What’s the most important thing about your fitness? The fact that it’s yours! But the trick is understanding what exactly ‘fitness’ really means, and how you can go about getting fit. That’s where these five components of fitness come in - and they might help you organise and execute your own well-balanced workout routine.
Cardiovascular endurance, better known as cardiorespiratory endurance or aerobic fitness, describes your heart and lungs’ ability to supply active muscles with enough oxygen so they can perform at a raised level for a prolonged period of time. This includes long durations of low-intensity walking, up to medium- to fast-paced activities such as swimming.
Given that heart disease is one of the biggest killers in the UK, boosting cardiovascular health is of particularly high importance. Running, walking, cycling, swimming, dancing, circuit training and boxing are just a few of the many workouts you could try out.
The key is to be consistent. Current guidelines say you should aim for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise each week, or 75 minutes of vigorous high-intensity exercise.
Another type of endurance exercise, muscular endurance describes an individual or group of muscles’ abilities to perform a repetitive motion for prolonged periods of time. These movements are often more strenuous to complete than basic aerobic exercises but not strenuous enough to be considered strength training.
Examples of this include long-distance cycling where you can develop fatigue-resistant muscles in your legs and glutes. Basically, it’s muscle group-specific. This means you can develop high levels of endurance in some muscle groups but not others.
So, where you choose to focus your muscular endurance should correspond to your personal fitness targets. Being able to climb several flights of stairs may be your goal, but if you want to become an endurance athlete, using high-repetition exercises can help you achieve this.
Working on lifting heavier things so they no longer feel so heavy is what muscular strength is all about. It refers to how much force a muscle group can exert in a short, near-maximal effort. To train your muscular strength, you can perform controlled movements with larger loads of weight, forcing the active muscles to recruit more muscle fibres to complete the lift.
Benefits of strength training can include improved strength, increased muscle mass and a metabolic effect which could help in burning fat. Examples of strength training include performing big movements such as a squat with a weight sufficient enough to make 6-15 repetitions difficult.
Can you touch your toes? Flexibility is the range of motion you have around a specific joint. For instance, you might have very flexible shoulders, but tight and inflexible hamstrings or hips. Improving your flexibility can have a massive impact on your overall wellbeing - at any age. It can help increase your muscular performance, reducing tension, stress and reduces your chance of injury.
Examples of flexibility training include yoga, Pilates, stretching and self-myofascial release. Wait...what on earth is that? Check out this article which explains a bit about self-myofascial release.
This final component refers to your body’s ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass. Maintaining a healthy body composition is the goal of almost all regular fitness routines, reducing the chance of heart disease and type 2 diabetes. But good news - by working on the other four components, you’re well on your way to a healthier body composition.
Maintaining a balanced fitness routine can benefit your health and wellbeing in almost every way, just remember – it has to work for you!
How can Evergreen Life help you maintain your fitness?
The Evergreen Life app can be essential for keeping track of your fitness progress by measuring your key body measurements or simply to set reminders for you to do your workout.
Train harder, train smarter.