There are five components of physical fitness, muscle strength and endurance, cardiovascular strength, flexibility and body composition. However, there are also small components of physical fitness that are just as important for exercising and improving your health and well-being. These small components of physical fitness include balance, coordination, agility and reaction time. Most sports require athletes to be fit in each of these components in order to compete at a competitive level. Without these small components of physical fitness, you will find yourself more prone to injury and your performance will be substandard.
Balance is important for most sports where you are off your feet and standing on an animal or wheels. However, balance should not be overlooked in sports that require a significant amount of lateral movement, such as basketball or tennis. Good balance keeps you upright and safe in many different situations when you are on wheels or on your feet. There are specific ways to increase your balance for each sport. When cycling you can improve your balance by using rollers. On roller skates, you can improve your balance by trying a course with a higher challenge level. Using an exercise ball to improve core muscle strength and a trampoline can also help improve balance.
The second small component of physical fitness is coordination. This is an extension of balance, but is actually the ability of muscles to function in harmony in motion. This harmony can only be achieved if the equipment used is properly adjusted and suits your body. If the blades on your skates are not smooth, your coordination and balance will be affected. If your bike is too long or too small, your muscles won’t work together properly.
Many athletes need agility for their sport. This small component of physical fitness can often mean the difference between winning and losing. Agility can be both mental and physical. To move through a strong basketball defense line, you need to be able to see the scene, choose the right route, and move. These are split-second decisions that the athlete may not even remember. But they are important.
The last little component of physical fitness is reaction time. This is the ability to respond quickly and appropriately to a stimulus. When you adjust your handlebars on your bike, make a quick left turn to dodge a defender on the basketball court, or adjust your speed and direction as you run across the soccer field, you’re using your reaction time. This requires your brain to register that there is an obstacle in your path, send a message to the correct muscles, and make sure that the muscles are contracting correctly and in the correct order.
Sports such as cycling, basketball, kayaking, soccer and skating include the five major components of physical fitness as well as the minor components of physical fitness.