The Three Pillars of Fitness (And Yes, They’re Equally Important)

I touched on this concept a bit last week, but I’m going to give it a good dive this week, because it recently rose to “a-ha!” status in my brain.

There are three pillars of fitness.

There are only two pillars in this picture. So, imagine that there's another one standing next to them (Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)
There are only two pillars in this picture. So, imagine that there’s another one standing next to them (Image courtesy of Victor Habbick / FreeDigitalPhotos.net)

I was actually kind of appalled when I realized a couple of weeks ago that I had let myself get away from the idea that fitness isn’t just about “getting my run in” for my marathon training. It’s about something quite a bit different. It’s about balance between three different areas of fitness. Three pillars, you might say.

This is how I think about it: There are three distinct pillars of fitness. You can touch on more than one during a single workout, but they’re all equally important if you want to become an 85-year-old badass who doesn’t slip and fall on ice and break a hip…who doesn’t use a walker…who doesn’t age out of life by neglecting the things totally, completely under her own control.

The three pillars are all trained in different ways (though you can touch on more than one of them in the same workout). And when I’m neglecting one (or more) of them, no matter how fit I am in the other areas, I’m not as fit as I could be, overall.

Drum roll, please.

The three pillars of fitness are : Cardiovascular Fitness, Strength, and Flexibility.

Got that? So…it’s not “enough” to go for a power walk a couple of times a week. It’s not enough to do hot yoga. It’s not enough to play around with some little dumbbells once in a while. It’s seriously important to train all three pillars in a focused, dedicated way. Because when you’re physically strong, flexible, and you have a strong heart, you’re going to have a quality of life that basically rocks the house.

This week is The Three Pillars of Fitness week at Every48. Each day, I’ll talk about one of the three pillars in depth, and then on Friday, I’ll offer up a bunch of ideas for how to plan out your own long-term program to make sure you’re training all three pillars consistently and effectively.

Sound good? Cool. Now get out there and get your workout stoke on. I’ll meet you back here tomorrow.

Recent #every48 workouts: RUN Friday – about 3.5 miles in the park, plus a 12-minute strength and stretching routine at home. REST on Saturday. RUN on Sunday – I was supposed to run long but was really dragging, so I just popped an 8-miler and hope that I’ll have more energy this week for more miles.

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