• The 5 components of physical fitness are used in schools, gyms and healthclubs to measure your level of physical fitness. 

    The fivecomponents of physical fitness are:

    • Cardiovascular endurance
    • Muscle strength
    • Muscle endurance
    • Flexibility
    • Body composition

    These 5 components measure your body's ability to use oxygen as fuel, your muscularstrength and endurance, the flexibility of your joints and your total body fat.Total fitness is defined by how well your body performs in each of 5categories.

    A range of testsare used to measure these components. Once you've been tested in all fivecomponents, a physical fitness regimen can be tailored to your specific needs.

    CardiovascularEndurance - refers to theability of your heart and lungs to work together to fuel your body with oxygen.The Cooper Run is most often used to test cardiovascular endurance. Aerobicconditioning, like jogging, swimming and cycling, can help improvecardiovascular endurance.

    Muscle Strength - refers to the amount of force a musclecan exert, in a single effort. Exercises like the bench press, leg press orbicep curl might be used to measure muscle strength.

    Muscle Endurance - refers to the ability of a muscle toperform a continuous effort without fatiguing. Cycling, step machines and situp tests are often used to measure muscular endurance.

    Flexibility - refers to the ability of each joint toexpress its full range of motion. Flexibility can be tested by stretchingindividual muscles or by performing exercises such as the lunge or the sit andreach.

    Body Composition- refers to the amount ofbody fat you have, versus the amount of lean muscles, bones and organs. Thereare several tests that can be used to measure body composition. The mostreliable is underwater weighing, but due to the size and expense of theequipment, this type of test isn't common. Many doctors, gyms and health clubsuse a pinch test instead.

    ImprovingIndividual Components

    Once you've hadyour own 5 components of physical fitness measured, you can use this informationto form a fitness regimen tailored to your needs. If you're weak incardiovascular endurance, you'll need aerobic conditioning in the form ofjogging, swimming, cycling or even sports. Strength training exercises can helpimprove muscular strength; a strength training exercise that uses low weightand high reps can help improve muscular endurance.  Yoga and Pilates can help improve overallflexibility. Following good exercise practices can also help; warm up andstretch before your workouts, then cool down and stretch after to keep yourmuscles from shortening. Flexibility often improves rapidly with practice. Themore you exercise, the lower your body mass index should become as you loseweight.

    An effectivefitness program includes all 5 components of physical fitness. While it'sacceptable to emphasize exercises for one or more weaker components, be surenot to neglect the others. Also, any strenuous exercise in one muscle group orfitness component should be followed by 24 to 48 hours of rest for that area,to allow it to recover.