Physical fitness has multiple facets. Training plans can incorporate different elements to hit all of these or concentrate on just one depending on the goal. Let’s look at each one and discuss what you can do to improve your own fitness.
1. Muscular Fitness
This is where all of the focus is usually on. People equate good muscle tone with fitness and they aren’t completely wrong. To be fit, you should have a certain amount of strength and endurance. These should at least be enough to help you move about the world easily and pain-free. For those who are engaged in sports, they need a higher level of muscular fitness to be able to perform well in their chosen discipline. Resistance training can build strength. This can be as basic as doing a push-up or squat with no equipment. Once bodyweight becomes too easy, incorporate weights to increase the challenge. Increases the repetitions improves the ability to withstand fatigue.
2. Cardiovascular Fitness
Understand that the body does not run on muscles alone. Every movement requires energy which is delivered through the blood stream to the areas that need it. The circulatory system consisting of the heart and the blood vessels should be efficient enough to deliver enough fuel to keep us going. Otherwise, we will feel weak and not be able to continue. The respiratory system is also important as oxygen intake is necessary for our internal engine. One of the signs of poor fitness is getting out of breath quickly and having an elevated heart rate. Develop cardiovascular or aerobic fitness through slow but prolonged activities like jogging.
3. Anaerobic Fitness
Of course, not every workout will be long and slow. You would need to develop your anaerobic fitness as well. This requires more intense efforts that elevate the heart rate on purpose for brief periods. Exercises meant to develop this will be quite challenging and you will be using up your fuel stores faster than you can replace them. Short sprints are often used. Warm up for 15 minutes or so by jogging slowly to get the muscles ready. Then get into position and sprint across a long straight path going all out for a few seconds. Rest and catch your breath before going another round.
Flexibility improves range of motion. This is more important in some sports than others but having a good amount is always a nice thing. It prevents injuries such as muscle strains and may increase performance in sports that require bending movements like high jumps or pole vault. Common exercises to enhance this includes stretching and yoga. Be sure to get warmed up before attempting any of these exercises. Don’t force anything as overstretching can lead to injuries instead of preventing them.