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					Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Unit 3 Health-Related Fitness and Assessment

Physical fitness can be divided into the areas of health-related and skill-related fitness. Since this
course is designed to explore and potentially improve our overall health and wellness, it is
important to focus on the health-related components of fitness. These components will enable us
to achieve the goal of improved health and wellness more directly. The skill-related components
may make it easier to perform the physical activities that can enable us to improve our health and
wellness, but these skills are not essential to improving our health.

The skill-related components include speed, power, reaction time and agility, and are more
important to sport performance and competition. The health-related components include
cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility and body
composition which are critical to achieving overall health and wellness. This unit will present the
health-related components of fitness along with assessments and recommendations for each

Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Part 1: Cardiorespiratory Endurance

Cardiorespiratory endurance represents the body’s ability to do physical activity. One’s level of
fitness is determined by the body’s ability to take up, distribute, and use oxygen during physical
activity, which is known as cardiorespiratory endurance. Cardiorespiratory endurance is usually
measured in terms of maximal oxygen uptake or VO2max—this is the amount of oxygen the body
uses when a person reaches their maximum ability to supply oxygen (O2) to the working muscles
during physical activity. (VO2max is measured in millimeters of oxygen used per minute for each
kilogram of body weight.)

The value of cardiorespiratory endurance is that it can be used to measure present fitness levels
and also be used as a tool to measure fitness progress. Higher levels of cardiorespiratory
endurance represent greater levels of fitness. The higher level indicates that the person’s body is
better able to handle the demands (oxygen, nutrients) placed on it during physical activity. This
can also be interpreted as an indication that the stronger the heart, the less challenging the task,
which means that a person may be able to do an activity longer and/or harder due to their level of
fitness. This is important with regards to heart disease because higher cardiorespiratory endurance
is associated with a lower risk of cardiovascular disease and obesity, and a higher quality of life.

One indirect measure of VO2max is the 1-mile walk run. Using tests such as this can allow us to
assess our own cardiorespiratory fitness level, and then we can repeat this test to monitor our
fitness progress. Often setting cardiorespiratory goals enables us to improve our cardiorespiratory
fitness, which in most cases leads to improvement in the other health-related fitness components.

Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Part 2: Body Composition

Body composition is another component that is often tied to our cardiorespiratory fitness. If we
are doing regular physical activity, we are more likely to be physically fit, which includes a having
a lower percent bodyfat. A high percent bodyfat (>30%) is a representation of overfatness and/or
obesity and is associated with a wide range of diseases and illnesses. One of these diseases is
diabetes (type II). The number of individuals with type II diabetes is growing rapidly and this
growth seems to be associated with the growing number of individuals who are overfat and/or
obese due to lower levels of physical activity.

Unfortunately, diabetes can lead to many different complications including:

     •    high blood pressure
     •    poor blood glucose control
     •    peripheral neuropathy
     •    poor circulation

This means that people may suffer from hypertension, which can damage the lining of the arterial
walls and contribute to plaque build up in the arterial walls. They may be challenged to maintain a
normal blood glucose level (fasting blood glucose <100mg/dl normal, 100 and 125 mg/dl pre-
diabetes, 126 mg/dl or higher diabetes), which can lead to further damage to the arterial walls and
potentially lead to the need for medication and/or insulin to help to regulate blood sugar. In
addition, diabetes can lead to the loss of sensation and/or tingling in the hands, feet, and genitals.
People with diabetes may also have difficulty healing, and injuries may be slow to heal due to
circulation difficulties. There is also the potential for amputations and kidney dysfunction.

Another problem with the disease is that the earlier that one is affected by the disease, the greater
the risk for more complications from diabetes, and unfortunately more people are affected at an
earlier age. Often these individuals are unaware that they have the disease. If left unmanaged,
diabetes will have more time to progress and potentially lead to the loss of one’s eyesight, loss of
feeling and potential limb loss.

WEBLINK: For more information on diabetes, see:

American Diabetes Association

All of this is scary to imagine, and even scarier when we recognize that this disease can be
controlled and/or managed with physical activity. Changing one’s lifestyle can often assist with
controlling and preventing diabetes. As mentioned previously, diabetes (type II) is associated with
overfatness/obesity, which is commonly a result of little to no physical activity (low
cardiorespiratoty endurance). So making physical activity a major component of your daily life is
critical to your overall health and wellness.

Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Part 3: Muscular Strength and Endurance

In addition to cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance are also an important aspect
of our health-related fitness. Muscular strength represents the maximal amount we can lift/move one time
and muscular endurance represents the ability of a muscle to do multiple repetitions and/or hold a
contraction over time. The value of maintaining muscular strength and endurance is that this enables us to
enjoy a higher quality of life because we are able to do our daily tasks more easily. For example, we are
able to lift our children, open doors, walk up stairs and carry groceries. Greater muscular strength and
endurance are also associated with greater levels of self-confidence. Maintaining muscle mass also assists
us with our metabolism because muscle requires energy at rest while fat does not.

So if you are more muscular, you have the potential to burn more calories even when at rest. Therefore, if
you are trying to lose weight, incorporating muscular strength and endurance activities into your daily life
would potentially allow you to burn more calories. Muscular strength and endurance training may also aid
with the development and maintenance of strong bones and reduce the onset of osteoporosis, and
potentially reduce one’s injury risk. Lifting weights or doing other muscular strength and endurance
activities has many benefits. Our loss of strength as we age does not have to be very noticeable if we
maintain these two components of health-related fitness.

The mention of muscle mass in the strength and endurance paragraph is also important to the health-related
component of body composition. In general, the more physically active we are, the more likely we are to
have a healthier body composition. Physical activity results in the use of energy to complete the activity,
and the greater the muscle mass the more calories that will be burned before, during and after the activity.
As mentioned this may be important to someone trying to manage their weight.

Body composition represents the amount of fat mass versus fat-free mass in the body. Often we focus on
body weight as a method of determining our health. Weight alone may not be the best measure of fitness,
especially since muscle weighs more than fat. Therefore, we might conclude that a person weighing 200
pounds may be overweight, but if we look at his/her body composition we may discover that in fact they
have a healthy percent body fat, and perhaps they seem “heavy” because muscle weighs more than fat. It is
important to realize that weight alone is not the best measure to determine if we are healthy; looking at
body composition may give us a more accurate health assessment based on percent body fat.

We know that some fat in the body is essential to our health; for men this level of essential fat is 3-5% and
for women it is 8-12%. Without fat in the body, normal functions such as hormone production and
regulation may not be possible. In addition, fat serves as an insulator and a cushion, and is it a valuable
source of energy. It is possible to be above the essential levels of body fat (many people are) and still be
healthy (the average male 15-18% and females 22-25%). However, as mentioned earlier, many people are
not just slightly overfat, many people are now being classified as extremely overfat and obese
(>30%bodyfat or >30BMI). The resulting diseases and illnesses associated with obesity are diabetes and
cardiovascular disease. So as our population becomes fatter, we are at greater risk for health problems.

Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Part 4: Flexibility

Flexibility is also another valuable component of our health and wellness, and unfortunately it
often goes overlooked. Many people assume that as they age they will become less flexible but
fortunately if we stretch and remain active, we can maintain our flexibility. Flexibility is valuable
because it allows us to move through a greater range of motion, which potentially can enable us to
do our daily activities while reducing our chances of injury. In addition, stretching assists our
body in its recovery from exercise and strenuous activities, and serves as a way to release stress.

Incorporating stretching into our daily routine also has the potential to reduce our chance of
experiencing lower back pain. Approximately 85% of Americans experience low back pain at
some time. Low back pain is the second most common ailment in the US and the second most
common reason for absences from work and visits to the physician.

WEBLINK: For more information on lower back pain, see:

National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke

Often low back pain is related to tightness (low flexibility) in the back and legs, along with poor
body mechanics, poor posture, and weak muscles. There are several recommendations for
preventing and managing back pain, which include stretching regularly, maintaining good posture,
strengthening one’s abdomen and back muscles, and using proper lifting techniques. Remaining
physically active can help you to reduce your risk and severity of low back pain.

The important thing to remember is that all of these components of health-related fitness can be
influenced by our daily choices—whether we exercise, eat well, get adequate sleep, etc. are
choices that are under our control. The next unit will explore the use of lifestyle changes to assist
you with understanding and managing our lives for health.

Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Part 5: Recommendations


General: Exercise most if not all days of the week—moderate to vigorous activity; burn at least
150 kcals per day with physical activity

The following are the minimum amounts to assist one with gaining health benefits; doing more
than the minimum will usually result in greater benefits (be careful not to overdo it).

Cardiorespiratory Endurance                                   3-5 times a week, exercise in your THR
                                                              (Target Heart Rate) between 65-90% of
                                                              maximum HR or 50-85% of Heart Rate
                                                              Reserve; 20-60 minutes

Muscular Strength and Endurance                               2-3 days a week (at least 1 day rest between),
                                                              approximately 70% of your 1 repetition
                                                              maximum to improve both endurance and
                                                              strength, 8-12 different exercises to work entire

Body Composition                                              <30% bodyfat; waist circumference <40inches
                                                              men & 35in women; essential 3-5% men & 9-
                                                              12% women; average 15-18% men & 22-24%

Flexibility                                                   2-3 days minimum, include in warm-up and
                                                              cool-down; hold each stretch for 10-30 seconds,
                                                              4 repetitions of each; stretch to discomfort, not

Fitness/Unit 3 Health Related Fitness_master.doc
Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Unit 3 Exercises


For this unit, you should read the following chapters in your textbook, Fit & Well:

     •    Chapter 4
     •    Chapter 6

Go to your Casebook to complete the following exercises:

Exercise 8: Body Composition

Exercise 9: Target Heart Rate Calculations

Exercise 10: BMP, Parts 3 and 4