Defining fitness: - ‘the ability to carry out everyday activities without undue fatigue.’ or ‘the ability to meet the demands of your environment or lifestyle.’.
Defining health: - ‘a state of physical, social and mental well being where we are free from disease.’.
Components of fitness.
· Cardio respiratory endurance (aerobic capacity) (stamina).
· Muscular endurance.
· Reaction time.
· Body composition.
Stamina or cardio respiratory endurance (aerobic capacity): - ‘the ability of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to take in and transport oxygen to the working muscles where it can be utilized and aerobic performance maintained.’.
E.g. A triathlete requires high amounts of cardio respiratory endurance but a weightlifter doesn’t.
Factors influencing cardio respiratory endurance include: -
· Efficiency of gaseous exchange at both lungs and muscle cells.
· Effectiveness of oxygen transport from the lungs to the muscle cells.
· Ability of the muscle cells to utilize oxygen that they receive.
Performers with high cardio respiratory endurance may possess the following: -
· Greater capillarisation of the alveoli and muscles.
· Greater concentration of red blood cells, and therefore haemoglobin, in the blood, which helps transport the oxygen to the working muscles.
· A greater proportion of slow oxidative muscle fibers.
· Greater concentration of myoglobin within the muscle cell, which helps to store the oxygen and transport it to the mitochondria.
· A greater number and size of mitochondria, which can utilize the oxygen to provide energy.
Tests for stamina/cardio respiratory endurance include: -
· The multi stage fitness test.
· The Harvard step test.
· The PWC170 cycle ergometer test.
· The cooper 12 minute run test.
Most test of cardio respiratory endurance seek to discover a persons VO2 max or maximal oxygen uptake. (The maximal volume of oxygen that a person can take in, transport and utilize per minute.).
Strength: - ‘The ability of the body to apply a force against a resistance’. There are different types of strength including; -
1. Maximum strength: - The maximum force that can be developed in a muscle or group of muscles during a single maximal contraction.
Maximum strength is dependent on factors including; -
· Cross sectional area of muscle – greater the cross sectional are of pure muscle mass, the stronger the performer.
· Amount of fast twitch muscle fibre – fast twitch glycolytic muscle fibres are designed more for maximum strength.
E.g. a performer requiring maximum strength is a weightlifter.
2. Elastic strength: - the ability to overcome a resistance rapidly and prepare the muscle quickly for a sequential contraction of equal force.
E.g. sports performers requiring high levels of elastic strength include sprinters, triple jumpers and gymnasts.