5 Components of Fitness for a Healthy Lifestyle
After many years of research and studies, I think we all know the relationship between physical activity and the overall quality of life. Evidence shows that physical activity is related to a lower risk of premature development of many health problems. Through physical activity, we can improve our lifestyle by preventing or delaying development of health problems.
I’ve been studying fitness for well over 10 years and have found that fitness and health requires a balance in five key areas. Sure you may be naturally flexible but what about strength? That may require some work! Or what if you were born with the tendency to build muscle and strength but lack flexibility? Flexibility may need some extra work.
After training numerous clients and students, I’ve compiled a list of what I view as the important base components of health & fitness. Of course we could elaborate on each component but let’s stick with the basics for the sake of the beginner, which is my specialty.
I’ve included links & encourage you to research a little more into each component.
Cardiovascular Endurance – The ability of the heart, lungs, blood vessels to deliver an adequate supply of oxygen to exercising muscles. Cardiovascular exercise utilizes the heart, lungs, and large muscle groups, such as running or walking. Anything to get the heart going at a higher rate for a period of time.
Muscular Strength & Endurance– Muscular strength and endurance improves when a resistance is placed against particular muscles or groups of muscles, as in weight training.
Muscular Strength: the maximum amount of force a muscle or muscle group can develop during a single contraction. This would be your weighted workout such as bicep curls with weights.
Muscular Endurance: the number of repeated contractions a muscle or muscle group can perform against a resistance without fatiguing. An example of this would be holding a plank and a several unweighted squats in a row.
Flexibility– The ability to move a joint through its full range of motion; the elasticity for the muscle. Referred to as the “range of motion” of a joint (e.g. knee or shoulder). Flexibility improves with activities such as stretching or yoga.
Nutrition– Food provides your body with the nutrients it needs to remain healthy & active. The six major nutrients that are necessary for a healthy body are : carbohydrates, proteins, fats, vitamins, minerals and water. A deficiency in any one of these nutrients could hinder you from reaching your fitness goals.
Postive Mindset– I love the YMCA and consider myself a “Y’ person. I had my first job in fitness there 18 years ago. (WOW I’m getting up there!) I believe they have the right philosophy with their triangle of “Mind, Body and Spirit.” It is all connected and without one, you are kind of off balance, right? To realize your full potential in any area of life, it is necessary to focus on your overall happiness with life and the healthy lifestyle choices that you make everyday. Limit your stress and take the positive approach. Find outlets for stress and incorporate ways to let the goodness pour in. I understand you may not be able to control what is going on around you but you can control how you react to it.
Now I want you to think about which areas are you crushing? Which areas could use some improvement? I can tell you that I’ve always been somewhat awesome with muscular endurance & I’ll chalk that up to my gymnastics experience. -Get it? Chalk/Gymnastics?? Though, I do need to drink more water, nutrition has always been one of my favorite subjects. I think it is safe to say that area is okay.
Unfortunately, my mindset has not been the greatest and I do lack on physical strength. Give me a baby and I will hold them for hours or have me use my body I will squat, lunge, plank forever. But give me a heavy weight and ….yeah , well. Good thing I have my strong hubby who dominates in strength.
Here is the important thing to remember, none of these are perfected overnight. It takes time, patience and dedication but you can do it! I will tell you a few ways I have worked on my mindset, which is SO much better then where it was 5 years ago. For one thing, improving my relationship with God has helped me leave things up to Him and have Him guide me to do what He wants of me. Oh heck yeah, it is hard and I do not always listen but it’s a process.
Other tools that helped was therapy & coaching. I believe everyone could benefit from therapy and/or coaching of some sort. Therapy is not for crazy people -though some people swear I may be a little crazy. I think talking with a coach or a therapist shows that you are STRONG! Besides, a good therapist or coach will give you the tools you need to cope with whatever your issue(s) may be, so you no longer need them. And that is the same thing with a personal trainer, or at least this one. My goal is to give people the tools they need to live a healthier lifestyle thus they no longer “need” me!
Now that I have shared a little about my strengths, weaknesses and steps I’m taking or have taken to improve my lifestyle, I would love to hear from you! Do you want to live a healthier lifestyle? Then tell me, which areas of fitness are you a rockstar? Which areas could use a little help?
Keep fit & keep moving!