Exercises for Physical Fitness Components

Exercises for physical fitness components are important for keeping your body healthy and for increasing overall fitness. The 5 components of physical fitness are cardiovascular fitness, muscle endurance, muscular strength, flexibility, and body composition. Regular participation in activities within each of these categories offers a well-rounded fitness program.

Exercises for Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular fitness involves the degree to which your body takes in and efficiently uses oxygen for the heart and muscles during exercises and physical activity. Your cardiovascular system is improved when you do activities on a regular basis that raise your heart rate. The more often you do such activities and the more frequently you increase the intensity of exercise, the higher the increases will be in your level of cardiovascular fitness.

Exercises for cardiovascular health involve anything that gets your heart pumping, such as those activities listed below:

  • Swimming
  • Jogging
  • Hiking
  • Cycling
  • Rollerblading
  • Walking
  • Tennis
  • Basketball
  • Football
  • Soccer
  • Volleyball
  • Water polo
  • Skiing/snowboarding
  • Mountain biking

The recommended amount of cardiovascular, or aerobic, exercise is 30-60 minutes a day, 3-5 days per week. The higher your fitness level, the more you might crave increased amounts and increased intensity of exercise. Exercises for physical fitness components are a great way to round out and increase all aspects of your fitness.

Exercises for Muscle Endurance

Muscle endurance is a muscle’s ability to sustain and maintain its effectiveness and efficiency through long periods of exercise activity and exertion. Exercises that enhance muscle endurance are activities like:

  • Marathon/Trathlon training
  • Long distance running/swimming/cycling
  • High mileage hikes/backpacking
  • High-repetition resistance training or weight lifting

Muscle endurance is muscle-specific, so training one muscle or muscle group (legs) will not transfer the endurance gained to another muscle or muscle group (arms). You must train for endurance separately for each muscle. Sport-specific training is also important for increasing endurance applied to a given sport.

Exercises for Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the maximal force that can be exerted in a single voluntary contraction. Strength is a muscle’s ability to carry, lift, push, or even throw a load or weight. The higher the strength, the more weight that muscle can carry and the more force it can exert.

Mostly, when someone is referring to exercises that “tone” the body and create form under the skin, the person is talking about strength-training exercises. These enhance muscle tone and definition and can be one helpful indicator of the health of a person’s body.

Men typically have a higher muscle-to-fat ratio than women and can be interested in building more muscle, but it is very important for everyone to maintain muscular strength to help prevent osteoporosis, keep the bones strong, and to create a firm and fit figure. Cardio burns fat, but so does muscle, and it is what provides a beautiful underlying shape to the body.

The recommended frequency for strength-training depends on your level of fitness and your goals, with higher exercise frequency recommended for those with higher fitness levels and goals, and lower frequency and perhaps fewer sets recommended for those at lower fitness levels. Consistent gradual increases should be made for those looking to increase strength. On average, a good guideline is to do a specific exercise around 3 times a week, and perform 3 sets of 10-20 repetitions for each exercise.

To train for muscular strength, the best exercises for physical fitness components are:

  • The use of various weight machines (for abs, shoulders, lower and upper arms, lower and upper back, glutes, thighs, calves, and hamstrings). Weight machines are helpful in stabilizing movements, so they can be beneficial for beginners.
  • Free weights (bar bells, dumb bells, medicine balls, kettle bells)
  • Resistance bands
  • Calisthenics (push ups, pull ups, sit ups, crunches, squats, lunges, leg lifts, chair dips, etc.)

Always remember to warm up and cool down for 5-10 minutes before and after strength-training to increase lubrication around the joints and decrease soreness and risk of injury.

Muscles get toned and build strength by breaking down the individual muscle fibers and then rebuilding stronger. Soreness has a lot to do with this process. Giving the muscles a chance to rest and rebuild by taking a day off between training sessions is an important step in the strengthening process and also in maintaining a strength program. Soreness can also be decreased by stretching...

Stretches for Flexibility

Flexibility is the range of motion through which the limbs are able to move. Increasing flexibility keeps your muscles and ligaments limber and may help decrease risk of injury by stretching tight muscles and releasing tension.

Listed below are a few great flexibility stretches when it comes to exercises for physical fitness components:

  • Yoga (my favorite because it incorporates all of the stretches below and simultaneously enhances balance and strength)
  • Hamstring stretch (toe touches)
  • Runner’s stretch
  • Quadricep stretch
  • Calf stretch
  • Tricep/Bicep stretch
  • Wrist and ankle twists
  • Neck stretches
  • Gentle waist twists
  • Hip stretch
  • Glute stretch
  • Groin Stretch
  • Inner and outer thigh stretch
  • Shoulder stretch and rolls
  • Oblique reach and hold
  • Abdominal stretch

As mentioned above, flexibility decreases risk of injury, and in my experience, its main benefit is the ability to release tension, which feels absolutely incredible. When you incorporate breathing techniques, as you do with yoga, your body feels invigorated and centered. Stretching can be a very enjoyable addition to any fitness regimen.

Exercises for Body Composition

Body composition is the body’s relative amounts of fat, muscle, and bone as compared with body weight and how much each represents out of the whole. Two people weighing the same amount and measuring the same height may look quite different because they have very different body compositions.

A person’s aim when it comes to body composition usually involves losing fat and gaining more muscle. Your ideal ratio of fat to muscle depends on your age and sex, but a good starting place for a healthy body would be 8-19% body fat for men ages 20-40, and 20-33% for women ages 20-40.

Exercising for optimum body composition involves doing exercises from each of the categories listed above. Diet also plays a large role in achieving a healthy body composition. Some exercises for achieving a healthy fat-to-muscle ratio are:

Total fitness requires a holistic approach that must incorporate various exercises for physical fitness components. Your fitness routine doesn't have to be complex to achieve your optimum fitness level. Participating in a team or solo sport twice a week, swimming or hiking on Wednesdays, hitting up your local yoga class on Thursdays, and using the weight machines at your gym or doing calisthenics at home a few times a week, or any variation on this, will keep you in excellent shape.

A well-rounded regimen that gives attention to a combination of the exercises for physical fitness components will not only round out your overall health, but it will have you feeling incredible as well!

>> Browse exercise tutorials and free exercise videos for ways to train your body and slim down.

>> Get in depth information on the 5 Components of Physical Fitness.

>> 8 Tips to Decrease Fatigue and Get Active.

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