What do the 5 Components of Physical Fitness Include? And why do you need to know?
The answer is that knowledge is the first step to taking action to improve your health and fitness. As Plato is rumored to have said, but is among those pithy internet quotes that Plato never made((https://www.mesacc.edu/~davpy35701/text/plato-things-not-said.html)):
“Human behavior flows from three main sources: desire, emotion, and knowledge”.((https://www.brainyquote.com/quotes/quotes/p/plato384673.html)) In addition, if you are studying for NASM (National Academy of Sports Medicine) Personal Trainer Certification, you better know them.
The 5 Components of Health Related Fitness include :
- Cardiovascular Endurance
- Body Composition
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
Remember the acronym – C B S E F – to answer the question.
1. Cardiovascular Endurance
The first component of total fitness to improve your cardiovascular fitness. What is the cardiovascular system? Your cardiovascular system includes your respiration, blood cells, and heart and lungs. Cardiovascular fitness is the ability to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues. Cardio fitness is the ability of the muscles to use oxygen. This helps you produce energy for movement((https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cardiovascular_fitness)).
A sobering fact is that heart disease is the leading cause of death for both men and women((https://www.cardiosmart.org/Heart-Basics/CVD-Stats)).
Therefore, we start off with the most critical of the , the health of your heart. Because losing weight alone is not a fitness program.
Therefore, the most fundamental component of fitness is to improve the health of your heart.
The skeletal muscles are under your neural control. Your thoughts control the movement of your skeleton. You have no other control of your organs. For example, you do not control your heartbeat, digestion, respiration, cellular processes.
You only control your ability to move.
To begin a fitness program, start moving first. Before worrying about what you will eat, think about physical activity. This is as simple as going for a 30 minute walk every day. You can bike, swim, jog, ski, walk, just get more active.
What is the recommendation of NASM, the National Academy of Sports Medicine?
NASM's recommendation is to get a minimum of 30 minutes a day, 5 days a week. For a minimum total of 150 minutes a week of physical activity.
2. Body Composition
Number two is body composition. The easiest place to start is to determine if you are at your ideal body weight. Here is a simple formula to easily calculate your ideal body weight based on your height using the Hamwi method.((https://www.scymed.com/en/smnxpn/pndfc237.htm))
- For Men: The ideal body weight formula is 100 – 106 pounds for your first 5 feet of height, plus 5 – 6 pounds for every additional inch.
- For Women: The ideal body weight formula is 100 pounds for the first 5 feet of height, plus 5 pounds for each additional inch.
Once you know your ideal body weight, now it is time to find out where you are now. Go jump on your body composition scale and see if your weight is anywhere close to your ideal body weight. 75 percent of adults are either overweight or obese, so, do not sweat it.
You will get leaner faster than you think possible following the Fit Apprentice plan.
Body Fat Percentage
Weight is not the only variable when it comes to health and fitness. You also want to achieve a healthier body fat percentage.
The American Council on Exercise suggests the following:
In men, the average body fat percentage ranges from 22.9% at age 16–19 years to 30.9% at age 60–79 years.((https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/preview/mmwrhtml/mm5751a4.htm)). Clearly, based on current body fat levels, most men and women over 50 are simply too heavy.
75 percent of adults over 20 are overweight, therefore, overfat is a common condition. The problem with excess fat is that it increases your cardiometabolic risk. What is cardiometabolic risk?
Cardiometabolic risk refers to your chances of having diabetes, heart disease or stroke.
Overfat is the condition of having more body fat than is good for health.
The percentage of body fat that can cause health problems, especially cardiometabolic risk, is surprisingly low.
Lohman’s criteria of suggested cutoffs >17.6% for males and >31.6% for females is widely accepted in body composition research. However, measurable health impairments associated with ≥2 cardiometabolic abnormalities were found at DXA-derived body fat levels >15.3% in men and >29.8% in women.
Therefore, a man with more than 15.3% body fat, and a woman with more than 29.8%, are at higher health risk and are overfat.((https://roguehealthandfitness.com/americans-are-now-fatter-ever/))
Get a Scale which Includes BMI and Body Fat Percentage
If you do not have a body composition scale, you need to get one. Here are a few simple options:
This first one is the Conair Scale which I have used over the past 7 years.
- Measures body fat, body water, BMI or body mass index, and bone mass
- Has a 4-user memory; and a 400 lb/182 kg capacity
- Sleek, streamlined design with Safety tempered glass platform and High-visibility LCD display
- Large 1.5-inch digital display; 11.8 inch x 12.5 inch frame
- Long-life lithium battery (CR-2032) included
I have gotten great use out of this scale. In fact, using this scale, I have lost 100 pounds plus over the last 5 years. When I started my journey, I was over 30 percent body fat, as of today, I am 16 percent.
- This is a bluetooth smart connected body fat scale.
- Large digital backlit LCD
- Precision/Accurate Measurements include:
- Body Fat
- Muscle Mass
- Water Weight
A new addition to this list is the economical RENPHO Scale.
- Smart App Syncs with APPLE HEALTH, GOOGLE FIT, and FITBIT APP.
- 11 Essential Measurements – Scale shows body weight, BMI, Body Fat Percentage.
- You can weigh yourself anytime without your phone. The data will sync to the app once it is connected again.
- RENPHO App works with Bluetooth 4.0, supports Android 4.3 & IOS 7.0 or above system.
- Auto calibration, high precision sensors with 396lbs/180kg capacity.
- 3 x AAA batteries included. FDA/CE/FCC/ROHS Certificated.
3. Muscular Strength
Muscular strength is the third key ingredient of fitness.
According to the American Council on Exercise (ACE), muscular strength is the maximal force a muscle or muscle group can exert during a contraction. Muscular strength is usually measured with a one-rep maximum (1-RM) test. During a 1-RM, an exerciser performs one repetition of a single exercise to see how much weight he or she can lift.((https://www.verywell.com/how-to-increase-muscular-strength-3496121))
For example, what is the maximum amount of weight you can deadlift one time? Having said that, please do not attempt to find out. Deadlifting is one of the greatest muscle strengthening exercises, but also one of the most dangerous.
Especially if you have no training.
So, suffice it to say that strong muscles are one of your best friends. Stronger muscles make everything easier in your life. Getting in and out of your car, walking, leisure, just your normal activities of daily living. With stronger muscles, you become more functional.
In addition, building muscle mass improves your metabolism and can reverse insulin resistance.
Build Muscle or Lose Fat First?
Cardio fitness and body composition, are the first two steps of your journey to better health and fitness. Most people can spend between six months and a year getting into the habit of daily exercise and smarter eating habits.
It is much easier to get your eating under control than trying to lose fat and build muscle at the same time. Especially if you are significantly overweight or obese.
Once you are at a more comfortable weight, you can start building strength.
You do not necessarily need to use weights in a gym. All you need is a floor and you can begin to do push ups and squats. If you have a doorway, you can add a chin up bar for chinups or pullups.
Remember though, you can never outtrain a bad diet.
If you think that weightlifting and having a thanksgiving meal every day of the week will get you lean, forget about it.
You need to first get into the habit of daily physical activity and seeing food as fuel, not just entertainment. Then you can start a more focused strength building plan.
An excellent resource for weight lifting is Mark Rippetoe's classic book Starting Strength.
4. Muscular Endurance
You need to build your muscular strength and endurance. What is muscular endurance?
Muscular endurance refers to the ability of a muscle or group of muscles to sustain repeated contractions against a resistance for an extended period of time. It is the fourth building block of health related fitness, along with cardio fitness, healthy body composition, and muscular strength.
You can improve your muscular endurance by doing normal activities for a longer duration. For example, you can extend your continuous walking time up to 30 minutes. Once you can do thirty minutes, walk up to forty-five minutes or an hour.
Or you can bike, swim or do the elliptical for a longer period of time. Similarly, you can do push ups, bodyweight squats or sit ups to failure.
However, when you are starting out on your fitness journey, running, walking or elliptical is the safest bet. Gradual improvement is always better than burning yourself out for a week a dropping your training.
The best workout is the one you stick with.
So do not burn yourself out.
Flexibility is the pain free full range of motion in a joint or group of joints or the ability to move joints effectively through a complete range of motion. Losing weight and building muscle is not enough. You need flexibility and a body composition for better health and fitness.
Anyone over the age of 50 probably knows that is not so simple.
You need to start a dynamic stretching and static stretching routine to stay flexible, especially as you move beyond 50.
Can you touch your toes from a standing position? If not, then you know where to start. Every morning, carefully raise your arms over your head and then bend to touch your toes.
You can do the same with a simple sit and reach test. Sit on the floor and see if you can reach your toes.
Start with one repetition and work up to ten.
Hold each stretch for up to 30 seconds, without bouncing.
You should stretch every single day. Do not let your body get stiff.
Walk, stretch, work out.
Summary – 5 Components of Fitness Mnemonic – C B S E F
Cardiovascular fitness, strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. These are the foundations of your fitness. This is your mnemonic: CBSEF
- Cardiovascular Fitness
- Body Composition
- Strength (Muscular)
- Endurance (Muscular)
Knowing this fitness definition can motivate you to take action:
- Get active, at the minimum, physical activity like walking for 30 minutes a day.
- Eat real food, follow the principles of the Fit Apprentice™ plan.
- Start a strength training routine, even at home, with push ups and squats.
- Walk for an up to an hour at a shot on weekends.
- Start stretching, even simple stretches to improve your flexibility.
Now you know what the five components of physical fitness include. Please leave your comments and share this post.