Little credit is given to the real contribution that physical fitness can make towards the demands of everyday life. Picture yourself, for instance, at the end of a day’s work-have you still the energy to make the most of a busy social life, develop new interests and hobbies, attend evening classes or play some form of sport? Or are you’re more likely to be found slumped in an armchair in front of the television? Let’s test your fitness and learn how to improve your fitness.
Does your body need a service?
Few people would run their cars for years on end without having them serviced, and then expect high performance in return. But many of us tend hot be fare less considerate when it comes to the way in which we treat our own bodies.
You may not think that you are asking too much of your body if you lead a particularly inactive life, but, on the contrary, simple everyday demands such as walking up a flight of stairs can prove too much for a person who is not used to exercise.
Quite simply, the body deteriorates though lack of use. Muscles get thinner and weaker, the heart gets smaller, the lungs are less able to take in air, and the joints begin to stiffen up. Then, if sudden exertion is required, even for something as ordinary as running for a bus, the body systems can be severely strained.
The lungs desperately try to take in air to supply oxygen demanded by muscles unaccustomed to activity, and the heart rate leaps up to a dangerous level to get the oxygen from the lungs to the muscles.
So you are left gasping for breath, breaking out in a sweet, trembling from head to toe, with your heart thudding uncomfortably in your chest if this is a familiar picture, it is worth remembering that sudden physical exertion is a major cause of heart failure in unfit people. If you find yourself getting out of breath in such situations, you should think seriously about trying to improve you fitness as soon as possible.
How exercise can help
The old idea that hard physical labour increased the wear and tear or the aging process has now been proved wrong. When you exercise, the muscles including the heart get bigger and stronger.
The heart can pump more blood and so it beats more slowly and is thus less stressed. The capacity of the lungs increases so they can take in more air with each breath.
With the increased strength of the heart, the circulation of the blood improves, preventing high blood pressure and reducing the risk of a stroke. The limbs and major parts stay supple so that the body has a wider range of movement and can twist, turn and bend without effort.
The condition of the body improves with use, and the harder it is used the more it improves. Thought it is very important to build up your physical fitness programme gradually.
Take no notice of people who tell you that being fit means getting up at dawn, taking a cold shower, running long distances to work up a sweat and exercising to the point of exhaustion. In fact, it would be very unwise and quite dangerous for someone who is unused to any sort of physical activity, to start by jogging around the park, particularly if the or she is overweight.
Getting into shape
Getting fit is not difficult but it does require a certain amount of will power. You are more likely to keep up your efforts if you make exercising part of your daily routine rather than undertaking an occasional physical outburst which will only leave you feeling stiff and more unfit than ever.
Forget any ideas you may have had about exercise only doing you good if it hurts. If it does hurt, it is probably doing you harm. Far from hurt, it is probably doing you harm. Far from being a required after-effect of exercise, aching muscles are a warning signs from your body that you are overdoing it.
It helps to remember that an ordinary man or woman should exercise to be able to run for a bus, not for the Olympics. Although you can get fir by simply altering your lifestyle, for most young people, a balanced programme of exercise is probably more effective.
The best method, however, is to combine a little of both: for example, do not sit when you could be standing (standing is good for the blood circulation), walk instead of driving or taking the bus, walk up stairs instead of using a lift, and spend at least ten minutes every day doing exercises.
In no time at all you will discover that you have enough energy to do things you never dreamt of doing before-such as, going for a swim after a hard day’s work, or even that daily jog in the park.
Unfortunately, exercise alone will not make you slim, but it will help you to burn up extra calories so that only small changes in your diet will be necessary for you to start shedding any surplus weight.
Exercise can, however, make you look thinner by tightening up the weak muscles which give the body the unsightly sagging appearance. And the feeling of well-being that exercise brings often provides the incentive to eat a more healthy and wholesome diet.
Improving your performance
If you take a long hard look at yourself and make positive moves towards improving your physical condition, you will find that your physical condition, you will find that your efforts soon pay off, and that they are worth every bit of time and energy initially spent.
It is surprising how quickly you can make a difference to your fitness if you exercise regularly, without a great deal of exertion. Once you have slanted your way of thinking towards exercise and have made it part of your disposal everything seems easier.
If you are overweight you are expending a considerable amount of energy each day simply moving all that excess around. Eliminate the excess, tighten up the flab and you will need less effort to get through an ordinary working day, so you will have plenty of energy to spare for your own enjoyment and leisure time.
Waking up in the morning will be an altogether new experience. You will wake refreshed and better prepared to face whatever the day may bring. As you will not tire so easily, your capacity for work will be improved. You will feel less anxious and less prone to irritability.
Of course, one of the greatest pints in favor of being physically fit is that when it comes to your relationship with our partner, family and friends, you will be able to make better use of your leisure time together.
Test your fitness
These exercises are designed to find out how fit you really are. All exercise routines should start off gently to get your body used to physical exertion and this test will give you an idea of where to start.
Remember though, do not overdo it. When you run out of breath stop you will have reached your current fitness level. You can strain muscles easily so don’t overdo it.
A reasonable fit person should be able to perform these exercises the number of times specified here. If you start to flag, you are in need of a proper fitness programme.
The best thing to put paid to any good intentions you may have of exercising every day is a bout of strenuous physical activity which leaves our body feeling stiff and painful.
The importance of preparing yourself for exercise before you begin in earnest cannot be overstressed after all, pulled muscles and a strained back won’t up’, doesn’t it make even more sense for those of us who are much less fit?
So, to get the most out of exercising, first spend about five minutes loosening up by doing these simple exercises.
Exercising legs and hips
We spend far too much time sitting, so it’s not surprising that as we get older our hips tend to spread and the circulation in our legs gets sluggish, causing them to tire easily and even develop varicose veins. So, to prevent these and other problems happening to you, stat exercising now.
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