Five Components of Physical Fitness

This ‘5 Components Of Physical Fitness’ is really good stuff to know.

Here you’ll see how regular walking and fitness walking connects you to all 5 components of physical fitness. Pursue all five effectively and you’re well on your way to being physically fit!

  1. Cardiorespiratory endurance…is the efficiency with which your body delivers the oxygen and nutrients you need for muscular activity and transporting waste products from the cells. Actions like walking, running, swimming, cycling will help with your cardiorespiratory health.
  2. Muscular strength…is the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can exert in a single effort. Any weight-bearing exercise you do certainly helps with your muscle strength. Try stair climbing! It gives great results. You’re the weight you’re bearing in this exercise!
  3. Muscular endurance…is the ability of your muscle or muscle groups to perform repeated movements with a sub-maximal force for extended periods of times. To achieve the goal most suitable for you, work slowly in small increments and progress at a pace that is doable for you. Why not try walking or dancing? That can improve your endurance too.
  4. Flexibility…is the ability to move your joints or any group of joints through an entire, normal range of motion. Yoga, warm-up and stretching exercises before your walk, will help keep you limber and reduce the chance of you being injured.
  5. Body composition…is how much of your body is muscle and how much is fat. One simple way of expressing this degree of fatness or thinness is with the Body Mass Index (BMI) measurement tool. You can control and maintain your body composition with a good daily exercise and diet program. Keep active, eat well, drink 8 glasses of water a day. Pay attention to getting a good night’s sleep!

When you improve your first three components of physical fitness, you improve your body composition and you lose fat.

Principles of Exercise

What happens when you follow an exercise program that follows some good basic principles? Whether you walk 10 miles a day or can just barely make it around the block, good things happen! You will be amazed at how effective it is no matter what your fitness level is now!

The basic principles of exercise are:

  1. Regularity. Exercise on a regular basis is the key to all these principles. Regularity leads to good habits. You look forward to your walk. You’re motivated to continue. Do your walking program at least three times a week. Regularity is also important in daily resting, sleeping and following a sensible diet.
  2. Progression. Regular progress in your program is really important. You know where you want to be ‘tomorrow’ with your program. You need to focus on where you are ‘today’ to make sure you get there.

    Do your program today. Do a little bit more tomorrow. Make ‘little chunks’ of progress and improve each time. Progress at a rate that’s comfortable for you. You’ll feel great when you can walk that extra block or that extra five minutes as your fitness improves.

  3. Balance. Your exercise program needs to address all 5 components of physical fitness in a balanced manner. Walking is great for your cardiorespiratory endurance. Remember to include exercises for the other components-muscle strength, endurance and flexibility.

    The key is to balance the attention you give to all 5 components of physical fitness. Overemphasize any one of them and you may hurt the others. Sorry. No short cuts!

  4. Variety. Work some variety into your program now and then. Try a nice backcountry hike, a different route, some easy cross country skiing, another activity you’re passionate about. A little change is good. Make sure your alternate choices give you the same exercise benefits.
  5. Specificity. Your exercise program needs to be geared to your specific activity goal. For example, although swimming is great exercise it doesn’t improve your ability to walk two miles as much as a walking exercise program will.
  6. Recovery. After you’ve had a hard day of training that focused on one fitness component you should follow it with an easier day. You may even consider a rest day for that component. You want to allow your body time to recover.

    You can also achieve recovery by alternating the muscle groups you exercise each day, especially when you are exercising for muscle strength and endurance.

So there you have a quick overview of the 5 components of physical fitness and the basic principles of exercise. Remember these as you progress with your fitness walking programs.

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