Are you really fit?

2 minutes

Ask your average person whether they exercise and they will almost certainly answer yes. Many of them will even consider themselves fit. Then ask them what exercise they actually do and you will get a variety of responses: “Well my job keeps me very busy," “I am always running around after the kids," or “I run every morning". Sure these things can all be draining on your energy but are these people truly fit - or are they just very good at a few select activities?


The 9 facets of fitness

There are nine different aspects to fitness and you cannot truly be considered fit unless you are able to perform in each of these areas. The fitness skills I am talking about are:

  • endurance
  • stamina
  • strength
  • flexibility
  • power
  • coordination
  • agility
  • balance
  • accuracy

By definition, if you are not great at any of these 9 facets then your body is performing at less than its best. These various facets of fitness are not just arbitrary measurements either. No matter what your lifestyle is, these skills are going to be essential for you in your everyday life. Be it picking up the kids running for the bus or avoiding falls and fractures these skills are essential to your quality of life. Not only that they are essential to your health.

For instance, it is well known that endurance exercise is good for your heart. But did you know that doing interval training - where your heart rate goes rapidly up and then recovers - helps to prepare your heart to cope with sudden increases in demand (like when you're stressed) hence reducing your risk of heart attack? Interval training has also been shown to increase metabolic rate improve lung function and reduce stress.

So as you can see these different facets are not just good for your body - they are essential for your body just like your dietary requirements. They will help you in many more ways than just merely athletic performance.


Achieving fitness

How can you train in order to exercise all of these 9 areas? The first and most important component is that you need to keep your training regime broad and constantly varied. If possible, weights, endurance, sprints, stretches, squats, agility exercises and more all need to form part of your well-rounded routine.

Secondly, you need to make sure that you are doing lots of compound activities. If you try and do all 9 components separately you will be training all day and you still won't get the same effect that you would by doing several together. For example, doing a series of squats correctly can help you to improve your endurance, stamina, strength, flexibility, power, coordination, agility, balance and accuracy all at once.

Interval training is also a vital component of a well-rounded exercise routine. Put simply, interval training is repeating short spurts of high-intensity exercise with breaks in between. By working short and sharp this can allow you to improve your endurance whilst improving your power and strength at the same time.

To do a complete work-out using all 10 components and compound activities will require good technique and will need to be personalised to your level of fitness. So unless you are already very knowledgeable about health and fitness and a wide range of exercises it may be a good idea to get yourself a personal trainer.

Whatever you do if you can incorporate some more well-rounded exercise into your regular training routine you will not only perform better but you will be a lot healthier as well.


Written by Dr Brett Hill

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