Considering all the detailed online advice, like recommendations for how much cardio is good, and strength training plans for leg day at the gym, we can sometimes lose sight of what are the main elements of overall physical fitness. After all, even if you do tons of cardio and crush it on leg day, you will not necessarily be fit without an overall physical fitness plan.
The Main Elements of Physical Fitness
We say “main” because you won’t ever have overall fitness without all of the following elements in place. But having all the following elements in place does not guarantee fitness either. They’re a great start though!
- A Healthy Heart – This is where that cardio comes in. A healthy heart and lungs is the basis for physical fitness and a healthy lifestyle. Every overall fitness plan should include regular cardiovascular activities to strengthen your heart.
- Strength Training – Don’t mistake this for bodybuilding. The goal of strength training, or weight training, is to improve the fitness of your muscles. Not only does better muscle fitness help your heart health, it keeps your bones strong, makes aerobic exercises easier, prevents injury, helps you maintain a healthy weight and keeps you looking younger.
- Muscle Endurance – Luckily, this one gets a boost from most types of cardio exercises too. In addition to all the benefits of strength training, endurance muscle strength makes it easier to do many of the other elements of physical fitness.
- Movement & Flexibility – If you’ve ever felt even a little pain when you get up from the couch, you have an idea of what happens to your body when it doesn’t move for a while. Combined with flexibility exercises, especially those that keep your joints in shape, movement and flexibility training reduces body pain and injuries and improves posture, balance and strength.
- A Healthy, Balanced Diet – This one might be the most difficult of all. When we say healthy, we mean a diet centred around healthy, whole foods, without overeating or undereating. Balanced means getting the macronutrients your body needs in the best proportion for your body. The National Academy of Medicine in the United States recommends the following acceptable macronutrient distribution ranges (AMDR):
- 45–65% of dietary calories from carbohydrates
- 20–35% of dietary calories from fats
- 10–35% of dietary calories from proteins
You must consult with your doctor before starting any physical fitness routine. Stop any activity if you feel pain while doing it. And visit our Markham physiotherapy clinic if you need treatment for pain, sore muscles or strained joints.
If you enjoyed this post, check out our recent article “Chiropractor Vs Physiotherapist: Who Should You See?”