Fitness Principles and Components

Physical fitness is the ability to function effectively throughout your workday, perform your usual other activities and still have enough energy left over to handle any extra stresses or emergencies which may arise. 

The components of physical fitness are: 

* Cardio-respiratory endurance – the efficiency with which the body delivers oxygen and nutrients needed for muscular activity and transports waste products from the cells. A person with a high level of cardiorespiratory fitness is able to supply enough oxygen to the tissues with relative ease. The cardiorespiratory system of a person with a low fitness level has to work much harder, therefore getting tired faster. 

* Muscular strength – the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort. Muscular strength is very important to your overall health and fitness. Higher levels of muscular fitness reduce the incidence of lower back pain and injury to the musculoskeletal system. 

* Muscular endurance – the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements with a sub-maximal force for extended periods of times. 

* Flexibility – the ability to move the joints or any group of joints through an entire, normal range of motion. Flexibility is reduced when muscles become short and tightened with disuse causing an increase in injury and strains. Those with greater flexibility tend to have a lower risk of injury. 

* Nutrition – Good nutrition is essential for maintaining health and providing the energy necessary for optimal physical and mental performance. 

* Body composition – the percentage of body fat a person has in comparison to his or her total body mass. This measurement refers to the relative proportions of body weight in terms of lean body mass and body fat. Lean body mass represents the weight of water, muscle, bone and internal organs. Body fat represents the remaining fat tissue and is expressed as a percentage of total body weight. 

Improving the first five components of fitness listed above will have a positive impact on body composition and will result in less fat. Excessive body fat detracts from the other fitness components, reduces performance, detracts from appearance, and negatively affects your health. 

Factors such as speed, agility, muscle power, eye-hand coordination, and eye-foot coordination are classified as components of “motor” fitness. These factors most affect your athletic ability. Appropriate training can improve these factors within the limits of your potential. A sensible weight loss and fitness program seeks to improve or maintain all the components of physical and motor fitness through sound, progressive, mission specific physical training. 

Principles of Exercise 

Adherence to certain basic exercise principles is important for developing an effective program. The same principles of exercise apply to everyone at all levels of physical training, from the professional athlete to the weekend jogger. These basic principles of exercise must be followed. 

Regularity -To achieve a training effect, you must exercise often. You should exercise each of the first four fitness components at least three times a week. Infrequent exercise can do more harm than good. Regularity is also important in resting, sleeping, and following a sensible diet. 

Progression – The intensity (how hard) and/or duration (how long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness. 

Balance – To be effective, a program should include activities that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the others. 

Variety – Providing a variety of activities reduces boredom and increases motivation and progress. 

Specificity – Training must be geared toward specific goals. 

Recovery – A hard day of training for a given component of fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day for that component and/or muscle group(s) to help permit recovery. Another way to allow recovery is to alternate the muscle groups exercised every other day, especially when training for strength and/or muscle endurance. 

Overload – The work load of each exercise session must exceed the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about a training effect.