An Asian woman holding a glass of water and wearing workout gear

Most exercises emphasize the importance of health-related physical fitness, but there is another aspect to fitness that we should be paying attention to. Skill-related fitness is what allows us to carry out certain tasks efficiently. Read on to find out what they are and what makes them essential components of being fit.

What is Physical Fitness?

Physical fitness is more than just about having abs and being able to do a handstand, although these are certainly a part of it. A 2019 comparative study on skill and health-related fitness defines physical fitness as the “capacity to perform daily activities with vitality and sharpness, without undue fatigue while being able to appreciate recreation time interests and meet unpredicted emergencies.” In short, being “fit” should cover all bases of physical activity.

Skill-Related Fitness vs. Health-Related Fitness

Skipping rope is not just good cardio. It improves coordination as well.

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The components of health-related fitness include cardiovascular fitness, muscular strength and endurance, flexibility, and body composition. The same study defines skill-related fitness components as the “motor potential to carry out an activity with regard to speed, agility, power, balance, coordination, and reaction time.” Here are the different components of skill-related fitness explained:

Maintaining your balance. 

Balance is the ability to maintain balance in stillness and movement. Having good steadiness prevents injuries, enhances your performance during physical activities, and improves cognitive function. Some ways to improve your balance are doing yoga and tai chi, strengthening the body’s ability to be still, and transitioning slowly and repeatedly. 

Using maximum power quickly. 

Power is the ability to apply maximum force as quickly as possible. You can train for explosive power by doing kettlebell swings that are hip-hinged, which build power in the hip. Squat jumps are also an effective way to build lower-body strength and train your legs to store and distribute power through your body. If you can, try box jumps, which use explosive power to carry the body on an elevated platform. 

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Practicing accuracy and agility.

Agility is the ability to quickly and accurately change the direction of movements. While it’s not a direct measure of health, it’s an essential motor function that helps the body perform health-related fitness activities such as cardio and weight training without incurring injuries. Cone drills, ladder drills, or any exercise that requires you to shuffle your feet and shift your weight can help improve agility. 

Being able to perform with speed. 

Tire flips can help boost your speed by training your muscles to use maximum power in a short time.

Speed is the ability to move through as much space in the shortest time possible. According to the National Institutes of Health Institute of Aging, the benefits of speed training include prevention of injuries, improved endurance, fat burning, and muscle growth. When at the gym, you can improve your speed by doing deadlifts, box jumps, and tire flips, all of which train the body to use maximum power quickly.

Having full-body coordination.

Coordination is your ability to control your body’s movements, especially the limbs. Coordination exercises are some of the most fun. These include juggling, which helps with hand-eye coordination and movement under pressure, dribbling tennis balls, and skipping rope, which improves full-body coordination. 

Responding with a short reaction time.

Reaction time is the amount of time it takes your body to respond to an external stimulus. Reaction time is crucial, especially in timed sports events, as well as everyday life emergencies. Running outside is an effective way to improve your reaction time because you’ll also have to dodge obstacles or tread uneven ground.

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Consider practicing these skill-related fitness components the next time you train to boost your athletic performance as well as improve your everyday life.