Fitness Basics: Elements of Fitness

There are many elements of fitness and when most people mention getting fit, they are usually talking about more than one of these elements.

Being ‘fit’ can mean different things to different people.  It may be simply being able to live everyday life with ease, or it may be climbing a mountain. We need to be clear about which ones are important to us.

Here are the main areas we may be interested in, all of which can be improved through regular training.

Aerobic Fitness

This is what fitness means to most.  This involves activities such as running and cycling and most sports where we move enough to get out of breath.  Essentially this is the efficiency of the heart, lungs and circulatory system delivering oxygen around the body.

Anaerobic Fitness

Sprint training illustrates this element well. Aerobic exercise uses oxygen, anaerobic is working sufficiently harder and would involve short more intense bouts of exercise.


Our strength is determined by how much weight we can lift.  This can be trained through resistance or weight training and is specific to different areas of the body.


The ability to move quickly from point A to point B.  This would be illustrated by a sprinter coming out of the blocks.


This is the amount of movement at the various joints of the body.  Touching our toes is a classic test of flexibility.

Balance / Co ordination / Motor Skills

Further elements, all specific to the task involving the nervous system which tells the body how to behave.  This may be anything from standing on one leg to an intricate dance routine.

There are further elements within each of these areas, which is where things get interesting. Everything can be finely tuned, and a specific sport or goal will always include a number of the elements above.