The 3 Components of Physical Fitness: 5 Ways to Improve Each

How in shape are you? You probably think that you’re reasonably healthy — but do you pay attention to each component of physical fitness? 

A complete workout regimen improves your heart and lungs while building strength and improving flexibility. Fortunately, you can get all three in at least five different ways. Here’s how. 

Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular fitness works your heart and lungs. Considering that as many as 250,000 deaths a year result from insufficient physical activity, it benefits you to get that ticker pumping. Research indicates the following benefits.

  • Increase in exercise tolerance: You won’t huff and puff so much when climbing a flight of stairs. 
  • Reduced blood pressure: High blood pressure can lead to heart failure or attack. 
  • Weight loss: While overweight people can be healthy, carrying excess pounds does increase your risk of heart disease and diabetes. 
  • Lowered cholesterol: Exercise decreases your LDL, or bad cholesterol, while raising your HDL, or good cholesterol. 

How can you reap the multiple benefits of cardiovascular workouts? Try one of the five activities below. 

1. Running or Walking 

Walking and running are terrific cardiovascular activities because they require little to no financial commitment beyond a pair of comfortable, well-fitting shoes. You can get started in minutes a day and work your way up to lengthier, more intense workouts. 

What if you have arthritis that makes such activities painful? If you have access to a pool, walking in the water eases stress on your joints while providing added resistance. 

2. Biking 

Biking isn’t only a form of cardiovascular exercise — it can help you reduce your carbon footprint and save the planet. According to the Institute for Transportation and Development Policy, you could help reduce urban levels by 11% through pedal power. 

3. Hiking or Climbing 

While all exercise improves your mood by releasing endorphins, outdoor workouts may double the benefit. If you have a nature area near you, head out to explore. 

4. Dance 

Dance is another fabulous cardiovascular workout that you can do nearly anywhere — the only limit is your confidence. You can find many videos on YouTube or TikTok to practice your moves, or merely dock your iPhone and boogie down. 

5. Cardio Kickboxing 

Got stress? Punch it away through cardio kickboxing. You don’t need a heavy bag or gloves, only the desire to hook, jab and sidekick your way to a healthier heart and lungs. 

Strength Training 

The second component of total fitness involves strength training. Without resistance, your muscles begin to atrophy from underuse, even if you eat your spinach like Popeye. Try the following five activities. 

1. Free Weights

Free weights allow you a wider range of motion than machines. Additionally, you can perform compound movements, such as a squat with an overhead press. 

2. Weight Machines 

Don’t count out weight machines, though. These devices isolate muscles more effectively than free weights. Plus, they can help you maintain correct form. 

3. Resistance Bands

Resistance bands offer the advantage of taking up hardly any space. When you’re not using yours, slide them under the couch. You can pull them out to perform a few reps while your partner flips through the latest Netflix selections or toss them in a suitcase when you travel. 

4. Bodyweight Moves 

There’s nothing wrong with old-fashioned squats and pushups. You don’t need to add weight — your body offers all the resistance you need. 

5. Everyday Objects

If you want to add some weights but are tight on cash, why not grab a pair of milk jugs to perform biceps curls? If you can roll an old truck tire, you have some massive strength indeed. 

Flexibility 

The final component of a well-rounded fitness program is flexibility. Sadly, it often goes overlooked. Here are five exercise forms to continue adding to your repertoire to decrease your chances of injury and play longer. 

1. Barre

Barre builds on the techniques you learn in ballet, which involve a ton of stretching. Elevating your leg alone releases your hamstring muscles and can ease low-back pain. 

2. Ashtanga Yoga 

Are you a hardcore athlete? For a gentle practice, the Ashtanga form of yoga will push your body to the limit while improving flexibility. 

3. Pilates 

Pilates counts both as resistance training and flexibility work. If you are short on time, take advantage of this two-for-one deal. 

4. Partner Stretching

Grab your partner — but don’t spin them ’round and ’round. Instead, help each other stretch. The intimacy may bring you closer and lead to other things. 

5. Yin or Restorative Yoga 

If you have a chronic pain condition, make yin yoga your best friend. This gentle restorative form doesn’t burn a ton of calories. Still, it does get the synovial fluid and hyaluronic acid flowing around your joints to lubricate them while increasing your range of motion. 

Get All Three Components of Fitness for Your Healthiest Body Yet  

You need all three components of fitness — strength, cardiovascular training and flexibility — to build your healthiest body yet. Use the exercises above to get in the best shape of your life.