components are qualities that athletes must develop to physically prepare for sport competition. They are not skills, but the building blocks of exercise and physical activity. Sports training programs are designed to integrate them in the proper proportions to match the requirements of each sport.
What is physical fitness exactly? It can be defined and measured in different ways. A basic definition of physical fitness is “the ability to complete daily tasks with energy, reduce health risks due to inactivity, and be able to participate in a variety of physical activities.”
Physical fitness components are currently divided into two groups–health-related and skill-related.
Those that are health-related are designated to improve health, wellness, and the quality of life. Of course, building these can also enhance sport performance.
SKILL RELATED COMPONENTS: Those aspects of fitness which form the basis for successful sportor activity participation.
- Speed: The ability to move quickly from one point to another in a straight line
- Agility: The ability of the body to change direction quickly
- Balance: The ability to maintain an upright posture while still or moving
- Coordination: Integration with hand and/or foot movements with the input of the senses.
- Reaction Time: Amount of time it takes to get moving.
- Power: The ability to do strength work at an explosive pace.
COMMON FITNESS MEASUREMENTS
Fitness can be measured in a variety of ways. Below are common tests used in both clinical and athletic settings:
Cooper Run – This test measures cardio respiratory endurance. In 12 minutes, run as far as possible. For most adults, running 2000 meters or more in this time is considered a ‘good’ to ‘very good’ level of fitness.
Push Up Test – This test measures muscular endurance. Men should perform this test using ‘military style’ (knees straight) while women should use the ‘bent knee’ position. Participants should perform as many pushups as possible while keeping proper form until exhaustion. An adult male performing 25-30 repetitions and an adult female performing 20-25 repetitions are considered ‘above average.’
COMPONENTS OF PERSONAL FITNESS
Definitions of the components of personal fitness are listed below. The first 5 are considered the main components of physical fitness. The definitions of the different components follow.
1 – Body Composition
3 – Cardiovascular Endurance
4 – Muscular Endurance
5 – Muscular Strength
6 – Speed
7 – Power
8 – Reaction Time
9 – Agility
10 – Coordination
11 – Static Balance
12 – Dynamic Balance
13 – Fun (yeah I know I made it up, but it is important)
Although the operation of natural selection requires that genotypes differ in fitness, for some geneticists it seems easier to understand natural selection than fitness. Partly this reflects the fact that the word “fitness” has been used to mean subtly different things. Here I distinguish among these meanings (e.g., individual versus absolute versus relative fitness) and explain how evolutionary geneticists use fitness to predict changes in the genetic composition of populations through time. I also review the empirical study of fitness, emphasizing approaches that take advantage of recent genetic and genomic data. Finally, I highlight important unresolved problems.
Without differences in fitness natural selection cannot act and adaptation cannot occur. Given its central role in evolutionary biology, one might expect the idea of fitness to be both straightforward and widely understood among geneticists. Unfortunately, this may not be the case; although evolutionary biologists have a clear understanding of fitness, the idea is sometimes misunderstood among general geneticists.