How To Build A Balanced Workout

When most of us think of fitness and health, we think ‘cardio’ and ‘weight lifting.’ Most gyms even separate their equipment into a ‘cardio’ room or floor and a ‘weight’ or ‘strength’ area or floor. While cardiovascular and strength training are absolutely key to overall health, the human body is a unique chemistry set that requires a balanced training approach beyond strictly ‘cardio’ and ‘strength.’ In the fitness industry, these terms are often further defined as cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Without getting too in depth, these 5 components are often used by physical education classes in school, fitness centers, gyms and health clubs to directly measure an individual’s fitness level. Beyond these first five fitness components are six additional components of health that are often overlooked, not the focus of training and become more and more important as one gets older. These include agility, balance, coordination, and reaction time.

Agility is the ability to stop, start and change direction quickly. Agility can be improved by performing footwork drills such as stepping over small cones or moving laterally through a ladder.

Balance is the ability to control body position while standing or moving. Balance can be trained by standing on one leg with eyes closed or using a BOSU trainer to stand on while performing exercises.

Coordination is the ability to mentally and physically make movements work together smoothly. Coordination can be improved by balancing on one leg while tossing a medicine ball or tennis ball against a wall or performing a squat on a BOSU while doing bicep curls.

Reaction time is how quickly an individual responds to a stimulus. This particular aspect of fitness is skill-related and can often be enhanced by practicing a specific sport or reaction to a stimulus (playing tennis, catching a baseball, etc.)

Regardless of current health, a balanced approach to fitness beyond strictly cardiovascular and strength training is essential to a well-rounded body and mind. Remember, sitting is the new smoking so get up, move around and keep that body healthy!!