Unit 1 – Fitness Testing and Training
Components of Fitness
When you think about fitness, different things come to your mind, such as people who can run far, people with huge muscles and people that are slim and toned. Fitness is the ability to meet the demands of your environment. It relates to an optimal quality of life and includes social, spiritual, psychological, emotional and physical well-being and can be classified under the following areas:
- Physical/health-related fitness: this focuses on your health-related aspects of fitness, with good scores in components in this area meaning you have only a small chance of developing health problems.
- Skill-related fitness: this is a level of fitness that allows the individual to perform an activity, task or sport (this is also sometimes known as motor fitness).
Fitness involves six main components:
- Aerobic endurance
- Muscular endurance
Aerobic endurance is the time which you can exercise, without producing lactic acid (and it building up) in your muscles. In other words stamina, the amount of time you can maintain an aerobic use of energy (oxygen). Also known as cardiovascular endurance. The ability of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to supply the exercising muscles with oxygen to maintain the exercise is very important in simple activities such as, walking and it is also important in many sporting activities. The level of aerobic endurance is reflected by the length of time an aerobic exercise involving large muscle groups (e.g. running, cycling, and swimming) can be performed. It depends on the ability of the lungs and heart to take in and transport adequate amounts of oxygen to working muscles, and on the ability of the muscles to extract and use the oxygen efficiently. Poor aerobic endurance will affect other fitness components.
Another physical-related aspect of fitness, muscular endurance is needed where a specific muscle or muscle group makes repeated contractions over a significant period of time (possibly over a number of minutes). Examples include:
- A boxer making a repeated jab
- Continuous press-ups or sit-ups
- 400-metre sprint in athletics
Flexibility is the ability of each joint to move through the available range of motion for a specific joint. Examples would be stretching individual muscles or the ability to perform certain functional movements such as the lunge. The sit and reach test is most often used to test flexibility. Static flexibility and dynamic flexibility. Static flexibility is the range of movement that a muscle or joint can achieve and is limited by the structure of bones and joints, as well as factors such as muscle size and muscle tone. Dynamic flexibility is the range of movement that a muscle or joint can achieve while you are moving is limited by your levels of static flexibility and co-ordination. While flexibility is important for all sports, any joint should not become too flexible because an excessive range of movement can lead to injury.
A physical-related aspect of fitness, strength is the ability of a specific muscle or muscle group to exert a force in a single maximal contraction. When you think about strength, you may think about athletes such as weightlifters or boxers, but strength is required in most sports, just in varying degrees.
A skill-related component of fitness speed is required by an athlete to maximise performance. It is the ability to move over distance in the quickest possible time. Athletic sports such as the 100-metre sprint and long jump require high levels of speed. Speed endurance is a secondary element to speed and combines with anaerobic endurance. It is the ability of an athlete to make repeated sprints over a period of time and is important in different team sports. For example, a midfield player in football often has to make 10-30 metre sprints continuously throughout the game.