“Movement is life. Life is a process. Improve the quality of the process and you improve the quality of life itself.” -Moshe Feldenkrais
There are ten components of fitness.
- Cardiovascular / respiratory endurance – The ability of body systems to gather, process, and deliver oxygen.
- Stamina – The ability of body systems to process, deliver, store, and utilize energy.
- Strength – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply force.
- Flexibility – The ability to maximize the range of motion at a given joint.
- Power – The ability of a muscular unit, or combination of muscular units, to apply maximum force in minimum time.
- Speed – The ability to minimize the time cycle of a repeated movement.
- Coordination – The ability to combine several distinct movement patterns into a singular distinct movement.
- Agility – The ability to minimize transition time from one movement pattern to another.
- Balance – The ability to control the placement of the body’s center of gravity in relation to its support base.
- Accuracy – The ability to control movement in a given direction or at a given intensity.
Improvements in endurance, stamina, strength, and flexibility come about through training. Training refers to activity that improves performance through a measurable organic change in the body. By contrast improvements in coordination, agility, balance, and accuracy come about through practice. Practice refers to activity that improves performance through changes in the nervous system. Power and speed are adaptations of both training AND practice.
Often times people overlook flexibility, however flexibility affects all other components of fitness. If you want to maximize the other 9 components you have to address flexibility. More importantly flexibility plays an important roll in injury prevention. You don’t improve your flexibility by simply doing a few static stretches. You should work on improving your flexibility in positions that mirror the movements you will be doing while training.
I have found that a fun, yet challenging and effective way to improve flexibility is to do yoga. As with all forms of training it doesn’t matter your current level. Sure you might look at a photo of someone doing a yoga pose and get intimidated because you know you do not possess the level of flexibility to even attempt it. Thankfully there are both regressions a progressions to every pose. With regular practice yoga will definitely improve your flexibility, but you have to be humble and use yoga blocks and straps when necessary. Yoga is not like getting under a heavy load and trying to push. To effectively facilitate change in range of motion you have to allow your muscles to relax, which they can’t do if they are under tension. Don’t expect overnight changes.
Flexibility is more in your mind than in your body. If you let go of reaching for a picture-perfect pose, the barriers you have built, and tightness in your mind, you just may surprise yourself. Let go in your mind, and your body will let go too.
If you'd like to try yoga and are located in Westchester, New York you can stop by Fitpros Health & Wellness Center at 175 Memorial Hwy - LL1, New Rochelle NY 10801. We offer a class that is suitable for all levels.