11 Components of Physical Fitness

One Leg Deadlift to improve balance and strength

Our Personal Fitness Trainers incorporate all components of physical fitness into our clients’ training programs. Physical fitness is defined as being in a general state of health and well-being or specifically the ability to perform aspects of sports or occupations. Being at a high level of physical fitness can be achieved through a combination of regular physical exercise and a healthy diet.

The 11 components of physical fitness play an important role in one’s daily activities. Improving upon all areas of physical fitness will help you to improve daily activities and maintain a healthy lifestyle.

The 11 components of physical fitness are comprised of 5 components that are considered the “most important” for being healthy and physically fit and 6 components that are more skill-related.

The 5 components of physical fitness that are most important, directly related to one’s health, and can be directly measured are: cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. These 5 components of fitness are typically taught and measured in elementry, secondary/middle, and high school physical education classes all around the world. Fitness centers, gyms, and health clubs use these health-related components of physical fitness to measure clients fitness levels in order to prescribe the appropriate exercise program for each individual.

Then there are 6 components of physical fitness that are more skill-related and/or sports-related. These include: agility, balance, coordination, power, reaction time, and speed. These skill-related components of physical fitness are directly related to sports and daily activities. These components can be measured and improved using very specific training techniques.

Please click here for YouTube videos to view a demonstration of all components of physical fitness in action.

Incorporating all components of physical fitness into your exercise program is a great way to improve your physical fitness level. However, exercise alone is not enough to be healthy. Nutrition plays a very important role in staying healthy and performing at a high level of fitness. Be sure to include a daily healthy diet full of vegetables, fruits, complex carbohydrates, and lean proteins. These healthy food choices will help you fuel your body for daily activities and exercise.

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11 Components of Physical Fitness Definitions and Examples:

  1. AgilityThe ability to stop, start, and change directions quickly. Agility is a skill-related component of physical fitness. (example: a football player cutting across the field, a gymnast doing a floor routine, or a soccor player dribbling the ball around defenders) One’s agility can be increased by doing specific footwork drills on an agility ladder, staggered tire formation, or any other type of obstacle course that requires the individual to adjust body position, speed, and direction quickly. Agility can be tested by timing indivduals running through a series of staggered cones or obstacles for a predetermined distance. View the video at bottom of page to see examples of agility in action.
  2. Balance – Controlling body positions while standing still or moving. Balance is a skill-related component of physical fitness. Balance can be tested by standing on one leg with eyes closed for 30 seconds on each leg. Balance can be improved by increasing one’s core strength. Specific training techniques using exercise equipment such as balance discs, Fit-Balls, BOSU, or standing on one leg while performing an exercise can help to improve one’s balance. (example: a gymnast on a balance beam, a surfer on a surfboard riding a wave, or a one leg deadlift pictured above)
  3. Body Composition The ratio of muscle to fat in the body. Having a high percentage of body fat compared to lean muscle has shown to increase risk of heart disease, certain cancers, strokes, and diabetes. Doing daily cardiovascular exercise and strength training, along with a healthy diet, will help to reduce body fat and increase lean muscle mass. Body Composition can be measured by skinfold calipers, bioelectric impedence, and hydrostatic weighing. Body composition is a health-related component of physical fitness. In addition to body composition, individuals should know their body mass index (BMI) as well. Click here for further information about body mass index and to determine your BMI.
  4. Cardiovascular Endurance Engaging in physical activity for long periods of time. (example: a cross-country runner, running a marthon, or jumping rope) Cardiovascular endurance can be measured by a stress test on a treadmill or stationary bike. Cardiovascular endurance is a health-related component of physical fitness.
  5. Coordination – Making movements work together smoothly. This usually consists of upper and lower body movements being performed at the same time. Coordination is a skill-related component of physical fitness. (example: performing a squat on a BOSU while doing a shoulder press, or a baseball pitcher throwing a pitch, or jumping rope) View the video at bottom of this page to see examples of coordination in action.
  6. Flexibility – Moving specific joints or a group of joints through a wide range of motion (ROM). Flexibility is a health-related component of physical fitness that plays a very important role in the functioning of all individuals especially athletes. (example: a gymnast doing a leg split, someone doing yoga, or bending over to touch your toes) Flexibility can be measured by a sit-and-reach test. There are three techniques that can be used to increase one’s flexibility: ballistic stretching, static stretching, and proprioceptive neuromuscular facilitation (PNF). Ballistic stretching is a short-duration, high-force stretch that uses bouncing movements to stretch muscles. Ballistic stretching is a high-risk injury type of stretching and is not recommended to the general public. Bring It Home Personal Training does not teach this stretching technique. Static stretching is the most common type of stretching that uses slow and steady movements that takes a muscle to a point of slight tension and then force is slowly applied to produce a greater stretch.  PNF stretching is more advanced and requires force applied against the stretching muscle while incorporating an isometric contraction of either the muscle being stretched or its opposite. This advanced type of stretching should be done with a professional trainer.
  7. Muscular Endurance – Using muscles repetitively without fatiguing (example: long-distance cycling, using a rowing machine, or doing push-ups until fatigue has been reached) Muscular Endurance can be measured by a 60 second push-up test. Muscular endurance is a health-related component of physical fitness.
  8. Muscular Strength – Produces force using muscles. Strength is a health-related component of physical fitness. (example: performing a bench press,  pull-ups, biceps curls, or lunge pictured below) Muscular Strength can be measured by performing a 1 rep max test on the bench press.

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    Walking Lunge to improve strength and coordination

  9. Power – The ability to use muscle strength quickly. Power is a skill-related component of physical fitness. (example: plyometric training,  jumping exercises, or in track and field: the running long jump or high jump) How can power be improved or increased? Power can be increased by three general ways: increase the force-producing capabilities of muscles; decrease the time it takes to move across a distance due to faster speed; and increase the distance a force acts on one’s body. Total body strength training, increased flexibility through stretching, sport specific training and improved technique, sharp mental focus, and increased reaction time are many ways to improve overall power. Power can be tested by performing a vertical jump test. View the video at the bottom of this page to see examples of power in action.
  10. Reaction Time – How quickly an individual responds to a stimulus. Reaction time is a skill-related component of physical fitness. (example: playing tennis/table tennis; a baseball player swinging at a pitch; or a soccer goalie saving a ball kicked at the goal) Reaction time can be tested in a variety of ways. A simple test is a Reaction Time Tester found at TopEndSports.com. Click here to take the test. View the video at the bottom of this page to see examples of reaction time in action.
  11. Speed – Performing a movement or covering a distance in a short period of time. Speed is a skill-related component of physical fitness. (example: sprinting 50 meters, swimming 50 meters, speed skating) Speed can be measured by timing a 40 yard dash. View the video at the bottom of this page to see examples of speed in action.

The 5 components of physical fitness that are directly health-related and the 6 components of physical fitness that are skill-related (or sports-related) should be incorporated into your daily exercise routines. Combining all 11 components of fitness into your exercise program will certainly make you stronger, faster, improve your balance and flexibilty, and you will be able to perform daily routine tasks without fatique and exhaustion.

Images and Video of Exercises that Improve the 11 Components of Physical Fitness

Please visit our new and improved Gallery for more exercises that demonstrate the components of physical fitness in action. Be sure to click on images for name of exercise and components of physical fitness being improved.

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Push-ups increase upper body strengh and endurance

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Biceps curls increase muscular strength and endurance

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This basic plank strengthens the overall core muscles

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Squat on BOSU with medicine ball improves balance and coordination while increasing lower body strength and core strength

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Straight arm plank improves balance and increases upper body and core strength and endurance

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Bridge and leg raise improves core, glutes, and hamstring strength

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Biceps curls balancing on one leg on BOSU improves balance, coordination, muscular strength and endurance