Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Exercise and Fitness

When it comes to exercising, most of us take the all-or-nothing approach. For instance, if we're not able to devote 30 minutes a day for a complete workout, we give up on exercising altogether. But did you know that 10 minutes of activity, adding up to 30 minutes, spread throughout the day gives you the benefits of a complete 30-minute workout? Many of us have a lot of misconceptions about exercise and fitness. This series of articles aims at removing these misconceptions and tempt you into maintaining an energetic and healthy lifestyle.Fitness must be a way of life. No one is too young or too old to begin exercising. All you need to do is to incorporate some activity into your everyday life. Sounds simple? Yes, but it is not easy. This is especially true if you've been leading a sedentary lifestyle for quite some time. People have different goals for exercising - weight loss, flexibility, increasing muscle strength, overall fitness and so on. There is no such thing as a one-type-fits-all exercise program. As individuals, we are unique in our goals, personal preferences, metabolism, and genetic make-up. How do you decide the best physical fitness exercise program? As with any other aspect of our life, we must play up to our strengths and play down to our weaknesses.Components of Physical FitnessPhysical fitness is measured on the basis of four components – cardiorespirator endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, and flexibility.
Cardiorespiratory Endurance is the ability:
To deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues, and To remove wastes These activities should take place over sustained periods of time.Methods of measurement:Swimming and running long distances.
Muscular Strength is the ability of a muscle to exert force for a brief period of time. Methods of measurement:To measure the upper body strength, for example, various weight lifting exercises may be used.Muscular Endurance is the ability of a muscle, or a group of muscles, To sustain repeated contractions or To continue applying force against a fixed object.Methods of measurement:The endurance of arms and upper body muscles are tested by pushups.
Flexibility is the ability:
To move joints and To use muscles through their full range of motion.Methods of measurement:Flexibility of the lower back and backs of the upper legs can be measured by sit-and-reach tests.Body Composition is the makeup of the body in terms of lean mass (muscle, bone, vital tissue and organs) and fat mass. An optimal ratio of fat to lean mass is an indication of fitness. Body composition is also considered a component of fitness.The Difference between Physical Activity and Exercise.
Both regular exercise and increased physical activity add years to your life and life to your years. Health benefits are obtained from increasing the amount of any physical activity you do. The more you do the greater the benefits. Physical activity is any movement that uses energy. Exercise is physical activity that is structured and is done at certain intensity for a certain length of time. We engage in exercise and physical activity for health and fitness benefits.
Water Exercise
Water is essential for the proper functioning of every organ, especially the heart and brain. We've always heard from childhood about drinking at least 8 glasses of water a day. This is only a guideline, not a hard-and-fast rule. In fact, the amount of water we must drink depends on the climatic condition and the activities we pursue. In hot weather, we tend to be thirstier and as a result, drink a lot of water and other fluids. When the weather is cold, we don't feel as thirsty and we drink lesser amounts of water. Milk, fruit juices, even coffee and tea also helps to meet the daily requirement. But when you take in diuretics i.e., beverages like coffee, make sure you drink a cup of water too. We are bound to lose a substantial quantity of the fluids we drink everyday. Replenishing our fluid intake is thus important.Thirst is often an indicator of when to drink water. But when it comes to exercising, this isn't true. During vigorous physical activity, we may lose a considerable amount of fluid before we realize we're thirsty. Experts say that fatigue is often a sign of mild dehydration. we must drink a lot of water before starting to exercise, and take regular breaks to drink water. So, water excercise is good for health.

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