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Types Of Physical Fitness

Physical fitness comprises the 3s - stamina, strength and suppleness. One exercise can benefit more than one area. For instance, jogging can improve your stamina and suppleness at the same time. Most forms of sports, work, and recreational activities include elements of aerobic fitness. A range of physical activities thus ensures total fitness.

Stamina

Stamina or endurance involves the ability to sustain physical activity for prolonged periods.

Generally speaking, any activity which lasts more than 12 minutes is considered aerobic. The term "aerobic" implies that the oxygen utilization by the body was the principle factor in accomplishing the task.

Strength Fitness

Stronger muscles can mean either more powerful muscles that can do better jobs (such as lifting heavier objects) or muscles that will work longer before becoming exhausted (stamina).

As you increase your muscle strength, you will notice that you can carry heavier grocery bags more easily; pick up children without feeling as much strain; or carry heavy item longer before becoming too tired to continue.

Other Benefits of strength training
Increases in:
  • Muscular strength
  • Lean body mass (more muscles)
  • Calories burned (increased metabolism)
  • Overall stability and balance
Decrease in:
  • Blood sugar levels
  • Body fat
  • Negative psychological outlook
  • Body aches and fatigue

Having stronger muscles also protects your joints. A program for increasing muscle strength could include the following:

  • Exercises such as push-ups, leg-lifts, and pull-ups.
  • Exercises with free weights ("dumbbells") or weight-training equipment.
  • Doing housework and yard work, such as scrubbing the bathtub, washing walls, tilling the garden, or raking leaves, on a regular basis.
  • Swimming, cycling, and skiing are activities that improve both muscle strength and aerobic fitness.
Suppleness

Your muscles are repeatedly shortened when they are used, especially when exercising. They need to be slowly and regularly stretched to counteract the repeated shortening.

This stretching results in suppleness or flexibility - the ability to move joints and muscles through their full range of motion. As you become more flexible, you will find it easier to reach things on high shelves, to bend lower and perhaps, tie your shoe lace.

Benefits of Suppleness
Increases in:
  • Range of motion;
  • Balance and stability;
  • Overall mobility;
  • Activities of daily living;
  • Sense of wellness;
  • Blood circulation;
  • Relaxation.
Decreases in:
  • Risk of muscular injury;
  • Anxiety.

Flexibility exercises should include the calves, triceps, groin muscles, and hamstrings.

Doing stretches for 10 to 12 minutes a day is generally recommended. This can easily be worked into your daily routine.

  • Do some stretches first thing in the morning.
  • Take a stretch break instead of a coffee break.
  • Stretch in the office for a few minutes.
  • Participate in activities that include stretching, such as dance, martial arts (aikido or karate), tai chi, or Yoga.
  • Stretching can also be done as part of strength training and aerobic exercise. Combining it with other forms of fitness is an ideal way to practice flexibility fitness.

When exercising, begin slowly and increase your efforts gradually and it is not necessary to get one day's exercise in one session. For example, walking 10 minutes, 3 times a day is about equal to 30 minutes once a day.

However, working longer (measured in total time) is better than working harder. This is true for up to one hour of exercise per day. Beyond that, there may be fewer health benefits and increasing risk of injuries.

How much exercise intensity?

Although in aerobic exercise, working longer provides more benefits than working harder, you do need to exercise hard enough to increase your heart rate to the point where it is 60% to 80% of its maximum.

Signs of improvement
  • As you continue to exercise aerobically, your heart rate will not rise as high as it once did with the same amount of effort. This is a sign that you are becoming more fit.
  • As you build muscle strength and endurance, you will notice that you can do more and more of each exercise. Maybe, you will see a change in the appearance of your muscles ; maybe not. A more important sign of progress is how many of each exercise you can do, or how much easier it feels to do them.

If you can't find a time during the day, exercise right after getting up in the morning. That way you will complete the exercises before your life gets too busy and you miss your chance.

08/01/03







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