There are 4 health related components of fitness, and your exercise routine and lifestyle should take in to account all of them. If you neglect any of these, then you will likely suffer for it sooner or later.
The trick is to find a balance in your training to work each of these components to suit your personal needs.
The 4 health related components of fitness
The most obvious one to us all is body composition. There comes a time when we all need to lose weight (or gain weight), so this component of fitness tends to be closest to home.
It basically refers to the amount of fat you have in relation to lean tissue, such as muscles, etc. The more fat you have, the greater the health risk and the less you will be able to perform aerobically. So keeping your fat to an acceptable level is imperative to your wellbeing. For men, your fat levels should range from 10 percent to 25 percent of your total body mass. For women it is between 12 percent and 25 percent. The best way to control your body composition is through counting calories. If you want to lose weight then you should ensure calorie deficit. Or calorie surplus if you want to gain weight. Either way, the right foods in the right quantities is essential.
Strength is another component of fitness. But there are different types of strength. Limit strength refers to the greatest amount of force you can apply in an all out effort. Though useful, and we all require some degree of limit strength, it is not the most useful with regard to health related fitness.
Strength endurance on the other hand refers to your ability to apply a force continuously, over and over. This is much more useful to your health related fitness and wellbeing. You might have a job where you are on your feet all day, or need to manual handle all day long. A good strength endurance will only make your life easier.
Then there is your aerobic capacity. This refers to your ability to utilise the oxygen you breath to convert your energy stores in to usable energy. The greater your aerobic capacity, the more sub-maximal exercise you will be able to perform. Exercises like running, cycling, swimming, rowing, etc., will be easier.
This is very important for your health related fitness and wellbeing. If you work on your aerobic capacity then you will find every task become easier and easier, and you will feel like you have more energy at the end of the day.
And the final component of fitness is flexibility. This refers to the range of movement around a joint, and is dictated by the stiffness is your soft tissues. That is, the stiffness in your muscles, ligaments, and tendons.
Having good flexibility is vital for reducing the risk of injury, and increasing the longevity of a joint. And this becomes more and more important as we grow older.
A good stretching and flexibility routine should be a regular part of your lifestyle.
Finding a balancing between the health related components of fitness
As mentioned above, you need to find the right balance between the components of fitness. If you are a runner or long distance swimmer, then working your limit strength and ignoring your body composition would hinder your progress or ruin it entirely. You would want to concentrate heavily on your aerobic capacity and strength endurance.
However, for health related fitness and your general wellbeing, you should consider all of the components mentioned above. There is also another good reason to work on your components of fitness. When we exercise our bodies release endorphins, which are our natural feel good chemicals. They elevate our mood, making us feel good. Exercise has also been shown to help with depression!
So make exercise a part of your lifestyle. Work all the components of fitness and increase your general wellbeing.