Five Components of Fitness

Here is a poster of the five components of fitness. I think it’s pretty good. Anything missing? What do you think?

13 thoughts on “Five Components of Fitness

  1. Looks okay to me, although it might be argued that flexibility should not be given equal weight. The author of The Cure for Everything, which book you blogged about and I read, basically said that flexibility and yoga in particular were relatively useless as exercise. If people enjoy yoga and get something spiritual out of it, great! It just isn’t the best exercise in the world. I was taking it for a while and really enjoyed it, although my daughter hated it and so now we only swim together. Whether the author of that book is correct about yoga, I cannot say. Perhaps someone with more knowledge about yoga would like to comment. All of this said, flexibility is important in certain martial arts, so it can play a role as an important sports-specific component, to be sure. My understanding though, even in martial arts, is that the more flexible you become the greater your potential, but also the greater chance you will be injured.

    1. Both extreme flexibility (hypermobility) and an extreme lack of flexibility can both contribute to injury in active people, but the middle functional ground is rather wide (this is where I agree with you). However, flexibility/joint mobility tends to become a “use it or lose it” health issue as people age, and loss of flexibility/joint mobility contributes to very real impacts on health and happiness. Therefore, I think flexibility belongs on the list of general fitness components, with the assumption that cultivating a baseline level of flexibility is good for any active person (but pursuit of ever greater flexibility is not a goal) and becomes more crucial with age.

      tl;dr: When you’re 80, you might not be trying to improve your marathon time or your deadlift max, but you’ll probably be working on maintaining your ability to walk/sit/stand/bend/fall and recover and live independently for as long as possible, so yeah, flexibility/joint mobility is important. 🙂

  2. I would suggest that a mental/psychological component be included when talking about fitness. I don’t know if that’s beyond the scope of the graph, though.

  3. What type of mental/psychological component though? Are we talking mental health, perseverance, mental toughness, killer instinct, discipline? Mental or psychological fitness is a rather involved subject.

  4. Interesting division of components of fitness. I’ve just been to a day’s CPD run by yoga expert Zoe Knott who maintains that strength in Yoga is just as important as flexibility. Strength helps to enter and exit yoga poses safely as well as enhancing daily tasks. Erich Schiffman writes how light you feel when you are strong; ‘When you feel tired and weak, you also feel heavy, a burden to yourself, as though you had to drag yourself around. When you feel energetic and strong, however, you feel light, and life doesn’t seem so difficult….The whole tone of your body will change as your strength increases’. I agree that over-flexibility promotes injuries. Women especially need to develop strength as we have less of it, and are naturally more inclined to flexibility. Yoga not only helps the human body to be flexible, but it improves strength, stamina, balance, concentration and relaxation (it’s no good to be so muscle-bound that we build up tensions and can’t relax and quieten the mind). Craig mentions psychology. We need to remember that what we do to the body has an affect on the mind. Working in a particular way can either help the mind be calm and at ease or fretful and anxious. As my mother used to say ‘moderation in all things’. I think that includes moderation too!

  5. They didn’t invent the five components, but I don’t like how the graphic makes it an “easy five-step program.” You’re going to need a whole lot more than “the squat” to build muscular strength.

  6. These five categories are the components of physical or functional fitness as specified by Davis. They do not include the components of motor fitness which are more sports specif than functional.

    DAVIS, B. et al. (2000) Training for physical fitness. In: DAVIS, B. et al. Physical Education and the study of sport. Spain: Harcourt Publishers, p.121-122

    Physical Fitness

    Physical fitness refers to the capacity of an athlete to meet the varied physical demands of their sport without reducing the athlete to a fatigued state. The components of physical fitness are (Davis 2000):

    Body Composition
    Motor Fitness

    Motor Fitness refers to the ability of an athlete to perform successfully at their sport. The components of motor fitness are (Davis 2000)[2]:

    Power (speed & strength)
    Reaction Time

  7. Well, then Davies is not even wrong, he’s conflating performance components, metabolic components, sport-specific skill and body composition into one compressed space which is frankly completely useless.

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