Physical Fitness (Exercise)

April 11, 2012 by  
Filed under Fitness Tips

Article by Shirley-Ann Pearman

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Physical fitness is a personal responsibility. Few individuals other than athletes and military personnel are actually required to participate in organized fitness programmes. Most people are physically unfit simply because they do not get enough exercise. Many do not take the time to exercise, and others try to stay fit with only light, infrequent activity.

A person’s physical fitness is determined by such factors as age, heredity, and behavior. Although people cannot control their age or heredity, their behavior can help them become physically fit and stay that way. Individuals vary greatly in their capacity for physical fitness but almost anyone can improve by exercising regularly.

The years between adolescence and middle age are the peak period for physical fitness. However, people of the peak period for physical fitness. However, people of all ages can stay fit with good health habits and regular exercise. Any person more than 35 years old, and anyone with a health problem, should consult a doctor before beginning a fitness programme.

Health habits that aid physical fitness include getting enough sleep, eating properly, receiving regular medical and dental care, and maintaining personal cleanliness. Health can be harmed by overeating and eating the wrong kinds of foods; smoking ; and drug abuse, including excessive use of alcohol. Harmful health habits can undo the results of regular exercise.

A person’s level of physical fitness depends largely on how frequently and intensely he or she exercises. Most health experts agree that people should exercise at least three times a week to maintain desirable fitness. Improvement occurs faster with more frequent workouts.

Physical fitness experts recommend a 30 minute workout of continuous exercise. The exercise need not be difficult or strenuous. However, as a person’s condition improves, he or she should increase the number of times each activity is performed. Every workout should include three basic types of exercise:

Flexibility exercise,Endurance exercise, and Strength exercises

Flexibility exercises, such as bending, turning, and twisting movements, stretch the connective tissues and move the joints through a wide range of motions. These exercises cut the risk of injury from strenuous exercise and reduce muscle soreness. They should be performed before and after each workout.

Endurance exercises include cycling, running, and swimming. These activities, also call aerobic exercises, raise the rate of heartbeat and breathing and strengthen the circulatory and respiratory systems.

Strength exercises include pull-ups, pushups, situps, and exercises with weights. They strengthen the arms and shoulders and other muscular parts of the body.

Physical Fitness Programmes

School Programmes help children develop good physical fitness habits. Fitness during childhood influences fitness as an adult. By the time most people reach adulthood, their fitness habits have been firmly established.

It has been recommended that all primary and secondary schools should provide a daily exercise period of at least 20 minutes. This period should include vigorous activities designed to develop agility, endurance, flexibility, ad strength.

An effective school programme should offer regular health examinations, courses in health care, and performance tests to measure students’ progress in physical fitness. Such a programme also provides instruction in running, throwing, and other skills, and special programmes for handicapped and retarded students.

Physical fitness programmes should teach the younger children simple exercises and progress to more complicated ones as the children mature. Older pupils can participate in such activities as gymnastics, swimming, and dual and team sports. Secondary school programmes should include intramural sports, which involve competition among students of the same school and interscholastic sports, in which schools compete against one another.

Community programmes contribute to the physical fitness of the people by increasing the opportunities for exercise. A community needs leadership, adequate facilities, and good organization to develop successful fitness programmes. These programmes should meet the needs of residents with different interests and skills.

In many communities, schools become recreation and fitness centre during evenings and weekends and on days when the regular classes are not held. Schools can offer sports equipment and such facilities as gyms, playing fields, running tracks, and swimming pools. Some communities have special paths for cycling and jogging.

Many business companies, labour and service organizations, churches, private clubs, and park and recreation agencies provide facilities and instructors for community programmes. A number of firms have fitness programmes for their own employees.

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