Three elements of fitness

Are you physically fit? Physical fitness refers to a person’s ability to be physically active. Physical fitness is a critical element to a long and healthy life. 

Physical fitness encompasses (meaning, is made up of) three basic parts: 

  1. endurance  (think: the ability to run away from the kid who’s “it”)
  2. strength  (think: the ability to cross the monkey bars) 
  3. flexibility  (think: the ability to bend down to tie your shoes)

Let’s break it down:

Endurance (stamina) is the power of sustaining (staying the course) an unpleasant or difficult process or situation without giving up. Building up endurance will allow you to work out for longer amounts of time without feeling as tired. You can gain endurance – stamina – by pushing yourself and increasing the length of time you can run or bike or swim, etc.

Strength is the ability or state of being strong. Strength will allow you to run faster, jump higher, and hit harder. People gain strength from things like lifting weights, doing push ups, chin ups and sit ups.

Flexibility is the ability to move joints through their full-range of motion. Flexibility allows you to perform nearly all activities more effectively and can improve your balance and coordination. Also, flexibility allows the soft elastic tissues connecting your bones to be healthy – and boy will you be happy about that later in life when you can continue to do all things you love! 

A truly physically fit person maintains proficiency (meaning, high ability) in all three of these areas. That means the person who looks great in a bathing suit or the person who can run a marathon may not actually be completely physically fit. A deficit (meaning, a weakness) in any one of these areas will cause an imbalance and likely lead to problems.

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