There are 4 components of health related fitness, and neglecting any one of these could cause you problems sooner or later.
So understanding each of these, and how they fit in to your health and fitness routine, is essential to maximise your wellbeing.
The individual components of health related fitness
Body composition is probably the one which most of us are aware of. That is, how much fat we have relative to our lean tissue, such as muscles, etc.
Keeping our fat at acceptable levels will reduce the risk of contracting many diseases and illnesses, such as heart disease, high blood pressure, and even some cancers. Controlling your calorie intake is the best way to go about it. Creating a calorie deficit if your want to lose weight, or calorie surplus if you want to gain weight (through eating the right foods in the right quantities). Ah, but what is an acceptable level? For men, the generally accepted range is between 10 percent and 25 percent body fat. And for women it is between 12 percent and 25 percent body fat.
Yes, it is a wide range, but it gives you something to work with.
Strength is another component of fitness. But there are various different types of strength, from limit strength to strength endurance.
In terms of health related fitness, strength endurance is the most useful, though the other types shouldn’t be neglected. Strength endurance allows you to keep going and going and going. The greater your muscular endurance the less tired you will be during every day tasks. Aerobic capacity is your ability to utilise oxygen during exercise, to help you convert your energy stores in to useable energy.
The more you work on your aerobic capacity through performing sub-maximal activities, the longer you will be able to perform aerobic type exercises like running, swimming, cycling, etc. Anything else you do from day to day will just seem easy.
Flexibility is the fourth component of health related fitness. As we get older, and as we perform exercise, our soft tissues become tighter. This makes our muscles and joints stiffer.
Performing a regular stretching and flexibility routine will ensure our joints remain flexible and have a full range of movement. This might not seem important, but it is vital to remain injury free. And this is super important as we get older.
Balancing the components of health related fitness
Finding the right balance between each of the above components of health related fitness, dependent on your reasons for exercising, is the key to longevity. If you are a runner, and like to take part competitively, then neglecting your body composition and incorporating the wrong type of strength training, will only hinder your progress, and might even leave you at risk of picking up an injury.
But it is equally important if you just want to lead a healthy lifestyle, especially important as we get older. Much research has been carried out in to exercise and our wellbeing. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins. These are our natural feel good chemicals, which help to elevate our mood.
Exercise has even been shown to help with depression!
So make sure you find the right balance for what suits you, remain injury free, and increase your longevity and wellbeing.