The Measurable Elements of Physical Fitness


The above definition of physical fitness ness is philosophical. Variables such as vigor, alertness, fatigue, and enjoyment are not easily measured. To clarify the meaning of physical fitness, it is important to identify separately the components that can actually be measured and defined and developed. Although in the past there has been misunderstanding and confusion regarding the measurable elements of physical fitness, there is now a growing consensus on this important matter. The most frequently cited components fall into two groups: one related to health and the other related to skills that pertain more to athletic ability in sports.

The Measurable Elements of Physical Fitness

Notice that these activities demand these components in varying degrees. While some physical activities such as archery, bowling, and table tennis demand and develop mainly skill-related attributes, others such as walking, running, and stair climbing are almost entirely health-related. Some activities such as soccer, handball, basketball, and skating require high levels of both components. While the elements of skill-related fitness are important for participation in various dual and team sports, they have little significance for the day-to-day tasks of Americans or for their general health. Thus, people with poor athletic skills should understand that they can still be healthy, through the development of the health-related components of physical fitness.

Just as importantly, the person who excels in throwing a ball or swinging a golf club should understand that the related athletic activity may leave the core elements of health-related physical fitness underdeveloped.

The trend today in public policy recommendations is to emphasize the development of the health-related fitness elements, and to push for their prominence in school, worksite, and community programs.

The Elements of Health-Related Fitness Defined
Each of the components of health-related physical fitness can be measured separately from the others, with specific exercises applied to the development of each. The levels of the health-related components of physical fitness need not vary together; for example, a person may be strong but lack flexibility, or a person may have good heart and lung endurance, but lack muscular strength. To develop “total” physical fitness for health, each of the five components discussed below must be included within the exercise prescription.


Endurance Cardiorespiratory endurance can be defined as the ability to continue or persist in strenuous tasks involving large muscle groups for extended periods of ft me. it is the ability of the circulatory and respiratory systems to adjust to and recover from the effects of N whole-body exercise or work.