5 Components of Physical Fitness are also known as health related fitness components. Importance and benefits of physical fitness are well known. They are essential for complete fitness of body & mind. Physical fitness is an important part of life.

Previously fitness was commonly defined as the capacity of the person to meet the physical demands of daily life and carry out the day’s activities without undue fatigue. However, because of increased leisure time, changes in lifestyles rendered this definition insufficient. These days, physical fitness is considered a measure of the body’s ability to function efficiently and effectively in work and leisure activities, to be healthy, to resist hypo kinetic diseases, and to meet emergency situations.

Physical fitness comprises of two related concepts:

- general fitness (a state of health and well-being) and

- specific fitness (a task-oriented definition based on the ability to perform specific aspects of sports or occupations).

If you really want to measure the overall fitness of a person you have to take into consideration the five components of physical fitness. For an average person, workout should be based on the major 5 health related fitness components.

Other skill related components of physical fitness like speed, agility, balance, coordination, reaction time and power are considered for judging the physical fitness of an athlete.

So let's discuss these 5 components of physical fitness:

Health related fitness components:

Health Related Physical fitness is defined as activity aimed to improve the overall health and well being. The goal of health- related fitness is prevention of disease or rehabilitation from disease as well as the development of a high level of functional capacity for daily tasks.

Health related physical fitness is further divided into 5 parts,popularly known as 5 Components of Physical Fitness.

1. Body composition

2. Cardiovascular fitness

3. Flexibility

4. Muscular endurance

5. Muscle strength

1. Body Composition –

In other words the ratio of fat to muscle. Minimum of fat and maximum of lean mass is a sign of a healthy and fit body.

To know your fitness level you need to understand your body composition. The reason is body composition directly relates to the overall fitness level. Body composition is the component which considers the individual body type, according to the height, weight, frame size and the ratio of the fat mass to lean muscle mass. The overall physical level of an individual depends on his body composition. The lean mass includes muscles, bones, vital tissues and organs.

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2. Cardiovascular fitness or Endurance –

Cardiovascular endurance can be defined as the component which helps to determine if the heart and lungs are working in coordination. It shows the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes.

Cardiovascular endurance is also referred to as cardiovascular fitness, aerobic fitness and cardiorespiratory fitness. You can define cardiorespiratory endurance as the ability of the heart to pump blood rich oxygen for the functioning of your muscles. It helps to determine whether the heart and lungs are working in coordination. The ability to remain fit without feeling tired or fatigue during physical exercise measures the physical fitness of a person.


Swimming, cycling, walking, running, jogging and aerobics are the classical examples of cardiovascular exercises. Try them to improve your cardiovascular fitness level.


A Max VO2 test in the laboratory setting is the best measure of cardiovascular fitness. Field tests include the 12 minute run, the mile run, the mile walk, the PACER run for children and various bicycle, step, and treadmill tests.

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3. Flexibility –

Flexibility can be defined as the component which checks the ability of the joints in the body to move to their full range of motion.

It is one of the major components of physical fitness. The fitness level is measured by the flexibility of your joints. If you have good flexibility in the joints, injuries related to joints could be prevented.

Flexibility, mobility and suppleness all mean the range of limb movement around joints. In any movement there are two groups of muscles at work, protagonist muscles which cause the movement to take place and the antagonistic muscles which opposes the movement and determine the amount of flexibility.


A regular workout session will ensure that you move your joints and muscles to their fullest extent and hence, it will increase the flexibility of these joints and your overall body.

The exercises such as stretching, yoga, Pilates and swimming would help to improve the physical flexibility.


Flexibility requires range of motion without discomfort or pain and it is specific to each joint of the body. It is typically measured in the lab using measurement devices such as a goniometer, flexometer. In the field, tests such as the sit and reach and the zipper are performed.

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4. Muscular Endurance -

Muscular endurance is defined as the ability of the body to perform repeated exercises without getting tired. If a person can perform more number of repetitions of a particular strength training exercise, then it can be said that he/she has good muscular endurance.

Muscular endurance is sometimes confused with muscular strength. The ability of the muscle to perform an action without feeling fatigue is known as muscular endurance. It is the ability of muscles, whether in a group or separated to sustain repeated contractions against resistance for an extended period of time. This is related to muscular strength and cardio-respiratory endurance. If a person can perform more number of repetitions of a particular strength training exercise, then it shows- that person has good muscular endurance.

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The types of endurance are aerobic endurance, anaerobic endurance, speed endurance and strength endurance. A sound basis of aerobic endurance is fundamental for all events.

To increase the fitness level of muscular endurance, try Strength training exercises such as running, jogging, cross-training on an elliptical machine, etc.


Each major muscle group of the body is tested to check the endurance. Lab and field tests of muscular endurance are similar. They are based on the number of repetitions that can be performed by the specific muscle group being tested. Example: repetitions of push-ups or abdominal curls. Muscular endurance can be measured isometrically (static contractions) or isotonically (dynamic contractions).

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5. Muscle Strength -

Muscle strength can be defined as the capability of the muscles to lift weight. Weight training exercises done on every alternate day increases the muscle mass of the body.

The muscular strength is measured by maximum amount of strength a muscle has while lifting or during an exertion. In short, muscular strength is the ability of the muscle to exert strength during a workout or an activity. It is capability of the muscle to lift the weight.

The common definition is "the ability to exert a force against a resistance"

There are three classes of strength:

maximum strength - the greatest force that is possible in a single maximum contraction,

elastic strength - the ability to overcome a resistance with a fast contraction and

strength endurance - the ability to express force many times over


A balanced and regular fitness regimen helps to increase the ability of muscles to exert force and sustain contraction. A regular workout will make your muscles stronger and increase your overall strength.

The physical fitness of muscle strength could be improved through exercise such as lifting weights.

Weight training exercises- push ups, pull ups, biceps curls, pectoral fly, leg extensions, back extension, etc.


For true assessment it would be necessary to test each major muscle group of the body. Lab and field tests are similar and involve the assessment of one repetition maximum (the maximum amount of resistance you can overcome one time). 1RM tests are typically conducted on resistance machines. Strength can also be assessed using dynamo meters. Strength can be measured isometrically (static contractions) or isotonically (dynamic contractions).

What is Physical Fitness?

Benefits of Physical Fitness

Components of Physical Fitness

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