"Coach Farida, I don't want to do fitness!" I have heard this too many times in different variations and tones. Before we address this strong feeling against fitness, we need to understand what "fitness" is in the first place and why we need it.
Physical Fitness can be broken down into 11 components, two different categories: Health-Related Fitness and Skill-Related Fitness. Why do we need to work on our physical fitness? It helps you prevent injury, avoid muscle soreness, perform better, and helps you carry out all your daily physical activities and/or exercises without any concerns.
Health-Related Fitness Components
1. Cardiovascular Endurance: refers to your body's ability to deliver oxygen to your muscles during exercise. In moderate to vigorous activities (such as swimming, running, cycling, sprinting, etc.), the more cardiovascular endurance you have, the longer you can sustain an elevated heart-rate. Can be improved in small bouts of doing something you love.
2. Muscular Endurance: refers to the ability of your muscles to continuously produce force during exercise without fatigue. Can be improved by targeting specific muscle groups that need the work.
3. Muscular Strength: refers to the ability of your muscles to produce physical energy and produce the maximum amount of force in one effort. Can be improved by resistance training.
4. Flexibility: refers to your muscles' and joints' ability to move in their full range of motion. Can be improved by stretching regularly.
5. Body Composition: refers to your body's balance of muscle, bone, fat and other parts of the body. Your overall weight does not matter as much as your body composition. Example: someone might have larger bones than yours and is therefore higher in overall weight, but is irrelevant if their body composition is balanced. Can be monitored by watching your body's ratio of lean muscle to stored fat.
Skill-Related Fitness Components
6. Speed: the ability to perform actions or cover distance quickly. Can be improved by doing sprint drills and quickness drills.
7. Power: the ability to combine speed and force. Can be improved by plyometric training and strength training.
8. Agility: the ability to change direction quickly without losing speed or power. Can be improved by agility ladder.
9. Balance: the ability to stabilize your body in movement and in stillness. Can be improved by core exercises and yoga.
10. Coordination: the ability to use your senses in combination with your actions and body movements. Can be improved by balance exercises and coordination drills.
11. Reaction Time: the ability to respond quickly to what you see, hear or feel. Can be improved by jumping rope exercises and reaction time drills.
Mastering those 11 physical fitness components will help you lead a stronger, fitter life in all your daily physical activities and also help you maintain a high level of performance as an athlete. Don't take your fitness sessions for granted. Think of them as building blocks of your athletic career and/or your plan of staying active for life. Some people want to be the strongest, fastest player on the field. Others want to be able to play with their grandchildren when they are older. Either way, your body will thank you now and will thank you again on the long run, for sure.