Components of Fitness

4 min read
Tuesday, 26 July 2016

When planning a well-rounded exercise program, it is important to understand the five components of physical fitness and how your training affects them. The components include: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition. In general, achieving an adequate level of fitness in all five categories is essential to good health.


Cardiorespiratory Endurance

This component of fitness relies on proper functioning of your heart, lungs, and blood vessels to transport oxygen to your tissues and carry away metabolic waste products. Physical activity that trains for cardiorespiratory endurance focuses on repetitive, dynamic, and prolonged movements using major muscle groups. You are improving this component when you are jogging, cycling, swimming, hiking, and walking.


Muscular Fitness

While there are five components of fitness, muscular strength and muscular endurance can fall under the same umbrella of muscular fitness. Both of these components focus on training your neuromuscular system, but in different ways. Muscular strength refers to the maximum amount of force a muscle can produce at one time, also referred to as a one repetition maximum. You can train your muscles to be stronger by lifting heavy weights for a few repetitions. Common exercises that focus on muscular strength include loaded squats, leg press, and bench press.


Muscular endurance is the ability of a muscle to resist fatigue while exerting a submaximal amount of force. Essentially, it is a measure of how long a muscle can withstand a prolonged contraction or many repeated contractions. Training for muscular endurance requires you to perform many repetitions at a lower weight than you would use for muscular strength. Some common exercises that assess muscular endurance include pushups, sit-ups, and pull-ups – all performed to a point of fatigue.

Even if you are not specifically training for muscular strength or endurance, they are still very important for daily living. Muscular strength, for example, must be called upon when lifting boxes and moving furniture. Meanwhile, your leg muscles must have enough endurance to walk long distances. Even the muscles of your core must stay “on” to support your posture when seated and standing.



Flexibility is the ability of your joints to move through a range of motion. This component of fitness helps to prevent muscular imbalances and allows you to move about with ease. Two common ways to improve flexibility are static stretching (holding a stretch for 30-60 seconds) and dynamic stretching (holding a stretch for a few seconds and repeating for multiple reps). Your heart rate response will vary with the type of flexibility training you perform; in general, your heart rate will be at or slightly above your resting value.


Body Composition

The last component of physical fitness, body composition, refers to the ratio of fat mass to fat-free mass (such as muscle, bone, organs, and more) in your body. Overall health generally improves when you have a lower amount of fat mass (or lower percent body fat) and higher amount of lean muscle mass. While your heart rate will not necessarily reflect your percentage of body fat, you can use your MYZONE belt while training to make specific changes in your body composition (more on this in a future blog post).


Although you can wear your MYZONE belt when participating in any component of fitness, the components you will receive the most feedback during will be cardiorespiratory (cardio) training (i.e. running, biking, kickboxing) and muscular fitness training (i.e. circuit training, resistance training). Your MYZONE belt is providing you with your heart rate in beats per minute as well as the percentage of maximum heart rate you are working at. Cardio training and muscular fitness training are the components of fitness that will elevate your heart rate most effectively.  

You will also see an estimate of the number of calories you have burned during your session as well as the number of MEPS points you have earned. Again, cardio and muscular fitness training are going to pack the most punch when it comes to burning calories and earning MEPs.

Track which components of fitness you participate in the most by using the Activity Calendar in the MYZONE App.  You can enter the type of training you did at the top of the screen for each move.  Monitor your patterns to see when you are earning the most MEPS and burning the most calories.
We would like to follow your progress!  When you complete a move, post it to Facebook or Twitter and use the hashtags: #myzonemoves #fitness #progress.  

Keep moving forward!

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