As a Personal Trainer in Llanelli I know how important physical fitness is. Being physically fit does not just mean that you can run for a long time or lift heavy weights; there are 5 main components that make up physical fitness. If you are not physically fit not only will you struggle to exercise but you will struggle to carry out the simplest of tasks.
In my experience of being a personal trainer it is actually quite rare that people come to me and say ‘My goal is to get healthy’. It is normally lose weight or improve fitness, there is nothing wrong with this whatsoever as losing weight and improving fitness does inevitably boost your health.
I guess what I’m trying to say is, health is the most important thing. If we are unfit and overweight we are putting ourselves at great risk of encountering various diseases and illnesses which ruin our health.
At this moment in time the obesity levels in Wales have never been higher, as a society most of us are quite lazy. We’ll drive instead of walk, microwave instead of cook and watch TV instead of exercise. That is a generalisation, I know if you are reading this then you are not one of them, you are trying to learn and improve so I shall take you through the 5 components of physical fitness which will impact your health in a positive way.
Being physically fit enables you to function to an effective level through your day. It will mean you can carry out your usual activities and have enough energy left over for any extra things such as exercise which will help you to function to your full capacity.
To be classed as physically fit you need to have ability in each of the 5 components of fitness, which are:
1. Cardiovascular Fitness – This involves aerobic exercise (running, swimming, cycling etc.). Cardiovascular fitness is vital in terms of your health, is you train this way you will develop a stronger heart, lungs and circulation system. It is also great for fat loss as it helps you to burn calories.
There is a lot of debate whether long continuous cardio is better for losing weight than short intense cardio. I will not go into that today other than to say short intense cardio (high interval training) is much better, but you have to be physically fit to train that way first.
It is very important that when you exercise you do some form of cardiovascular exercise. To start off with just try walking 3-4 times per week, when you get more confident increase the walk to a jog and take it from there. Remember not to go hell for leather it is a gradual process.
2. Muscular Strength – This is one that the guys out there like. Muscular strength is defined as ‘The ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert maximal force against a resistance one time through a full range of motion’ (NASPE, 2005). You will improve your muscular strength by performing low reps (1-10) at around 75% of your one rep max. It isn’t only in the gym that your muscular strength is tested, lifting shopping bags from the trolley to the car will test your muscular strength.
3. Muscular Endurance – ‘The ability of a muscle or muscle group to exert a sub maximal force repeatedly over a period of time’ (NASPE, 2005). You can improve your muscular endurance through a range of activities as your muscular endurance will be different for each muscle group. Press ups, sit ups and dips are popular ways of improving your muscular endurance. A day gardening or painting is a real life test of how good your muscular endurance is. In order to improve your muscular endurance you need to be training at 40-60% of your one rep max with high reps (15-25).
Muscular strength and endurance training is great for losing body fat and improving appearance, this type of training raises your metabolism which helps you to burn fat! So if you want to drop a few pounds of fat then this will help, whether you want to start going to the gym or perform a makeover on the house/garden, it all helps.
4. Flexibility – Don’t worry I am not saying that we all need to be able to do the splits. A good amount of flexibility can make life a lot easier. Just try some light stretching at home a few times a week, working each muscle group, hold for 10-30seconds and you will see a great improvement in your flexibility. Improved flexibility will massively reduce your chances of getting injured. As your muscles will become more elastic and less likely to tear under pressure. Simple tasks such as bending down to pick something up will become much easier.
5. Motor Skills – Motor skills are important for performing your everyday tasks and can reduce the chances of getting injured. These include balance, reflexes, coordination, body awareness and movement. I will not go into too much detail on motor skills and will advise you to focus primarily on the first 5 to improve your physical fitness.
So there we have the main components which make up your physical fitness. Your ability in each will determine your level of physical fitness.
I hope this post has helped.
Personal Trainer Llanelli