Most school systems try to instill in students some knowledge of general physical fitness in their gymnasium programs. For adults, health clubs and fitness centers have the same gauge as schools use to determine a person’s body fitness. This include 5 components of physical fitness that can give a picture of overall fitness. The goal is to have all five components working at optimum levels for general health.

These components, not in any particular order, are: body composition, muscular strength, flexibility, muscular endurance, and cardiovascular endurance. Most fitness programs include some cardio exercises as a warm up to get the body ready for other types of exercise. These would be aerobic, such as the treadmill or cycling exercises, that raise the heart rate.

How well the body will perform exercises in each of the five areas determines total body fitness. Doing well in one or two areas is not enough; there are other physical standards to meet. Exercise should combine both aerobic and anaerobic sets to provide overall fitness. Interval training, which stresses and then relieves with slower exercise has been said to be the best path to fitness and weight loss. Hydraulic resistance machines shine in this area, according to gym experts.

These are the 5 components of physical fitness:

Body Composition: This is the comparison of lean tissue mass to fat in the body, muscles, bone and organs There are ways to measure, such as the skin fold test, but underwater weighing is best, but most expensive. BMI tests can reveal a healthy weight, but not composition.

Muscular Strength: Tested by push ups, this is a measure of the force produced by a muscle against a heavy resistance.

Flexibility: How able is a joint moving through a particular range of motion. This can be seen in cycling, elliptical, and step machines. A simple test for flexibility is sit ups and reaching. Flexibility can be improved by stretching exercises.

Muscular Endurance: How a muscle can continue to perform repeat movements without fatiguing, or to hold a position without losing the position.

Cardiovascular Endurance: The heart and lungs work together to provide oxygen to the muscles and fuel to the body during workouts. Heavier aerobic exercises like swimming, running, jogging and cycling improve cardio strength for long term exercises. Cardiovascular fitness includes the blood vessel system (vascular/vessels) and is important to overall health and fitness.

The 5 components of physical fitness work together, and a good exercise plan will work towards improving each of the five areas. Being unfit can lead to a variety of illnesses and problems, including cardio illnesses like heart disease, joint and bone injuries, back pain, slowness and fatigue, and general lack of strength from muscles. The muscles need to be worked to maintain strength and durability, to hold the skeleton properly aligned, and to power the body as needed. The heart needs to be exercised, as it is the true engine for the entire body, and no one wants to experience engine failure or breakdown!