The Main Components of Fitness

Studies have shown that 60% of adults don’t get enough exercise and 25% of adults don’t get any exercise at all. This is quite disturbing as exercise greatly decreases the risk of cancer, diabetes, and cardiovascular diseases.

The components of fitness are:

4) Cardiovascular Fitness

5) Muscular Fitness

6) Flexibility

How important is exercise?

You could extend your life; reduce your risk of heart disease, diabetes, and cancer just by getting 20 minutes or more of exercise, 6 days per week. Still, many people don’t get these 20 minutes or more, although it’s so beneficial.

Healthy muscles are fundamental to quality of life. It enables us to play as children; work and play as an adult; to carry your child as a parent; and to maintain your independence as a senior. Taking care of your muscles by using them and ensure you’re able to complete daily activities and be physically active at any age. You are never too old to begin exercise. Studies have shown that older adults get the same benefit from exercise and strength training as someone who is middle aged. It is recommended that adults should complete whole body resistance training routines at least 2 times per week.

In terms of health, the benefits of Muscular Endurance and strength training are:

– Increased bone density

– Reduced risk of osteoporosis

– Increase metabolic rate

– Reduce blood pressure

– Decrease LDL and increase HDL

– Improve posture (reducing the risk of lower back pain or injuries)

Cardiovascular fitness is the body’s ability to take in oxygen, transport it through the blood and use it in the exercising muscles. This is improved through specific activity usually involving a number of large muscle groups and sustained for a certain length of time. It is recommended that adults complete 30 minutes of medium-intensity cardiovascular 5 days per week; or 20 minutes at a high intensity 3 days per week. These are minimum guidelines for maintaining health and reducing the risk of disease. Greater gains and specific goals, such as weight loss, will require more than this minimum guideline. Research suggests that an improvement from low to moderate cardiovascular fitness can reduce death due to cardiovascular disease by 66% in men, and 50% in women.

Flexibility is an often overlooked component of fitness. Many people don’t notice its importance until they lose their flexibility due to injury or aging. Flexibility can lead to injuries as tight muscle may manipulate your joints and, over time, cause chronic conditions.

Here is an example: Tightness in the hip flexors can pull down on the pelvis causing it to tilt. This results in the lower spine having an exaggerated curve (or a lordotic position). Over time this will cause abnormal pressure on the inter-vertebral disc s and can lead to a number of health issues – primarily sciatica.

Improvements in flexibility are best achieved through static stretching. A static stretch will lengthen the elastic muscle beyond its original length. The result is each muscle cell, which contain overlapping protein filaments called actin and myosin, begin to elongate. The American College of Sports Medicine recommends flexibility training 3 times per week.

Use this information and it will help you to achieve your fitness goals and ensure that the wonderful machine that is your body functions optimally in all activities of your life.

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If you feel that you have a health problem, you should seek the advice of your Physician or health care Practitioner.

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