The 5 Essential Components of Fitness

Health & Fitness
Fitness & Health

According to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), overall fitness is made up of five main components:

* Cardiorespiratory endurance
* Muscular strength
* Muscular endurance
* Body composition
* Flexibility

Cardiorespiratory Endurance

Cardiorespiratory endurance is the ability of the body’s circulatory and respiratory systems to supply fuel during sustained physical activity.

To improve your cardiorespiratory endurance, try activities that keep your heart rate elevated at a safe level for a sustained length of time such as walking, swimming, or bicycling. The activity you choose does not have to be strenuous to improve your cardiorespiratory endurance. Start slowly with an activity you enjoy, and gradually work up to a more intense pace.

Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the ability of the muscle to exert force during an activity.

The key to making your muscles stronger is working them against resistance, whether that be from weights or gravity. If you want to gain muscle strength, try exercises such as lifting weights.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance is the ability of the muscle to continue to perform without fatigue.

To improve your muscle endurance, try cardiorespiratory activities such as walking, jogging, bicycling, or dancing.

Body Composition

Body composition refers to the relative amount of muscle, fat, bone, and other vital parts of the body.

A person’s total body weight (what you see on the bathroom scale) may not change over time. But the bathroom scale does not assess how much of that body weight is fat and how much is lean mass (muscle, bone, tendons, and ligaments). Body composition is important to consider for health and managing your weight!


Flexibility is the range of motion around a joint. Good flexibility in the joints can help prevent injuries through all stages of life.

If you want to improve your flexibility, try activities that lengthen the muscles such as swimming or a basic stretching program.

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