Hello! Welcome back to FitRim blog and let me ask you today how fit are you?
Do not get offended in any way when you come across this question either from others or from yourself, because every person has a different fitness level. There are various components in measuring fitness and you will definitely differ with any other person in each of these components. The best part is, in whichever fitness level you are, you are good to start your fitness journey and you will only step your level up going forward.
Let us go through the 5 important fitness components to watch out for, if you really want to know your current fitness level. If you are a full-fledged athlete or a sports person, of course there are few more components to add on to, which will make sure to cover in a separate article. But, if you are a common person and like to keep yourself fit in order to stay happy, live longer and healthier, then you are basically being just sensible and hats off to you, because this basic sense is just not a part of life for many! For you, these 5 components will more than serve the purpose of having a fit lifestyle.
- Cardiovascular Health
- Muscular Strength
- Muscular Endurance
- Body Composition
A healthy heart is the primary requirement for a healthy body. Your heart pumps blood to every part of your body and without sufficient blood being pumped, your body parts have insufficient amounts of oxygen and all the nutrients required for their nourishment. This is because, it is the blood that carries oxygen and all the food nutrients that your repiratory and digestive systems process respectively.
Any activity you do needs energy and energy is derived from oxygen and food nutrients (carbs, fats, proteins, vitamins, Minerals, Water) which is supplied by blood. So, your physical and mental abilities depend majorly on your cardiovascular health. This is the reason people with good cardiovascular health can carry out intense workouts without much exhaustion, as their heart can pump more volume of blood per stroke and hence can supply sufficient oxygen required for the muscles under continuous action.
Easy cardiovascular fitness measurements include Blood Pressure and 3 minute Step Test, other methods being VO2 Max test, Treadmill test etc., Keep your heart healthy and this way you are being a help to your body in keeping up with the activities you do with it.
Muscular Strength & Endurance:
Exercise science says that strength is the maximum amount of force that your muscle can produce in one repetition, whereas endurance is the ability to exert force and work towards an activity for long periods of time (i.e either one rep for long time or large number of reps over a period of time). You can say muscular strength matters to you if you are lifting your best weight or if you are sprinting and muscular endurance matters to you if you are running a marathon.
Whichever component it may be, the muscles here majorly refer to skeletal muscles which are the ones you use consciously and thus are one type of voluntary muscles. Not only during workouts, muscular strength and endurance matters in many of your day to day activities and it is important to keep a track of these components.
For example, you can use the following for measuring muscular strength:
Upper body: The maximum weight you can Bench Press in 1 rep
Mid body: Number of Sit Ups you can do in 1 minute
Lower body: The maximum weight you can Squat with (or) the maximum weight you can Leg Press in 1 rep
For example, you can use the following for measuring muscular endurance:
Upper body: Number of Push Ups you can do in 1 minute
Mid body: The maximum period of time you can hold a perfect Plank
Lower body: The maximum period of time you can hold a perfect Wall Squat
Flexibility is the ability to make movements at the joints through a complete range of motion. The range here improves when the muscle fibres surrounding the joint are flexible enough. When the range improves, it automatically effects the activities and certain exercise movements positively. This improves your overall ability handle things in day to day life. Also, more the flexibility lesser are the injuries that might occur to you. This is the reason stretching takes very important place and time in a workout session. Make sure to improve your flexibility everyday.
There are many flexibility measurements, out of which the simplest is Sit & Reach test. Here, you sit with your legs extended and lean your upper body forward with your hands extended & measure how far you are able to reach forward.
This shows the percentages of fat, muscle, bone & water in your body. More than having correct weight, the important thing is to have correct composition of weights in your body. The lean mass vs the fat mass makes a lot of difference in your overall fitness.
Two of the easy and well known methods are fat percentage using caliper and BMI. Easiest way for measuring fat percentage is by using the 3 skin fold test using the caliper and put the measurements into the well designed calculators to calculate the fat%. BMI is again a well known measurement to make sure your body weight is in line with your height. Make sure that these two values are within the fit range defined and you should be good to go with your body composition.
Now that you know the 5 measurements to check your fitness level, please do not keep measuring them daily or weekly. Recheck your fitness levels only after 4-6 weeks from the time you have last checked them. Because, as you are working towards getting fit, changes won’t happen in a day or a week. Changes take time to happen, just keep working!
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