Basic physical abilities in Physical Education

Every individual has basic physical qualities that allow him to carry out his daily activities, with a lower or higher performance compared to other people. These capacities can be improved according to the physical condition of each person, their eating habits, age, genetics, rest, among other factors. 

Currently, people are showing more concern about their physical condition. That is why we can observe individuals of different ages wearing a tracksuit and going for walks, runs, cycling or using public and private gyms to carry out a physical activity that helps them improve their abilities. 

In this sense, it is important to refresh the knowledge that was learned at school during Physical Education classes, and pay more attention to what the basic physical abilities are. But first, let’s talk about physical condition.

Physical condition

The set of qualities that an individual possesses to perform certain physical efforts without excessive fatigue is what is defined as physical condition. 

Each person has their own physical condition, which is inherent to their individual characteristics, eating habits, age, among other factors. In this sense, it is easy to distinguish two types of physical condition.

  • General physical condition: These are the qualities that an individual has to carry out their daily activities with satisfaction, being an indicator of a good state of health.
  • Special physical condition: It is related to the development of specific qualities, according to the practice of a particular sport or a physical discipline that requires better performance in their activities.

What are basic physical abilities

When talking about improving physical condition we must have knowledge of the qualities that we have developed so far to know which ones need to be reinforced. 

In the first place, we must emphasize that the basic physical abilities are the components of the physical condition that will determine, to a lesser or greater degree, the development of your activities, depending on the motor skill in question. 

Second, from this definition we can classify the types of basic physical abilities as follows:

  • motor skills
  • Perceptual-motor abilities
  • Derived or resulting capabilities

Below we are going to detail the basic capacities, since this typification is the most widespread in the Physical Education curriculum, with capacity exercises aimed at stimulating these skills from an early age.  

motor skills

  • Endurance: Among the basic physical abilities, endurance is what defines the individual’s ability to perform a physical effort, of low or high intensity, for a prolonged period of time. It can also be understood as a person’s ability to withstand the progressive fatigue that results from long-term physical exertion

The development of this capacity affects the good condition of the respiratory and cardiovascular systems, promoting efficient circulation in the body. The muscular system is strengthened and fat tissue is decreased, digestive functions are also improved, contributing to a good state of health. Endurance is further classified into aerobic and anaerobic.

  • Speed: The Spanish physical trainer Carlos Álvarez del Villar considers speed as the ability to perform one or more movements in the shortest possible time. Likewise, it can be understood as the rapid execution of a movement, with a low level of fatigue and in a short period of time. This is classified into movement speed, reaction speed and gesture speed . Each of them defines the response to a certain stimulus that the individual has in the shortest time. 

Working on speed in physical education allows you to increase concentration and attention levels, as well as execute efficient and faster movements. All this translates into a constant stimulus to the nervous system. 

Some studies have shown that speed is an innate quality, and although it can be developed with exercises and training, the possibility of evolution is less than in the other capacities.

Happy sporty kids in gym. pressing, working with a coach. children’s fitness
  • Flexibility: In the development of basic physical capacities, flexibility plays a very important role because the extensibility and elasticity of the muscles depend on it , as well as the efficient mobility of the joints to achieve the optimal development of the other capacities in which large amplitude movements are required. 

That is why the main objective of flexibility is to reduce the risk of injuries to the musculoskeletal system by warming up the muscles, improving coordination and taking care of postural hygiene.

The evolutionary development of flexibility should be used in primary education, because when puberty begins the muscle begins to lose its elastic capacity and with exercises at an early age the involution process can be stopped. The best known classification of this capacity divides it into two types: static and dynamic. But there are other classifications that divide it into 3 and 4 categories. 

  • Strength: It is a fundamental capacity that each individual develops to a lesser or greater degree. It is defined, according to the Physical Education teacher Muska Mostón, as the ability to overcome internal or external resistance through muscle contraction. We see this quality represented in our daily life as in the practice of any sport or physical activity. 

Regarding the classification of force, maximum, explosive and resistance are distinguished. Each of them will be developed according to the sport or activity you want to do. 

Likewise, when working on strength as a basic capacity, you will notice an increase in muscle volume , as well as an increase in muscle tone, which translates into a better physical disposition.

Regarding the other abilities, which are coordination, balance and agility, we can summarize that it is the combination of several skills to optimize your performance in any physical activity. All these qualities are what will determine the level of your physical condition to help you have good physical and mental health. 

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