Key elements of fitness for 2019


January 2019 marks a new beginning for many when it comes to embarking on a fitness regime, so I thought it might be useful to review some of the key elements to be considered.

When discussing aims and objectives with a new client I will generally ask them, “What does fitness mean to you?” to gain a better insight into what they are anticipating versus the outcomes they are hoping to achieve. Typically, the two most common responses are:

  • being able to run far (endurance)
  • having a lean body (hypertrophy with low levels of body fat)

Both answers provide aspects of fitness, however, perhaps unsurprisingly they better reflect goals, while only painting a small part of the complete picture – with such outcomes depending on a many other more varied elements of fitness.

Exercise to achieve fitness incorporates many components that most people neglect to consider: flexibility, mobility, power, agility, balance, coordination and strength. Each of these components in turn can feed off others in enhancing overall performance; for example, better balance can improve our coordination, which in turn can improve agility. But at the core of fitness, and critical to the interaction of these components, is the relationship between muscle and movement, with muscle the foundation upon which higher levels of fitness are built.

Muscle is vital through all stages of life and must be stimulated to be maintained.  However, losing any fitness components we risk losing a vital element of what it means to be a fully functioning human capable of enjoying all the physical aspects of life. This why throughout our lives it is so important to make sure that we don’t retreat from physical functions allowing us to be able to maintain our movement patterns and help ensure a higher quality of life.

Fitness and the associated physical benefits are only achievable through a regular routine practiced over the long term, and the great news is that it is never too late to start. Depending on your condition and medical advice, it may mean when you do embark on your own fitness journey you will have a little catching up to do, but don’t be held back by fear, shyness or embarrassment.

An improvement in any aspect will bring benefits as well as a tremendous sense of achievement, while enhancing any element of fitness will in turn help with the others. Good luck!

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Alex is a registered Master Trainer and Nutritional Advisor with Level 4 qualifications in obesity and diabetes. He is also a strength specialist and a Ni Dan in Shotokan Karate.

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