Fitness Components

Health related fitness components

Aerobic Capacity

Refers to the body’s ability to resynthesise ATP with the use of oxygen. The body’s circulatory and respiratory systems work together to deliver oxygen to the working muscles. Aerobic training can be used to help improve aerobic capacity and this results in an increased efficiency of the body to produce ATP. Aerobic capacity is important in a lot of team sports such as netball, football,soccer, water polo and hockey. It is also important in many individual sports such as long distance running and tennis. A persons VO2 max(maximum oxygen uptake) can provide a measure of an individuals aerobic capacity.

Aerobic capacity is dependent on 4 key factors

Age: Oxygen carrying capacity and efficiency peaks around 20 years of age and declines around 1% per year.
Gender: Males tend to have larger hearts and lungs allowing for a greater oxygen carrying capacity.
Training level: Training works to increase factors such as stroke volume, cardiac output and to delay Lactate inflection point.
Genetics:Individuals vary in their genetic makeup and this can impact their muscle fibre types and their ability to produce energy aerobically affecting aerobic capacity.

Anaerobic capacity (power)

Refers to the body’s ability to produce ATP without the use of oxygen. This covers two types of efforts, one required to measure the efficiency of the ATP-CP energy system of maximal exertion over 10 seconds and the other to measure the anaerobic glycolysis’ ability by completing a near-maximal effort for about a minute. Anaerobic capacity is required for high intensity activities such as jumping and short bouts of high intensity efforts.

Anaerobic capacity is important for sports such as athletic field events like discus, long jump, high jump and shot put and track events such as the 400 m, 200m and 100 metre events. It is also important in sprint swim events like the 50m swim and for high intensity bouts in teams sports such as small sprints in netball or rebounds in basketball.
Anaerobic capacity is also affected by the same variables as aerobic capacity.

Anaerobic capacity is dependent on 4 key factors

Age: Anaerobic capacity peaks in the 20’s and then declines as muscle cross section size decreases resulting in decreased fuel stores.
Gender: Males due to their bigger size usually have greater stores of fuels needed for anaerobic energy production such as creatine phosphate and greater amounts of lean muscles mass.
Training: Anaerobic training will increase the body’s tolerance to deal with fatigue inducing metabolic by-products such as H+ ions and Pi(inorganic phosphate).
Genetics: As genetics is responsible for percentages of muscle fibre types in the body, a larger proportion of fast twitch muscle fibres will result in increased anaerobic capacity.

Local Muscular Endurance

Refers to a muscle groups ability to resist fatigue with repeated efforts.It is usually dependent on the muscles ability to withstand harmful metabolic by-products such as hydrogen ions(H+).
Local muscular endurance can be seen in the muscle groups of the arms, abdominals and legs in a 200 meter swim or the legs, hip muscles and abdominals in a marathon.

Local muscular endurance is also affected by

Age: Usually peaks around the 20’s then declines with age.
Gender: Correlates to strength and is higher in males due to the higher percentage of lean muscle mass.
Genetics: Is improved by having a greater percentage of type 2 and 2A muscle fibres.
Training : Improved aerobic capacity will reduce reliance on anaerobic energy system pathways which will produce fatigue inducing by-products.
As well as temperature and circulation.

Muscular strength

It is usually a ‘one-off’ maximal effort involving the muscles but involves maximal muscular contraction over a small extended period of time.
It is rarely used in team sports but is used in activities such as weight-lifting and leaning out to hold up the sail in sailing.

It is affected by the following factors

Age – Peaks in the 20’s and declines with age.
Gender– Males have greater muscular strength due to greater muscle size and increased amounts of lean muscle mass.
Genetics– A greater percentage of fast twitch muscle fibres will result in greater muscular strength.
Training level- Muscle size can be increased through training will improve muscular strength.
cross-sectional area. A greater cross-sectional area or greater muscle size will mean the muscle has a higher amount of strength.
Fibre type– Fast twitch muscle fibres can provide a greater strength output than slow twitch muscle fibres.
Length of muscle – A slightly stretched muscle is capable is producing a larger amount of force.

Flexibility

Is the range of motion about a joint. It is influenced by the muscles and skeletal systems.

Flexibility is influenced by many factors including

Age: As age increases flexibility decreases.
Gender: Due to hormonal differences and body types females tend to be more flexible than males.
Training: Dynamic stretching in the warm up or static stretching in the cool down can help keep the length of the muscles long which increases flexibility.
Genetics: Individuals with bigger bulkier body types tend to be less flexible than slimmer, shorter individuals.

  • Other factors that affect flexibility are muscle length(longer will be more flexible), joint structure and capsule,muscle temperature (higher temperatures will result in more flexible muscles) and previous injuries (previous injuries will decrease flexibility).

Body Composition

Refers to an individuals body proportions of bone,fat and muscle. Body composition can affect the performance of an athlete as too much muscle or fat can be detrimental in a given activity for example a person carrying around too much body fat in a marathon will perform worse than if they had a lower amount of body fat, also if an individual had too much muscle mass for example in hurdles they may struggle to get over the hurdles at a fast pace. Body composition can be measured by body fat determination which either involves skin fold measurements or densitometry( submerging an individual in water or placing them in a known amount of air and measuring the amount of air or water displaced by their body). There is also the BMI(body mass index) which is height over weight with the weight value being squared.
As like the other fitness components age, gender, genetics and training effect an individuals body composition.

Skill related Fitness Components

Speed

  • Speed can refer to whole body speed or part body speed which is moving a body part as fast as possible from point A to point B. An example of whole body speed would be running a 100 meters and an example of partial body speed would be discus in which the arm is what is needed to move quickly.
  • Speed is very important in team sports as it can be a distinguishing factors between average and elite players.

Muscular Power

  • Muscular power is the combination of speed and muscular strength. So in other words a powerful movement that is performed as quickly as possible. For example a tackle in AFL or a serve in tennis.
  • There are different levels of muscular power, high,medium and low depending on the event and skill needing to be performed.For example  high muscular power would be needed for field events such as javelin or discus, or when a netball player quickly jumps to intercept a ball. While medium muscular power would be needed for events like a 200 meter sprint or a longer tennis rally and these still require speed and muscular strength but not at such an explosive level.

Agility

  • Agility is an individual’s ability to change direction at speed. It relies on flexibility,speed and coordination to execute effectively. Agility is important in a lot of team sports such evading an opponent in soccer or AFL,and in individual sports such as changing direction in tennis or dancing.
  • Agility can either be planned which is usually the case in individual sports or reactive which is usually the case in team sports when an individuals movements are a result of reacting to a particular situation.

Coordination

  • Is the ability to be able to link a series of muscle movements together to produce an overall movement. It requires the interaction of neural, skeletal and muscular systems.
  • Coordination is required for many sports as many sports require the efficient organisation and corporation of muscle groups to produce movement, sports that require high coordination include, dancing, aerobics, batting in cricket, spiking in volleyball and performing routines and tricks in gymnastics.

Balance

  • Is the body’s ability to remain upright or still whilst performing a task. There are two types of balance dynamic balance which involves keeping the body’s balance under control whilst moving.Then there is static balance which is keeping the body’s balance under control whilst not moving.
  • Balance is a crucial element in certain sports such as running around the bend for the 200 meters or standing on one leg to shoot in netball.

Reaction time

  • Is the speed at which an individual can react to an external stimulus. Reaction time involves quite a few neural process as the stimulus must first be received by receptors than transmitted to the brain where the brain decides what  actions are required for a response, a signal is then sent to the muscles to initiate the chosen response by the brain.
  • The average reaction time is 0.2 seconds, and this skills component is required for activities such as catching a ball in cricket,reacting to the start gun of a race or judging where the ball is going after a rebound.