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Five Components of Fitness: Cardiorespiratory Endurance

written by: Summer Banks • edited by: Diana Cooper • updated: 10/7/2010

Physical fitness is about more than just working out on a regular basis. When trying to becoming physically fit, the fitness of the cardiorespiratory system is often the major focus.

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    There are five components that make up physical fitness. These components are cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Cardiorespiratory endurance refers to the ability of the body to exchange oxygen with the muscles effectively and remove waste from the cells of the body.

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    Increasing Cardiorespiratory Endurance

    When seeking to become more physically fit, it is important to focus on all aspects of fitness. The cardio forms of physical activity are those that increase the body's overall cardiorespiratory endurance. When first starting a physical fitness regime, the body will become tired quickly. As time progresses, the body will be able to endure more strenuous activities for a longer period of time. This progression is a sign that the cardiorespiratory endurance of the body is increasing.

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    Exercises for Increasing and Maintaining Cardiorespiratory Endurance

    The body is unique in that the muscles will quickly become accustomed to the physical activities we choose as a part of our fitness plans. When building cardiorespiratory endurance, exercises will need to change and change often. The heart is a muscle just like the muscles of the legs and arms and confusing that muscle will help keep the body building endurance consistently.

    Confusing the heart muscle is not as difficult as it may sound. Many people choose an elliptical machine or treadmill to build their cardiorespiratory endurance. During the cardio workout, alternating short bursts of quick speed with a steady pace will be just enough to keep the heart guessing. It is also important to keep the heart rate elevated during the fitness regime.

    The heart will also return to a less effective state if physical activity is not maintained on a regular basis. Muscle atrophy occurs when a muscle is not used on a regular basis in connection with a sedentary lifestyle or even the aging process. The heart is no different. Regular exercise need not be strenuous every day, but it does mean in order to stay fit, the body needs to move at least 3 days of the week.

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    Beginning Cardiorespiratory Endurance Training

    For people who do not workout regularly, the beginning weeks of fitness will need to progress slowly. At first, as little as 10 minutes a day will provide benefit to all the muscles of the body including the heart muscle. As the workouts begin to become easier, adding time and level of activity will help to build cardiorespiratory endurance.

Five Components of Fitness

The five components of fitness are cardiorespiratory endurance, muscle endurance, muscle strength, flexibility and body composition.
  1. Five Components of Fitness: Cardiorespiratory Endurance
  2. Five Components of Fitness: Muscular Strength
  3. Five Components of Fitness: Muscular Endurance
  4. Five Components of Fitness: Flexibility
  5. Five Components of Fitness: Body Composition