11 Components of Cardiovascular Endurance and Fitness

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11 Components of Cardiovascular Endurance and Fitness
There are 11 components of cardiovascular fitness. (Jupiterimages/liquidlibrary/Getty Images)

The 11 components of cardiovascular fitness are divided into two groups, health-related fitness and skill-related fitness. Health-related fitness components are qualities such as muscle strength, muscle endurance and cardiovascular fitness. Examples of skill-related components are power, agility and speed.

The President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports suggests that people who are older than 35 and have been inactive for a number of years should consult a physician before beginning an exercise program or taking a graded fitness test.

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Cardiovascular Fitness

Cardiovascular fitness is the ability of the heart, respiratory system, blood and blood vessels to provide fuel in the form of oxygen throughout the muscles. The component includes the capacity of the muscles to process fuel to promote sustained physical activity.

Running and swimming are two exercises that can be employed to measure this component. Other exercises include rope-jumping, rowing, cycling and games like handball and racquetball.

Muscular Endurance

Muscular endurance consists of the ability of one muscle or a group of muscles to exert themselves on a persistent basis. This includes the capacity of a muscle to sustain repeated contractions or to continue applying force against a stationary object for a set period of time. To improve muscular endurance, engage in three or more 30-minute sessions of exercise each week including activities such as sit-ups, pull-ups, push-ups, callisthenics and weight training for the major muscle groups.

Body Composition

The percentage of fat, bone, muscle, water and other tissues that make up your body comprise your body composition. Lean mass like muscle and tissue is measured against fat mass to determine your level of fitness and the type of exercises that should be employed to decrease body fat and maintain or increase lean muscle mass.


Flexibility is defined as the range of motion of any joint in the body. The component also measures your ability to use muscles through their full range of motion. Stretching can help improve your level of flexibility.


Balance means the ability to maintain equilibrium while stationary or during movement. Keeping your posture upright while moving is a necessary skill in sports, especially hockey and figure skating.

Muscular Strength

Muscular strength is the capacity of the muscles to move a heavy weight or exert an external force. To increase muscular strength, perform a full body-weight training workout in two 20-minute sessions per week.


Power is defined as the ability to convert energy into force at a rapid rate. The capacity of your muscles to do strength work at an explosive pace can be improved by performing powerlifting exercises like deadlifts and squats.


Coordination consists of the ability to use the senses with body parts to engage in motor tasks accurately. Integrating your hand and foot movements with the sensory input is a primary component in sports like boxing, which requires strong hand-eye coordination.

Speed, Reaction Time & Agility

Speed means the ability to perform a particular movement in a short amount of time, moving from one location to another in a straight line. Engaging in wind sprints can help improve your speed.

Reaction time is the period of time that elapses between any stimulation and the beginning of the counter-reaction to the initial stimuli.

Agility consists of the ability to quickly change directions without losing body control, balance or speed.

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