There are components of physical fitness which insurance companies and trainers take into account as they are significant to the overall evaluation of health. Basically it is similar to fine-tuning a racing engine, you would never add diesel to an engine that requires high octane.
When physical trainers measure the fitness of a person they use some components of physical fitness to test against a set standard and to develop goals for further improvement. By incorporating these components of physical fitness you can not only improve your health but also lose weight.
The first of these is muscular strength. This measures the ability of the muscle to exert a maximal force through a range of motion or to a given point. This is measured for a short period of time and usually incorporates the use of weights for evaluation.
As muscular strength varies throughout the body, you might for instance you have
high muscular strength in your arms while having weaker legs, this component is related to the amount and type of exercise that your body undergoes. Weight training or strength training is the only method to improve strength. One principle of increased muscle mass is that a larger amount of muscle consumes a greater number of calories, even at rest. By increasing mass you effectively increase the amount of calories needed for your body at rest and will reduce your body fat ratio. Another benefit to strength training is that it will help to maintain your bone structure and decrease your risk of osteoporosis.
The second component is muscular endurance. This refers to your muscles ability to work through a range of motion over a specific amount of time. This can be measured by the ability to hold a weight for a specific amount of time – say 20 pounds over-head for 5 minutes. Many times this component is measured through push-ups as these are exercises that exert a specific amount of pressure over time. This measures the upper body muscular endurance.
Muscular endurance is often confused with muscular strength because they are related. However they offer different benefits, while using muscular endurance an athlete is able to shovel snow for an hour lifting and moving a sub-maximal amount of snow over a specified amount of time. Muscular strength would be the ability of the arms and shoulders to lift the maximal amount a couple of times.
The trainer will test muscular endurance while he will also be testing cardiovascular endurance because these two components are closely related. Cardiovascular endurance will reflect how well your heart and lungs work together to supply oxygen to your body, this is also called aerobic fitness. Trainers may use long runs or swims to test cardiac endurance and test muscular endurance at the same time. This is the cornerstone to complete health and fitness. Without cardiovascular endurance you can’t improve the rest of your fitness.
Another component is flexibility, this is the ability of a joint to move through its full range of motion and the elasticity of the muscles. Some refer to this as how limber or supple you are, this is a major component of physical fitness and one that is often over looked. Not everyone needs to be as limber as a gymnast but we all need a degree of flexibility to deal with the demands placed on us during our daily lives.
Stretching is associated with flexibility in order to maintain or increase the ability of a joint to stretch further. Maintaining your flexibility is important for protection of your joints and allowing you to strengthen further to protect your back and reduce the pain of arthritis.
The final component of physical fitness is body composition. This is the ratio of lean body mass to fat body mass. This proportion doesn’t refer to your weight in pounds or to your figure but to a measurement against a standard. Women and men have different body composition ratios. Women carry a higher percentage of fat to maintain a developing baby. This doesn’t mean that women are fatter – but that their fat distribution is different.
Your body composition is really more a consequence of your overall fitness. If you have a high body fat mass ratio you are more at risk for coronary heart disease, diabetes, joint and back pain, arthritis, stroke and tendon-muscle accidents.
These components of physical fitness are foundation to physical fitness and the ability of the human body to withstand external forces and internal stress while maintaining health and wellness.