Friday, November 5, 2010

Weekly Weigh-in: 11/05/2010

Weight: 124.2
Body Fat: 20.2%
Measurements: 34"-26"-33.5"-17.5"

Physical fitness, as defined by the American Council on Exercise, is the combination of the physical components that constitute well-being, which enables an individual to function at an optimal level.

There are five major components of physical fitness:

Muscular strength is the maximum force that a muscle, or group of muscles can exert during a contraction.  Every time you pick up an umbrella, a baby or just the groceries you are utilizing muscular strength.  In the absence of any regular resistance exercise, as you age muscle mass will deteriorate causing you to become weaker and weaker.  Subsequently it will become more difficult to execute simple daily tasks such as carrying the groceries in from the car.

Muscular endurance is how long you can perform a particular muscular action over a sustained period of time.  Every time you get out there to shovel your driveway in our lovely New England winters, you demonstrate your muscular endurance.  I mean, who wouldn't want to train their muscles so they could shovel snow for hours on end?

The most commonly known component, cardiovascular endurance is arguably the most important. Cardiovascular endurance is defined as the maximal capacity of the heart, blood vessels and lungs to deliver oxygen and nutrients to working muscles so that the energy can be produced.  The greater an individual's cardiorespiratory endurance, the longer they can sustain physical activity without becoming fatigued. 

Flexibility is a component of physical fitness because you are required to have an adequate level to perform simple daily tasks, such as bending over to pick up something you dropped or reaching for the highest shelf in a grocery store.  Flexibility also helps you maintain correct postural alignment.

I have been pushing this one for a long while now, so it pleases me to see that it is listed as a quality of physical fitness.  Essentially, body composition is the proportion of lean body mass to body fat.  Lean body mass is every type of tissue except adipose (fat) tissue.  This includes but is not limited to bones, muscles, skin and hair.  Excess body fat storage, known to the world as overweight or obesity, has been associated with a wide range of health problems (e.g. hypertension, type 2 diabetes).  Despite the common associations with the terms overweight and obesity, even seemingly thin people can have excess adipose tissue.  This aspect of physical fitness is why I strongly endorse getting your body composition checked.

While not considered to be a major component, mind/body vitality is another element to the total health of an individual. ACE defines this as an individuals ability to minimize or alleviate unnecessary stress and tension from the body through physical exercise and mental focus.

I know that one of my weaknesses is listed in there, and that's flexibility. It's definitely something I should strive to work a little more at.

What about you, my readers? What is your weakest of the five components and are you actively working to fix it?