Beyond Exercise - 5 Components Of Physical Fitness

We must balance all 5 components of physical fitness in order to achieve fitness. Total fitness is more than just exercising.

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports identified 5 health related issues that we must be balance for our fitness program. The 5 components of Physical Fitness and Exercise Programs are

Cardiorespiratory Endurance

This refers to our body's ability to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and remove wastes from our cells during sustained physical activity.

Workout routines help these systems to become more efficient. With increased physical activity, our heart muscle is enlarged and the number of blood vessels to our muscles and organs are increased delivering more nutrients throughout our body. Our respiratory system is also improved allowing more oxygen to be inhaled and distributed to our body's tissues.

Muscular Endurance

This is the ability of our muscle or muscle group to perform repeated movements over an extended period of time. The longer our "extended period of time" is the more fit we are.

Muscular Strength

This is the greatest amount of force our muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort. The general guideline today is to use the maximum amount of weight that allows us to safely perform 8 to 12 repetitions of a strength workout.


This is the ability to move our joints or any group of joints through their entire, normal range of motion. Flexibility routines should be performed only after our muscles are warm. We should perform a warm up routine before performing our flexibility workouts to minimize the risks of injury.

A great time to perform flexibility routines is after an endurance or strength workout. Our muscles are warmest and most flexible following these activities.

Body Composition

This is the percentage of our body fat in comparison to our total body mass. It is important that we measure our body composition rather than body weight. If we are heavy but have a very low fat content in our body, we are considered fit in this category of fitness.

The various methods to measure our body fat percentage are

  • Hydrodensitometry Weighing (Underwater Weighing) or Hydrostatic Weighing
  • Calipers for Skin-fold Measurements
  • Dual Energy X-Ray Absorptiometry
  • Near Infrared Interactance and
  • Bioelectrical Impedance

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