Soundness of body and mind
Scientists specialising in exercise have identified nine elements that comprise the definition of fitness. The following lists each of the nine elements and an example of how they are used:
• Strength – the extent to which muscles can exert force by contracting against resistance (holding or restraining an object or person)
• Power – the ability to exert maximum muscular contraction instantly in an explosive burst of movements (jumping or sprint starting)
• Agility – the ability to perform a series of explosive power movements in rapid succession in opposing directions (zigzag running or cutting movements)
• Balance – the ability to control the body’s position, either stationary (e.g. a handstand) or while moving (e.g. a vault or gymnastics stunt)
• Flexibility – the ability to achieve an extended range of motion without being impeded by excess tissue, i.e. fat or muscle (executing a leg split). Flexibility can be further broken down into: static passive, dynamic and static active
• Local Muscle Endurance – a single muscle’s ability to perform sustained work (rowing or cycling)
• Cardiovascular Endurance – the heart’s ability to deliver blood to working muscles and their ability to use it (running long distances)
• Strength Endurance – a muscle’s ability to perform a maximum contracture time after time (continuous explosive rebounding through an entire basketball game)
• Coordination – the ability to integrate the above listed components so that effective movements are achieved.
Of all the nine elements of fitness cardiac respiratory qualities are the most important to develop as they enhance all the other components of the conditioning equation.
When trained correctly, Parkour can use and develop all nine elements of fitness. It is how you train that determines how much of an improvement you will gain in each element from training for Parkour. By knowing about and understanding the nine elements of fitness you can maintain balance in training.
The bodies ability to work easily and/or with lessened stress while performing a chosen activity. Example: When you learn to do something new it can often be difficult and uncomfortable, but the more you persist at it the easier it becomes, until it is a task that can be carried out with ease or almost instinctively.
Its relation to Parkour being: if you train to do one or two vaults then have a rest, then that’s what your body will become used to. If you want to run a sustained distance while vaulting it will be more difficult because you haven’t trained your body to be conditioned to that sort of activity. You need to know what end result you wish to achieve to be able to condition yourself effectively for it. Conditioning involves the correct application of exercise principles to progressively improve and allow you to perform your chosen activity with greater ease.