Being physical fit is not just about being able to run 10 miles or bench press 100 kg’s. It’s about incorporating a number of components into your fitness regime to ensure you create a balanced programme. Highly trained athletes mix up their training to ensure they are physically and mentally fit to compete and excel at their given sport.
I believe that the following 8 components are essential for all round physical fitness:
1. Speed is the ability to move rapidly. This can be improved with activities such as short burst sprinting, high intensity skipping or boxing.
2. Strength is key to develop muscular fitness and increase bone strength, through resistance training. You don’t have to go to the gym to reap the benefits of strength training. It can be improved with body weight exercises such as press ups, abdominal crunches, dips or leg squats.
3. Agility is the ability of the mind and body to react quickly and economically, whilst maintaining proper posture and alignment. Quick short burst movements such as jumping over small hurdles or running between cones will help to improve your agility.
4. Balance is the body’s ability to stabilise whilst conducting exercise. Balance deteriorates with age, so it’s important to conduct exercises that will improve and maintain your balance throughout your life. Simple things such as balancing on one leg for increased periods of time will start to improve your overall stability. Yoga is also a great form of exercise to help improve those balance receptors.
5. Flexibility allows the body to move through a minimum and maximum muscle range and can be improved with regular stretching. Improved flexibility in the muscles ensures better economy and helps prevent injuries. Stretching after exercise when the muscles are warm and receptive will improve your flexibility.
6. Endurance will increase the efficiency of your heart, lungs and blood vessels and their ability to transport oxygen throughout your body. It’s important to build up your endurance progressively by increasing the intensity, frequency and duration of activities such as walking, running, cycling or swimming. Hoovering can even raise the heart rate!
7. Nutrition is vital to allow your body to function correctly. It will help you maintain a healthy weight, reduce body fat and give you the energy required for physical activity. Think of your body as engine of a Formula 1 car. Give it high grade fuel and it will perform at its very best.
8. Mental fitness is just as important as physical fitness and should never be neglected. Your body can quite easily relax after a long day, however your mind sometimes doesn’t follow suit. Reading before you go to bed or meditation can help slow you down, decompress and calm the mind. Taking just a few minutes every day to focus on your mental fitness, can help you think more clearly.
Take a good look at your fitness regime, do you incorporate all of these components? If not, try giving them a go and see how they can improve your general fitness levels.
Make the Change!