6 Components of Good Fitness
A good fitness program should include the following components of physical activity; rest; and nutrition:
- Cardio Vascular & Respiratory (heart, lung and circulatory benefits)
- Strength Training (musculoskeletal)
- Flexibility (e.g. increasing range of motion etc.)
- Functional Training (movement specific)
- Rest (mental and physical)
- Nutrition (well-balanced)
However, the majority of most people only focuses on one of the above components, and overlooks the other vital benefits that are instrumental to making the difference between an effective fitness program and an unsuccessful one.
If you can make a commitment to yourself to modify your daily diet and approach towards your long term fitness, you are well on your way to making a significant difference in your life to reduce stress, gain more energy, and enjoy long term health benefits. In addition, you can further ensure your long-term success if you not only practice “clean eating” and a balance of a variety of regular physical activity (e.g. CV, strength training, sports conditioning, etc.), but also if you do so under the proper supervision of a trained fitness professional.
1) Cardio Vascular/Respiratory Exercise:
Purpose: Getting oxygen to your working muscle while removing your metabolic waste products thereby improving your heart, lung and circulatory function.
Duration: Ideally 20-30 minutes. The amount of time you exercise would require modification if you are under medical supervision. Consider your fitness level (Duration and intensity should be modified) before beginning exercise.
Health Benefits: Cardio vascular exercise can help you reduce your (LDL, – i.e. bad) cholesterol level, prevent heart and lung disease, lower your blood sugar level, reduce your risk for hypertension.
Common Activities: Swimming, Aerobic Classes, Cycling, Walking the Dog, Hiking, evening or morning walks with your family and friends.
2) Strength Training:
Purpose: Improve the function of your musculoskeletal system by increasing your strength and power and muscular endurance.
Duration: This can be in the form of resistance training (under supervision), with the appropriate amount of proper weight, rounds and repetitions (reps,) of each type of exercise/(a set), as well as adequate rest for a healthy adult, e.g. – 3 sets of 6-10 repetitions for each major muscle group with 30 seconds rest inbetween rounds is ideal.
Benefits: Strength training can aid not only in the prevention and controlling of Osteoporosis, other types of Arthritis, muscle imbalances, rehabilitation from injury, but also will help you increase the ease and ability in which you will be able to perform your daily physical activities.
Common Activities: Sports activities (like lifting heavy weights and other strength training), carrying your kids, moving furniture, lifting heavy objects etc. Strength Training protocols may vary in athletic training for different sports will cover them in a subsequent follow up article in the near future.
Purpose: Improve your ability to flex, – i.e. extend and rotate around your joints without injury and restriction.
Duration: In general, flexibility exercises can be done in the form of static stretching (without movement) ideally hold each major muscle to the point of stretch and “NOT TO THE POINT OF PAIN” time limit is 40 – 60 seconds and then repeated one to two times.
Benefits: Regularly performing flexibility exercises will enable you to increase your range and freedom of motion, your ability to perform daily activities with ease, as well as to reduce and minimize any muscle tension.
Common Activities: Reaching for an object upwards, bending down, sudden turning and almost any activity.
4) Functional Training:
Purpose: Enhance daily activity (walking, lifting, carrying etc.) or specific activity (Sports specific, physical rehabilitation specific etc.)
Duration: Can be repeated as you often as you required for a specific task without over-taxing your body in specific way to aid your intended final tasks (E.g. – while playing tennis on a clay surface tennis court, you might rally for an average of 15 seconds, rest 15 seconds, and repeat the cycle again with the same activity until you have achieved a comfortable level of physical challenge.
Benefits: Regularly doing functional training not only will enable you to be able to reduce the risk of activity related injury and but also improve your productivity in a specific task with less physical stress on your body.
Common Activities: household chores, playing with kids, cooking, sports and other physical activities, – e.g. anything from recreational physical activities, to competitive sports, to post rehabilitative corrective exercises and sports conditioning.
Purpose: To recover from mental and physical stress.
Duration: Allocate one to two hours a day to relax and get adequate sleep also one day a week to totally relax.
Benefits: Regularly ensuring your body gets an appropriate amount of daily rest will aid in the prevention and control of mental and physical stress found to be linked with certain Cancers, high blood pressure, heart disease, gastrointestinal tract issues, and stress fractures.
Common Activities: Regular massages, Jacuzzi/or spa therapy, listening to music, spending time outdoors in a natural and calm setting, many forms of meditation, etc.
Purpose: To maintain and regulate bodily functions.
Key components: Proteins (repair body cells), Carbohydrates and Fat (provide source of energy) Vitamins and minerals (regulate bodily functions).
Benefits: Maintaining proper and balanced nutrition can aid not only in the prevention of a number of diet related diseases, provide adequate energy for your bodily functions, but also help facilitate the healing of physical injuries.