Which component of fitness is more important?

Let's start by addressing what a component of fitness is. According to the American College of Sports and Medicine (ACSM) there are five health-related components of fitness.

  1. Cardiovascular Endurance - the ability to endure

  2. Muscular Strength

  3. Muscular Endurance

  4. Flexibility

  5. Body Composition



Don't worry, I will go through each of them in case you are curious about what each one really means. Let's first answer the question above. I'm sure you already know the answer, we need a balance of each one. For many this answer is overwhelming. The good news is that is ok. Stepping into the fitness world can be very overwhelming. There's a variety of exercises, types of exercise, classes, and how to reach your goals. I'm here to help you with all of that.


Get moving first


Find something you love or do something with someone you love. There is no wrong type of exercise (unless it causes injury), what's important is that you start your journey by finding something you like. Some examples of movement include go for a walk, join a fitness class, attend a yoga class, ride a bike, learn how to dance. As you can see there's a lot of variety here. How you get started is not as important as getting started. Remember this is a lifelong journey you are starting on, and it will change a lot along the way, as it should.


Once you have created a regular practice of movement then we can focus on fine-tuning it. Only when you are ready. It's really important to keep your fitness journey enjoyable and successful. Let's talk a bit about each component.


Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular means relating to the heart and vessels. Endurance means training at the ability to repeat a good pattern of movement over a long period of time. Often the reference includes marathon runners, mountain climbers, long-distance swimmers, etc. If you look at this from an Activity of Daily Living (ADL) it could be referring to being able to walk/run at a time or distance that is needed for YOUR daily activities. Can you walk up the stairs in your house without being winded? Let's look at this as an opportunity to live a healthier lifestyle. We would sell our house and buy a house that has no stairs to solve this problem. We would instead work up to getting up and down our stairs over and over without getting winded. n order to create a healthy lifestyle.


Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the ability to lift heavy things without injury. For ADL's we would look at strengthening the muscles we use and build that strength to be able to handle our goals. For example, let's assume you have decided to take a job in construction. This is a hard job and you want to get ready for it. Which muscles would you need to strengthen to be able to do the task at hand? My answer would be the whole body. Construction is hard work that challenges your entire body in different planes of movement and different tasks. In order to find Muscular Strength, you would start off lifting a manageable weight for a short amount of reps. Over time you would add more strength for the same amount of reps. The goal is not to increase the reps but the weight. For ADL's it's not important to lift extremely heavy unless that is what you need for everyday activity.


Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability to lift a midweight for a longer period of time. Here you would find a weight that is manageable for a longer amount of reps, building your reps up to something like 3 sets of 12 or more, this all depends on your goals. Remember your weight starts off small while you build your endurance first. Once endurance is met, you can add weight in small amounts.


Flexibility

Flexibility is defined by Oxford as the quality of bending easily without breaking. Though this is a great definition I would like to add more to it. Flexibility by my definition is the ability to lengthen muscles in passive motion within your range of motion. I have to admit the breaking definition is definitely the goal. :) Flexibility is often confused with Range of Motion and Mobility, this is a whole other discussion we won't get into. Flexibility should be increased in areas it's necessary for ADL's, whatever that means for you. If your gymnast your flexibility needs will be different than someone who has a desk job. Like endurance, flexibility should be worked up to slowly and safely never pushing to a point of pain. It's important to remember how to find a movement safely for ADL's. ie. lifting something up off the ground with your legs, not your back.


Body Composition

Body composition is defining what the body is made of. We often refer to this in percentages of body mass made up of fat, muscle, bone, and water. There are obviously more than this that make up the body, but the percentages of these components are important. To live a healthy life we want to have low body fat, a high muscle and water percentages. Bone is what it is and each of us has a different amount of mass, but it usually doesn't change enough for us to measure in short amounts of time. Body fat scales have become more accessible over the years and education on using them has also been made easier. Stay tuned for more information on how to use a Body Composition scale. Meanwhile, Healthline has released an article on the best tools to measure body composition for 2021. Check it out.


I hope that this short educational piece will help you understand the different components of fitness and their value. First, let's get moving. Once you have established a strong practice then let's fine-tune it a little bit. For even more fine-tuning I highly recommend booking a Personal Trainer to meet your very unique needs. You can find my prices right here on my booking page.




2 views0 comments

Recent Posts

See All

Kris Myers CPT,E-RYT, FRCms | krisempoweredhw@gmail.com | 503/706-2448