Aspiring sportsperson? How do you keep fit

The Olympic motto is Citius, Altius, and Fortius, which is Latin for “Faster, Higher, and Stronger”.

Every athlete wants to run faster, jump higher or be the strongest one. But what is required to be so? At an event most of the athletes have the same level of talent. But what sets a winner apart from others is his/her ability to perform consistently at a higher level.

There is no single definition of sports fitness. It has different meanings depending upon your goals and/or the sport for which you are training. The basic question is “What is fitness?”

A set of attributes relating to people’s ability to perform physical activity is fitness. Sports fitness could also be defined as the ability of the individual to withstand the stress or pressure the game puts on his or her body and mind.

The fitness components are qualities that athletes must develop to physically prepare for sport competition. They are the building blocks of exercise and physical activity. Sports training programs are designed to build these components in the proper proportions that match the requirements of each sport.

Components of Sports Fitness:

Endurance (Stamina) is the ability to sustain an activity for extended periods of time. It involves muscular endurance (the ability of a muscle to contract repeatedly) and cardio fitness (the ability of the heart, lungs, to deliver oxygen and fuel to the muscles).

Strength is the ability to exert force against a resistance. Every sport requires some level of strength.

Power is application of force in a motion. Explosive skills require power fitness, which involves exerting force with marked acceleration. Olympic lifting and shot putting are examples.

Agility is defined as an ability to twist and turn with speed and accuracy, as in football, badminton, etc.

Balance is the ability to maintain posture, whether the body is in static or dynamic position. Static balance means that the athlete is not moving, such as when performing a handstand. Dynamic balance means that the athlete maintains equilibrium while moving, such as in running.

Coordination is the ability to move smoothly and efficiently. It is specific to each sport skill.

Flexibility refers to joint range of motion and elasticity of muscle. For e.g. gymnastics requires a high level of flexibility.  Every athlete requires optimal flexibility to compete in their respective sport.

The physical demands of sports determine which fitness components should be targeted in training.

Points to ponder:

  • Fitness and sport skill testing can play a role in refining a fitness training program for any group of athletes or individuals.
  • When developing the total sports training program, fitness training to meet the physical demands of a sport must complement training for the psychological, tactical, and technical skill demands of the sport.

The desire to win is born in most of us. The will to win is a matter of training – right training.

The author is a Sports Performance Enhancement Specialist

Check this space for more on exercise every Monday

Image: Flickr/creativecommons Mango Peel