The Top 5 Components For The Most Effective Workout
You’ve made the decision to become more physically active. But where do you begin? Did you know that there are five components to fitness?
According to the American Heart Association, you should ask yourself (or your doctor) to help you access where you fall within these five components of fitness by recording:
- Your pulse rate before and after walking one mile
- How long it takes to walk one mile
- How many push ups you can do in one set
- How far you can reach forward while seated on the floor with your legs in front of you (and whether your legs are totally straight or bent)
- Your waist circumference
- Your body mass index
Here’s what you need to know in order to optimize your workout and, ultimately, your overall health.
1. Cardiovascular Endurance
This component of fitness is also commonly called aerobic fitness. It includes anything that will keep your body producing a high heart rate for a long period of time. The reason it’s number one? Endurance activity keeps your heart, lungs and circulatory system healthy and improves your overall fitness. Cardiovascular fitness allows your heart and lungs to supply oxygen-rich blood to the working muscle tissues. It also allows for the muscle to use oxygen to produce energy for movement for a sustained duration. As a result, according to the American Heart Association, practicing cardiovascular endurance may also reduce your risk of many diseases like diabetes, heart disease and stroke.
Examples of this fitness component include walking briskly, running or jogging, dancing, swimming, biking or playing spots like basketball or soccer.
2. Muscular Strength
This is the amount of force a muscle can produce with a single maximal effort (like one rep). The American Heart Association recommends strength training at least twice per week. This type of fitness gives you the ability to perform everyday activities and helps protect your body from injury. “Stronger muscles also lead to a boost in your metabolic rate, which means you’ll burn more calories.”
Examples of this fitness component include lifting the heaviest weight you can manage at one time, but it’s not like professional body building. Simple weight-bearing exercises that use free weights or machines may work best for you.
3. Muscular Endurance
Different than muscular strength, this is the ability of muscle fibers to exert force and movement and remain active for a long period of time. It includes your muscles ability to resist, withstand, recover from and have immunity to trauma, wounds and fracture. You may already have high endurance capabilities in your core, for example, but not your arms.
Examples of muscular endurance include using light weights at a higher rep count, using your body as a weight like in planking or using increasing your resistance on your spinning bike.
Flexibility exercises stretch your muscles and can help your body stay flexible. These exercises may not improve your endurance or strength but being flexible allows for more freedom of movement and helps with your everyday activities. The best time to do flexibility exercises? In order to stretch farther without tightness or pain, the AHA recommends flexibility exercises when your muscles are already warmed up like after a quick walk or jog.
Stretch 3-5 times during each session. You may also want to try our yoga or Pilates.
5. Body Composition
One of the most dreaded components of fitness is the body composition aspect (think back to high school when your gym teacher made you record it!). Body composition is used to describe the percentage of fat, bone, water and muscle you have in order to determine how lean you are. It does not actually refer to your weight in pounds or what kind of figure you have.
This final fitness component is actually one of the simplest – if you are working on all four other forms, this one will fall into place naturally.