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What makes a fit and capable body?

28/02/2011

We should all strive to have a fit and capable body.  I don’t care if you are:

  • A young, up and coming athlete eager to perform at you maximum.
  • An average Joe office worker wanting to get a bit fitter and lose some weight.
  • Retired and wanting to maintain the quality of your life while you draw you pension.
Fit and capable body trapped inside.

Fit and capable body trapped inside.

A fit and capable body is hidden away inside all of us, and for health, performance and quality of life reasons, we all should try to help it get out.

There are different components of a fit and capable body.  Here are my favorite ones:

Cardiovascular endurance.

This is the ability of our heart and lungs to take in, process and mobilise enough oxygen to the appropriate parts of our body.  In other words, so we don’t run out of breath and have to stop so often.

  • For athletes, this is important so they can maintain a high work capacity throughout their particular event.
  • For average Joe, this is important to keep a healthy heart, to help control their bodyweight and so they can do all the things they need to live a full and happy life.
  • For a pensioner, this is important so they can still play with the grandchildren, do the shopping, do household chores and to keep their heart healthy.

For more information on fitness, click here or here.

Muscular strength.

This is the bodys ability to move itself and other objects and (importantly) to help prevent injuries.  In other words, you are able to pick that heavy thing up, move it round the place and not put your back out.

  • For athletes, being strong enough to excel at their chosen sport is an obvious advantage.  And their reduced risk of injury means they can spend more time training/competing and less time in rehab.
  • For average Joe, being strong often means “looking good naked”.
  • For a pensioner, being strong can mean that they are less likely to get injured if they fall or are hit/knocked by anything.

You can read all the things I have written about strength by clicking here.

Flexibility/mobility.

Flexibility

Flexibility

This is the ability of a joint (eg hip, shoulder, knee etc) to move through its range of motion.  In other words, you can bend all your joints and they are not seizing up.

  • For athletes, this is important so they can actually perform the moves needed in their sport.
  • For average Joe, this is important to reduce chances of chronic stiffness and pains.
  • For a pensioner this is important to prevent joints from getting stiff, and so maintaining independence (eg they can tie up their own shoe laces etc).

For information on stretching to improve your flexibility, click here.

Balance.

Balance

Balance

The ability to remain stable on your feet in less than ideal circumstances.  In other words, you don’t fall over on your butt as soon as you stop concentrating.

  • For athletes, this is important so they can hit/kick/throw/jump etc from various positions.  They don’t have to waste time “getting into position” before they do what they have to.
  • For average Joe, this means they can experience much more in their lives.  eg they can ride a bike, they can lean over and see round the head of the person standing in front of them at the concert etc.
  • For pensioners, it means they are less likely to fall and injure themselves, or trip over their cat etc.

We all find ourselves in less than perfect situations throughout our lives.  And good balance usually means we get through them without falling flat on our faces and embarrassing ourselves.

Agility.

The ability to change directions of travel quickly, effectively and in a predefined or random way.  In other words, we can weave and dodge around things.

  • Most team athletes need good agility in their sports, to either defend against opponents or to overcome these defences.
  • Average Joe needs agility to get through a crowd to the bar, or to not embarrass themselves while playing with the kids and because life just generally puts things in our way.
  • Pensioners need it, because a lack of agility usually ends in a fall.  And that is potentially very dangerous.

Below is one of the most spectacular display of agility I have ever seen…

Coordination.

Coordinating everything

Coordinating everything

The ability to get many different things working together, so the whole outweighs the sum of the parts.  In other words, putting together all of the above to make a body that is capable of many wonderful things, instead of ending up slumped in a sofa, unable to get up for fear of failing miserably.

  • Athletes need it because all of the above physical attributes mean nothing unless they all work together to achieve the ultimate goal.
  • Average Joe needs coordination to achieve the most everyday tasks.  Driving a car requires great coordination, because both feet and both arms are doing different things at different times in different places, and they all need to happen at exactly the right time, or you end up crashing.
  • Pensioners need it for the same reasons.  Getting through life needs all the above things to happen at the right time in the right place.  Otherwise, we lose our independence and our quality of life decreases.

Conclusion.

It is obvious that athletes, average Joes and pensioners will need vastly different levels of the above components of fitness.  But by maximising each component, each population can and will improve their health, fitness and ability to get through life in a good way.

There is so much more to exercise and movement than just “toning up my belly a little bit”.

And I try to make sure my coaching improves all of the above, as much as possible.

So if you want/need help with your health and fitness, contact me now, or spread the word using the “share” buttons below!

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