What Are the Two Important Parts of a Physical Fitness Program?

A solid physical fitness program is vital to optimal functioning in daily living. Long-term adherence to an exercise program is one of the only ways to attain and sustain desired fitness levels. A fitness program involves several components such, as nutrition, muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular endurance and flexibility. Each of these components contributes to the success of a fitness plan, but the two most important components are muscular strength and endurance and cardiovascular endurance.

Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the ability of the muscle to produce a maximum amount of force under tension. Strength is crucial when lifting or pushing heavier objects. Increased strength also plays a major role in age-related health issues. As aging occurs, increases in fat and decreases in lean body mass become more pronounced. Development of muscular strength specifically improves lean body mass and decreases fat. Also, in the May 2008 “Journal of Medicine & Science in Sports & Exercise,” researchers reported that increased levels of muscular strength are associated with lower cancer mortality risks in men.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance, the other side of the strength component, is the ability of muscles to produce repeated movements under tension over prolonged periods. The development of muscular endurance can be important in everyday life, too. Increased muscular endurance is essential in lifting objects repeatedly in a job or when playing sports or pursuing recreational activities. Endurance also can help decrease the risk of injury. In a 1984 edition of “Spine Journal,” research indicated that decreased muscular endurance can contribute to increased lower-back pain.

Cardiovascular Endurance

Cardiovascular endurance is the ability of the heart, blood vessels and lungs to produce oxygen to muscles repeatedly for prolonged periods. Increased cardiovascular endurance allows the heart to pump slower, which increases oxygen supply to muscles to meet the demands of cardiovascular-based activities, such as walking, running, climbing, biking and swimming.

About this Author

Based in Las Vegas, Darian Parker has been a published writer since 2003. Parker has published several books such as, “The Empty Room” and “Training the Trainers.” Parker holds a Ph.D. from the University of Las Vegas and is a certified Personal Trainer through the NSCA.