Are you a self-described yogi? Maybe you thrive off the ‘runner’s high’? Perhaps you have never stepped out of the weight room in your gym? Well, firstly, congratulations on being regularly active! There is an endless list of exercise benefits, which, if you are currently exercising, you know very well. If we go a step deeper, we need to ask ourselves whether our fitness is balanced.
There are four primary components of fitness (as described by canfitpro):
1. Cardiorespiratory capacity: the body’s ability to take in oxygen, deliver to cells and use it to create energy (also known as aerobic capacity). The benefits of training this system include: decreased resting heart rate, decreased risk of cardio disease, improved endurance, and increased cardiac output.
Examples: Time spent on cardio machines or in cardio based classes (cycling, BODYATTACK, step, aerobics), walking, running.
2. Muscular capacity: This includes muscular endurance, muscular strength and muscular power. The benefits of training this system include: increased strength and muscular endurance which makes daily activities easier, improved posture, increased metabolism, decrease risk of osteoporosis, and improved joint strength.
3. Flexibility: range of movement or amount of motion that a joint is capable of performing. We want to train this component to decrease risk of injury, improve range of motion, ease bodily movements and improve posture.
Examples: stretching and mind/body classes like yoga and BODYFLOW
4. Body composition: the proportion of fat-free mass to fat mass. Maintaining an ideal body composition leads to a decreased risk of cardio disease, improved metabolism, improved bodily function, and less strain on joints and organs.
Examples: combination of the possible results of the above three as well as healthy nutrition and lifestyle habits (stress, sleep, smoke free, limited alcohol).
These components are all given equal weighting because they are all very important to a person’s fitness and ultimately, their overall health (assuming that proper nutrition and lifestyle management plays a large role in an ideal body composition!). For this reason, you want to reflect on your exercise regime and see all four components represented in your typical week.
If only one of the components makes up the bulk of your exercise efforts, then you may be headed down the road of imbalance which can lead to mental burnout, injury and a weakness in one of the above mentioned categories.
An easy way to move towards balance is to make an effort to include activities from the categories you are not currently exploring.
If you are unsure of the quality of exercise you are doing and whether it will lead towards your fitness goals and towards a balanced approach, then it is in your best interest to speak to a professional Personal Trainer. They have been trained to create balanced programs that will lead you towards your goals in a safer and faster way.
Explore some new options to find an activity you enjoy from each component. Variety is the spice of life!