There are five components of physical fitness, muscular strength and endurance, cardiovascular strength, flexibility and body composition. There are however also minor components of physical fitness that are just as important to training and improving your health and wellness. These minor components of physical fitness include balance, coordination, agility and reaction time. Most sports require athletes to be fit in each of these components, to play at a competitive level. In fact, without these minor components of physical fitness you may find that you are more prone to injury and your performance is substandard.
Balance is important to most sports that require you are off your feet and on an animal or wheels. However, balance isn’t to be overlooked in sports that require a significant amount of lateral movement such as basketball or tennis. Good balance will keep you upright and safe in many different situations when you are wheels or your feet. There are specific ways of increasing your balance for each sport. In cycling you can improve your balance by using rollers. On roller blades you can improve your balance by attempting an increased challenge level trail. Using an exercise ball to improve core muscle strength and a trampoline can also help to improve balance.
The second minor component of physical fitness is coordination. This is an extension of balance but is in fact the ability of muscles to function in harmony in motion. This harmony can only be achieved if the equipment being used is properly adjusted and fit to your body. If the blades on your skates aren’t smooth your coordination and balance will be affected. If your bike is too tall or too small your muscles won’t work in harmony.
Many athletes require agility for their sport. This minor component of physical fitness often means the difference between winning and losing. Agility can be both mental and physical. Moving through a strong basketball defensive line requires the ability to see the scene, pick the correct route and move. These are split second decisions that the athlete may not even recall making. But they are important.
The final minor component of physical fitness is reaction time. This is the ability to respond to a stimulus quickly and appropriately. When you adjust your steering on your bike, spin quickly to the left to avoid a defender on the basketball court or adjust your speed and direction while running on the football field you are using your reaction time. This requires your brain to register that there is an obstacle in your path, send a message to the correct muscles and for the muscles to contract correctly and in the right order.
Sports such as biking, basketball, kayaking, soccer and skating incorporate both of the five major components of physical fitness and the minor components of physical fitness.