Physical fitness is the ability to
function effectively throughout your workday, perform your usual other activities and still have enough energy
left over to handle any extra stresses or emergencies which may arise.
The components of physical fitness
Ø Cardiorespiratory (CR) endurance - the efficiency with which the body delivers oxygen and
nutrients needed for muscular activity and transports waste products from the cells.
Ø Muscular strength - the greatest amount of force a muscle or muscle group can
exert in a single effort.
Ø Muscular endurance - the ability of a muscle or muscle group to perform repeated
movements with a sub-maximal force for extended periods of times.
Ø Flexibility - the ability to move the joints or any group of joints through
an entire, normal range of motion.
Ø Body composition - the percentage of body fat a person has in comparison to his
or her total body mass.
Improving the first three components of
fitness listed above will have a positive impact on body composition and will result in less fat. Excessive body
fat detracts from the other fitness components, reduces performance, detracts from appearance, and negatively
affects your health.
Factors such as speed, agility, muscle
power, eye-hand coordination, and eye-foot coordination are classified as components of "motor" fitness. These
factors most affect your athletic ability. Appropriate training can improve these factors within the limits of
your potential. A sensible weight loss and fitness program seeks to improve or maintain all the components of
physical and motor fitness through sound, progressive, mission specific physical
Adherence to certain basic exercise
principles is important for developing an effective program. The same principles of exercise apply to everyone
at all levels of physical training, from the Olympic-calibre athlete to the weekend
These basic principles of exercise must
To achieve a training effect, you must
exercise often. You should exercise each of the first four fitness components at least three times a week.
Infrequent exercise can do more harm than good. Regularity is also important in resting, sleeping, and following
a sensible diet.
The intensity (how hard) and/or
duration (how long) of exercise must gradually increase to improve the level of fitness.
To be effective, a program should
include activities that address all the fitness components, since overemphasizing any one of them may hurt the
Providing a variety of activities
reduces boredom and increases motivation and progress.
Training must be geared toward specific
goals. For example, people become better runners if their training emphasizes running. Although swimming is
great exercise, it does not improve a 2-mile-run time as much as a running program does.
A hard day of training for a given
component of fitness should be followed by an easier training day or rest day for that component and/or muscle
group(s) to help permit recovery. Another way to allow recovery is to alternate the muscle groups exercised
every other day, especially when training for strength and/or muscle endurance.
The work load of each exercise session
must exceed the normal demands placed on the body in order to bring about a training