Five components which measures your fitness

Fit for Life

What is Fitness?

“Oh he is extremely fit!” “I wish I were fitter than I am now!”

So what does it mean, to be fit?Is it just a word used to denote health?Is it a word used to signify ‘aesthetically pleasing’,?Or is there something more to it.

Truly fit or fitness for different individuals means so many different thing, for someone it might mean having a ‘six pack’ abdomen,another being able to run a 10K race and for yet another the desire to be away from or to combat any chronic disease.

That would mean that ‘fitness’ is a very individualistic concept and no single definition is possible.Agreed, however fitness can be quantified and ‘measured’,simply by looking at the ‘Components of Fitness’.

When a person’s current ‘fitness levels’ are evaluated before the start of a fitness programme, a a fitness professional will look at how you ‘measure up’ as regards certain components.Simply put, just as your doctor would check your blood pressure, blood sugar, eyesight,etc and compare it with certain standards , a similar testing is done to find out how fit you are.

The components of fitness can be broadly categorized as -

1. Cardio Respiratory/ Aerobic Endurance or Stamina

2. Muscle Strength

3. Muscle Endurance

4. Flexibility

5. Body Composition

Though each one of these can develop into a separate article,let’s look at each of them at a glance.

Cardio Respiratory/Aerobic Endurance:

It is a measure of your ability to do continuous work, and depends on the health and capacity of your heart.How good is your oxygen delivery system.

Muscle Strength :

Our muscles are attached to joints, and when they contract our bodies can move.Strong muscles maintain efficient movement.

Muscle Endurance :

While ‘muscle strength’ implies a more concentrated or near maximal effort,muscle endurance is your muscle’s ability to contract over and over without getting tired.

Flexibility :

Each joint in our body is designed so that we can bend and straighten and our limbs can be moved in different directions.Inflexibility or decreased ‘range of motion’ would greatly hinder our ability to move smoothly and efficiently.

Body Composition :

Though the human body is made up different structures, the important measurable in fitness are ‘fat weight’ and ‘fat free’ or ‘lean body mass’.It answers the vital question.’What is your weight made up of?’ rather than the basic ‘what is your weight?’

Each of these components is measured, evaluated and the meaning of ‘fitness’ is to achieve what is optimal for an individual as per his/her age,gender and fitness genes.

Source: Dr. Sonali Sinha

She is a certified fitness specialist from the American College of Sports Medicine.She runs a fitness consultancy, Santulan, providing lifestyle management programs for individuals and groups.

Image: Thinkstockphotos.com

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