Archive | Fitness

Current and Emerging Trends in Fitness

Fitness is a constantly changing field. There are always new machines, methods, and theories aimed at improving the quality of life. Fitness fads may come and go, but there have been several trends in fitness that have lasted several decades and continue to grow in popularity.

Aerobic exercise has always formed the backbone of the fitness industry. Running, step aerobics, dance-type aerobics, boxing, kickboxing, and spinning, an indoor cycling class set to music, have all emerged as mainstays in health and fitness facilities. Their popularity continues to grow.

Aquatic exercise has also increased in popularity. Water has the unique ability to allow cardiovascular and muscular improvements with little stress on the joints of the body. Aquatic exercise is no longer just swimming laps; almost every class that can be done on land is now being done in the water. Running, spinning, step aerobics, and even strengthening can all be done in the water.

With the improvement of health care and longer life spans, older adult exercise has expanded and has also become a necessity to maintain a positive quality of life. Not only are older adults engaging in exercise to maintain and improve health, they are taking part in competitive road races, cycling races, and bodybuilding competitions. Age barriers no longer exist and because of this, fitness classes geared toward the older population are widespread.

As grandparents and great-grandparents take part in sports and fitness, they set an example for younger generations. These younger generations have the benefit of improved technology and more abundant food, and with these things-and a more sedentary lifestyle-come the increased chance that they will live a less healthy lifestyle than their active older family members. The fitness field combats this possibility of unhealthy living with sports and fitness programs geared toward children and young adults. This fitness trend is now faced with the challenge of improving the heath of future generations and has the opportunity to encourage a lifetime of healthy habits.

But the greatest transformation in the fitness field has been the growth of the mind-and-body exercises. There has been a shift toward gentler, more introspective exercises that also contribute to improving cardiovascular health while increasing flexibility and muscular strength. Yoga and pilates would fall into this category of exercise. Yoga has its roots in ancient India (from around 2800 BCE) and focuses on breathing and mindfulness during a practice of held poses. Pilates, on the other hand, was developed by Joseph H. Pilates (1880-1967) around 1926. Pilates’ method involved a unique series of stretching and strengthening exercises. Both yoga and pilates use an individual’s breath and self-awareness as the focus of exercise. Aside from the obvious strength and flexibility benefits, these mind and body exercises are popular for their stress relieving qualities.

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The Pros and Cons of Weight Training For Teenagers

If you’re a teenager or a parent of a teenager that looks for facts and things to learn about weight training for teenagers then you’re reading the right article. The tips and advice mentioned below will give you an overview of the many things that surrounds strength training for teens such as answers to the questions “Is it normal to let a teenager lift weights?” or “Does the teenager need to orally take supplements?” or “What foods are allowed in weight training for teenagers?”.

It is normal when kids want to perform a weight training program. It’s even recommended for weight loss by doctors especially if the young adult is on the verge of obesity. The sad thing about weight lifting exercise and workout is that others start doing the routines when they’re already older or when their bodies turn to jiggle a lot because of too much fat. In physical exercises, the earlier the better is the key. Teenagers need to know how to take care of their health and body appearance as early as possible. Strength training for teenagers can do a lot of wonders in the child’s lifestyle.

There are a lot of benefits and advantages on weight training for beginners. Probably the most important of them are the benefits that clearly affect their health. Listed below are the health benefits of weight training exercises to teenagers:

  • The muscle building training strengthen the teenager’s body particularly his or her muscles and bones. This will help reduce any forms of osteoporosis or any lower back pains in the future.
  • Lifting weights can boost the metabolism of the teenager.
  • Strength training activities are great to fix or to improve the coordination or balance problem of a teenager.
  • The activity can definitely tone the muscles of the teenager. It will not just boost their energy; it will also boost their self confidence.
  • Workouts and exercise routines can keep the teenager occupied so there’s just a small window of opportunity for bad elements like drugs and too much alcohol to worry about.

The following are some tips and tricks for a teenager or a teenager’s parent to do and follow for a safer routine for the children.

  • Consult the doctor. If you’re a teenager who wishes to start weight lifting programs, you should ask your parents or guardians to accompany you to the doctor. Consultation is important to avoid any health risks in the future. Of course if you have a heart ailment, the doctors can advice you on what types of routines can both benefit your heart and will keep it away from heart strains.
  • Research about bodybuilding. Teenagers are eager and impulsive by nature. And though, these qualities are adorable, it can also create harm. If the teenager decided to enroll in the gym for fitness training then you need to do a research about it. You have to know what types of routines your body can handle. Make sure to know your strengths and weaknesses so you’ll have an idea what to improve and what to enhance. You also need to research the variety of nutrition that you need to take.
  • As much as possible, say no to supplements. Try to exercise without any help from pills and drugs to avoid health complications in the future.

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3 Excellent Benefits of Fitness Weight Climbing Machines

The fitness weight climbing machine has been overlooked as a valuable piece of equipment that promotes a more ‘natural’ weight loss routine.

Running has played a large part in our lives, especially those of us who wish to keep fit and keep that gut down before we get too old and too tired. For many people, especially overweight individuals, running is a high impact workout that can be damaging to their joints, especially their ankles and knees. Jogging or running can also be difficult for those suffering from a variety of medical conditions.

Benefit No. 1 Low impact

The pressure on the joints during a run is tremendous, especially for beginners and overweight people looking to shed a few inches of their waist. This is why many fitness professionals and health doctors have been weaning people towards the ecclesiastical post modern silhouette of the fitness climbing machine.

Benefit No. 2 Good Cardiovascular Exercise

For those who raise the flag of running high in the air, the cardio vascular benefits of fitness weight climbing machines are excellent, comparable and sometimes exceeding that of normal running. And because it is low impact, there is a reduced chance of injury and it gives the end user a boost, allowing him or her to stay on the machine that little bit longer.

Benefit No. 3 Excellent Total Body Workout

Fitness climbing machines also strengthen a whole host of lower body muscles, including quadriceps, gluteals, calves, hamstrings and basically everything below the waist. Furthermore, these machines have variable resistance which can be adjusted by the user, which means he or she can tailor the workout to meet their individual needs. Also, it means that fitness climbing is a progressive experience, improvements are tangible the end user can tailor the next workout for differing fitness objectives, once one has already been met.

The best benefit of a fitness weight climbing machine is the fact that it is a ‘closed kinetic’ chain movement. This means that the machines offer the user a more natural movement in their joints, closely matching daily activities like climbing the stairs or striding. The body weight is also ‘leaned into’ the machine, promoting distribution all over the specific supporting joints, diminishing the possibility of fatigue on a single body part and lessening the risk of serious or mild injury.

Start learning about the proper guidelines and bio-mechanics of using such machines, optimising them for the best result. There are many guidebooks that offer exercise variations, movements that will give you a fresh perspective on fitness climbing machines. Their potential is limitless in the hunt for a healthier lifestyle. Online directories and information suppositories offer a wealth of advice.

Unfortunately, there are many websites that offer lack-lustre training methodologies. For years I have advocating cutting edge methods of losing weight and staying in shape. If you want to shape your body now, you should simply visit “Shape Your Body Now”!

Running will always be the mainstay. But it isn’t for everyone. The alternative is just as good, and in some cases twice as safe. The option is really up to you, but if you are an individual who either wants a change in their workout routine – fitness weight climbing machines give a fresh new perspective.

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Tips For Preparing For the APFT

What to Eat and Avoid

1. Stay Hydrated

The most difficult part of preparing for a PT test is the most intuitive. Staying properly hydrated seems like so simple of a task that it is often overlooked. There is much more to staying hydrated than drinking water. The first suggestion is not to drink too much water. Drinking large amounts of water in a short period of time will flush the body of necessary electrolytes. Once the electrolytes have been flushed out, there is nothing in your body to keep you hydrated. Salts help retain the water. This is not to say that you should be taking in a ton of salt either. Too much salt will have the opposite effect. Eat something with some salt while you drink your water. I recommend a banana for every three glasses you drink. If you’re going to drink Gatorade the night before a PT test, do so in moderation. Large amounts of sugar and salts will do nothing but dehydrate you. Gatorade should only be drunk after a workout to replace lost fluids and electrolytes. If you really want the best possible drink for hydrating, go out and buy Pedialyte. I know it’s for kids and not as sweet as Gatorade, but it is designed to hydrate in a hurry. It is costly, but one large bottle will do the trick.

2. Do not “Carbo-load”

There is a common misconception that eating a large amount of carbs the night before a workout will give you more energy the next day. This couldn’t be further from the truth. When your body breaks down large amounts of carbs, it will process them into stored energy or fat. This process actually uses a great deal of energy also. Increased energy will come from meals eaten within two to five hours depending on what you eat. Carbs are broken down faster than other forms of food. If eaten about 4 hours before working out, they can be very helpful. Unfortunately, PT tests are scheduled at 6 a.m. Getting up at 1:30 to eat just isn’t a good solution. Sleep is much more important than a small boost in energy. The other issue with eating a lot of one particular is that your body cannot process all of it. This causes more waste to be generated. I let you guess how a large amount of waste would affect you on the day of a PT test. Since you aren’t going to get up at one and you shouldn’t carbo-load, what should you do? Eat a moderate balanced meal with protein, vegetables, and some carbohydrates.

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How Quickly Can You Get Fit After Years of Inactivity?

Have you been inactive for years? Are you wondering how long it will take you to get fit?

The short answer is “It depends!” How fast you get into shape is directly related to your present physical condition, and how fast your body reacts to physical conditioning. For example, someone 10 pounds overweight, with no physical limitations, will get into shape a lot faster than someone 50 pounds overweight with Type II diabetes and bad knees.

Not only will it take the second person longer to get in shape, but he or she will probably need to use a different strategy. The second person may never get to the fitness level of the first one. But remember that it is not a competition. It is individual and doing anything is better than doing nothing.

Getting fit after years of inactivity is like taking a car out for a drive after it has been sitting for ten years. If you are a car aficionado, you know you wouldn’t get in, and see how fast you could max out the r.p.ms in every gear. You would baby it along and gradually get it up to speed. The body after years of “non-use” is similar.

You want to start slow and gradually work your way up the fitness ladder. The American Heart Association recommends that a good place to start is to exercise three to four times per week, 30 to 60 minutes each time, with a target heart rate of 50% to 60% of your maximum heart rate. To calculate your maximum heart rate take 220 – your age (for men) or 226 – your age (for women).

For example, the maximum heart rate for a 50 year-old man would be 170. Sixty percent of that figure would be 102 beats per minute. Increase your level of activity over a 6-week period eventually getting your target heart rate up to 70 to 80% (80% would be 136).

A good place to start is with a mix of cardio and strength training. Walking, running, playing tennis, biking and swimming are all good cardio activities that will get your heart rate up to your target range. Of course before starting your exercise routine, (and after getting the okay from your doctor), be sure to warm-up with stretching.

If you have bad knees, then substitute an elliptical trainer for walking or running. And don’t even think of playing tennis. With either cardio or strength training, adjust time/intensity and weight/repetitions to keep your heart rate in the appropriate range. With strength training, start out light on weight and repetitions and work up.

The other half of getting fit is eating right. While you are at the doctor getting checked out to see if you are fit enough to start an exercise program, ask about a nutrition plan. It will be different for you if you have to lose a lot of weight than if you are already at the proper weight for your height and age.

Getting fit is about setting a goal and then gradually working up to reach that goal. Focusing only on reaching your goal as quickly as possible is just asking for a debilitating injury which could set you back months.

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Five Tips to Get You Off the Couch & Lose Your Chest Fat

All around you, people are getting wise to the fact that some type of daily training is crucial. Still, you can’t seem to get up the enthusiasm to settle into an exercise routine and start working off those man boobs. Before you reach for that next cold beer and turn on the TV, here are 5 key tips to help get you started:

Tip # 1 You’ll Live Longer

Folks who do at least some training often have longer life expectancy than persons who are in essence inactive. If you’re hoping to see what the world looks like in 30, 40 or 50 years time you stand a much better chance if you’re doing some physical activities such as walking or weight training.

Tip # 2 You’ll Have A Stronger Body

Your body needs to be active in order to keep muscles running properly. This also goes for such muscles as your heart as well as your abs, triceps and the other muscles around your body. A strong body provides you with the basis to do loads of activities that you just can’t do when the body is exhausted and run down.

Tip # 3 Your Mind Will Be Better

Exercise helps to liberate chemicals known as endorphins into the bloodstream. Endorphins, as well as several other chemicals, are a critical factor in keeping our brains and nervous system healthy. Keeping fit and healthy will provide your brain everything it needs to function at top efficiency, keeping your nerves balanced and will result in you being able to cope with everything that life can chuck at you.

Tip # 4 You’ll Have Extra Confidence

Being in great shape means not having to search around for outsize clothing, not struggle to be comfortable on an aeroplane, or fretting about showing your chest fat on the beach. Training helps to keep the body proportioned properly so it is easier to look good in what you wear, and feel comfortable and confident going anywhere you want.

Tip # 5 You’ll Enjoy A Better Sex Life

Exercise helps to prepare the body for activity. No one would not regard sex as an activity that is not pleasurable and sought-after. But if you want to get the maximum benefit from the activity you need to have a high level of stamina and physical fitness. So physical fitness achieved from frequent exercise will help you be more responsive and take pleasure in enhanced orgasms, better than you ever thought conceivable.

So frequent fitness work makes common sense, whether you think in long term or short term objectives. So don’t deny yourself the huge rewards that regular training will give you any more. Get off the couch now and begin your new way of life. You won’t regret it.

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Important Things To Consider When Choosing A Personal Trainer

So you have decided to join the gym and get the assistance of a personal trainer to do your goals. Are you maybe looking to lose weight, tone your muscles or even build muscle? A personal trainer is qualified and experienced in helping you with your fitness goals, they will tailor make a programme for you that will help you do your goals quickly and safely.

Walking into the gym and asking for a personal trainer is an easy step, but how do you chow if you are choosing the right personal trainer for you? Are you even looking at the right gym?These are important questions which could result in how often you can or are willing to train.

Some of the important factors to include in your consideration is the credentials of the personal trainer. You want someone who has completed their training effectively and received an industry recognised certification that you can rely on and trust. You want to know you are choosing someone who will benefit you in the long run and encourage a positive difference in your workout and lifestyle choices moving forward.

Now that you know the personal trainers credentials, you want to take a look at their personality. Ideally you want to choose someone who you will get on with during your training. Remember you are going to spend quite a bit of time with this person each week. They will be with you every step of the way, pushing you through your fitness programme, monitoring your progress and reasserting your programme to make sure you achieve the result you are looking to achieve.

Next identify if the personal trainer has any specialities. Some focus more on weight loss, others will be professional body builders, while there are those that can help with toning, nutrition, rehabilitation and more. Identify your own needs and then look at the personal trainers offering their services and try to choose someone that focuses on your goals so you can make them quickly and effectively.

Always ensure that the person you choose to help you achieve your fitness goals is available at times when you can get to the gym. If you work all day and can only get there on your way home from work, you need to ensure your trainer is available at those times, so that you can get the workout you need. This way you are assured that your appointments will be set up for each week and you get the same qualified and experienced professional that you need.

Look at the location of the gym. This can be such an important point. Ideally the gym should be close to your work or home, making it easier to stop there on your way home or on your way to work. Choosing a gym that is out-of-the-way from your regular route, makes it easier to give it a miss after a long day, where in fact a good workout will do you more good, helping relieve the stress and giving you the energy boost you need.

Set your budget and make sure you can get the gym membership and personal trainer within your budget. You will also want to take a closer look at the gyms reputation in the area. A gym that has a high demand for their personal trainers is the one you should look at it. Chances are they are in demand because they are offering the best quality services and training that you can count on when looking to achieve your goals.

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What Has Changed in Health & Fitness Over the Last 30 Years?

There have been many changes in fitness over the past 30 years. It’s human nature to reminisce about times past. That’s great but lets not forget that things change as well. This is certainly true in the area of health and fitness. “If you do what you have always done, you will get the results you have always gotten” is true, but what if the situation changes? Then what used to work is no longer a viable and effect way to get the results that we want. In this article I will outline seven items that have changed over the past 30 or so years that affect the way we view health, fitness, exercise and what is considered “best”. Let’s look at some of these changes in Fitness.

1. Activity level

This change in fitness is pretty obvious. We just don’t move around as much as we used to 30 years ago.

Currently, the average sedentary person living in an urban setting takes 900-3000 steps a day. Uh… that’s a puny number! In the journal of sports medicine existing literature was pulled together to set a general guideline of what a good number of steps per day would be

The author Dr. Catrine Tudor-Locke translated different physical activity into steps-per-day equivalents. A rate of fewer than 5,000 is classified as sedentary, 5,000 to 7,499 is low active, 7,500 to 9,999 is somewhat active 10,000 or more is active and 12,500 or more is very active. So what does 900 make us? Close to dead! But its not hard to imagine. Get up from, take elevator to car park, drive car, take elevator to office, sit down, order fast food, reverse the process to go home and go back to bed. Just to note, 1km is about 1300 steps.

Its gotten to the point where we have to purposely inconvenience ourselves to get our activity level up. Here are some suggestions (that actually show us how pathetic our average activity levels have become).

Park at the far end of the car park and walk to your building Instead of dropping the kids off in front of the school, park a couple of streets before it and walk them the rest of the way… 10,000 is actually considered a LOW estimate for children.

Go round the shopping centre or supermarket in a random. With today’s super malls, this is a big thing!

Take the stairs instead of the lift or escalator (well if you work on the 50th floor, maybe climb halfway to start)

Give the dog an extra 5 minutes on his walk (we need it even more than him)

Stop emailing colleagues in the same office, instead go over and talk to them (shockingly effective considering how much email we send each day!… great for team building as well)

Go for a walk during your lunch break, walk to get your lunch or to find somewhere to eat your lunch

Get up and do something, run up and down the stairs for example during TV ads (no excuses here!)

Walk to the corner shop instead of driving or popping in on your way home

Walk to friends houses instead of driving

Take public transport and walk from the train station

Dr. David Bassett studied an Amish community to see what things were like in the past. These guys have no cars, no electricity and do hard manual labor to put food on the table. Its like time travel to the past. They eat 3 large meals a day with lots of meat, vegetables and natural starches like potatoes.

The 98 Amish adults Bassett surveyed wore pedometers for a week. The men averaged 18,000 steps a day. The women took an average of 14,000 steps.

The men spent about 10 hours a week doing heavy work like plowing, shoeing horses, tossing hay bales, and digging. The women spent about 3.5 hours a week at heavy chores. Men spent 55 hours a week in moderate activity; women reported 45 hours a week of moderate chores like gardening and doing laundry. Wow that’s a lot of manual labor. Get a pedometer (its only like 20 bucks) and see how you fare.

2. Fat Percentages and Obesity

Activity level leads us right on to this point about obesity. The scary obesity rate is one of the most obvious changes in fitness.

The obesity rate among the participants in the study of the Amish population was 4 percent, as determined by body mass index, or BMI. The current obesity rate among the urban populations is 30% or more. OK the obesity percentages are a scary thing because obesity is already in the “VERY high risk of a lot of bad ways to die” category. There is still the overweight category (obviously fat but not hitting the medically obese range) to consider. These people are at a high risk already!

The total percentages of overweight + obese are really wild… hitting close to 70% in some cities. Compare this to the average in the 1980s. 10-15% obesity in most cities. It rose to the mid 20% in 1995 and its now at an all time high.

3. Diet

OK linked to point no.2 is of course diet. This is another obvious change in fitness. Its very simple actually. We now eat more refined foods (white bread, sugar, rice, flour, noodles). In the body these give pretty much the same response – FAT storage. The only time we should eat these items is immediately after hard training. As we can tell from point no.1, not much of any training is going on. But lots of eating is!

We also eat less fresh fruits, vegetables and meats. We eat more snacks like chips and cookies (which are also refined despite what advertisers claim).

These changes in fitness are made more troubling because even natural foods today are not as good for us as they used to be. Current farming methods make vitamin and mineral content in fruits and vegetables drop about 10-40% depending on the mineral. Corn fed meats don’t give us as good an omega 6 to omega 3 ratio as we used to get from grass fed and free range animals. (that means not so many healthy fatty acids for us)

And of course, we are also simply consuming more calories. The Amish people in the study in point no.1 ate about 3600 calories/day for men and 2100 calories/day for women. Many sedentary people consume this much and more! How? Well a fully “featured” gourmet coffee from coffee bean or Starbucks can add up to 500 calories in an instant of caffeine folly.

That’s 2 hours of walking for an average sized lady.

Just remember, calorie quality counts as well. 2000 calories of vegetables, meat and healthy fats is infinitely better than 2000 calories from french fries. Its close to impossible to get fat on the first, and nearly impossible not to get fat with the second.

I like this car analogy. If you had a 2million dollar dream car, would you put low grade or high grade petrol into it? High grade of course! Then why do some people put low grade filth into their bodies which are so much more important than the car we drive?

4. Games children play

The average child who grows up in an urban environment is a motor-skill weakling. As a hobby, I coach youth basketball. In our talent scouting, I have kids do a very simple drill of dribbling in and out and around cones. There are so many kids who can’t do it and some who I think might fall down if asked to RUN around the cones without the ball! This is in contrast to the past where kids ran around, chased each other, played physical games and sports of all kinds, where the playground was the center of fun for young kids. This lack of activity not only causes a change in fitness for the child in his/her youth, but has a profound long term effect as well.

Of course this change in fitness is a result of a combination of possible factors.

Parents who only consider academic success to be worth striving for, who only give a child recognition and praise when they do well in academic subjects.

An education system who also values book knowledge above other things and takes away physical education classes to put more academic lessons in.

Poorly taught PE lessons that don’t help a child develop motor skills in the key early years Busy double-income families where fathers are not free to play with their children (or don’t care enough to… money isn’t everything dads)

The maddening computer game addiction situation where virtual life is more important than real life. I believe this is the reason for all the empty basketball courts in my neighbourhood. It used to be that teams lined up to play there. Now only people my age (late 20s to 30s) play. No young kids are there any more.

But actually, so what? The issue is that if kids stink at sport and physical activity, the well known psychological factor of “competence” comes is. Simply put, in general, we do what we are good at. If our next generation is poor at sport and physical activity, they are even less likely to do any of it! Which combined with items 1 to 3, make for a deadly health crisis for many countries. Obesity costs the UK 7.4 billion in national health care per year! If we don’t help our kids, that’s only going to grow to be a bigger and bigger burden for everybody.

5. Social Support

This is a more subtle change in fitness. People are communal animals. We stick with things because there is a supportive community behind us. Even drug and alcoholism rehab centers recognise this. We all need social support. But social links are getting weaker. And no, Friendster and MySpace links don’t make up for it.

In a more connected but less close world (I know so many people who are only comfortable behind a computer screen and not in front of a real person) there is less social support than in the past (extended families, communal living, strong friendships within a neighbourhood etc) and its hard to stick with something which requires dedication and sacrifice like an exercise program. I’m not a sociologist but I do believe there is a reason that exercise classes do better in terms of membership than individualized training. Most of them certainly are not as effective as great individual coaching. But the social factor does come in when sustaining a lifestyle change is involved.

6. Free Time

This subtle change in fitness is pretty clear. We just have less time that we “own”. Bosses, social, family and other commitments make free time a very precious commodity and it adds difficulty to the fact that time is our only non renewable resource. When we choose to exercise or spend time cooking to keep a healthy lifestyle, we are competing with movies, games, TV and other things for free time. We know that exercise is good for us, but it not only has to be good for us, it has to be BETTER in our minds than the latest episode of desperate housewives, or the latest computer game. That’s the issue. We need to prioritize long term health over temporary fun.

7. Training methods

OK here is where we are doing well. 30 years ago the aerobics craze took the western world by storm. Its not a very good training method both in terms of results, and in terms of results per unit of time. Add that to the fact that we have such minimal time to train, we can’t afford to train in a sub-optimal way. We know a lot more now. Fortunately for us, there are good methods that smart coaches use to improve training efficiency and get RESULTS even with less training time. Some of these include smartly designed resistance training programs, interval training and good assessment techniques to determine individual needs. If you have a coach like that in your corner, you can turn back the clock and avoid becoming one of the ever growing statistic of people who’s health is headed in the wrong direction. Stay fit and strong and good luck!

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The Fitness Boom

While the worlds of sports and fitness are intertwined, it was not until the 1970s that popular culture was ready to accept fitness as eagerly as it had accepted sports. Fitness had not yet taken on its importance for improving health, and popular opinion likened fitness to work and manual labor. In the 1940s and 1950s, few participated in fitness willingly. Among those who did were Jack LaLanne, Victor Tanny, Joseph Gold, Joseph Weider, and Les and Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton. These fitness pioneers, among others, drew people to the beach in Santa Monica, California-the original Muscle Beach. Visitors came to watch their feats of strength and acrobatic displays. More and more viewers became participants, and these people, originally on the fringe, became a part of the cultural mainstream. Jack LaLanne, Vic Tanny, and Joe Gold all started gym chains with bodybuilding as their main focus. Due toPage 602 the influence of Abbye “Pudgy” Stockton, women were introduced to the muscularity and strength that came with bodybuilding. No longer reserved for just for “strongmen,” bodybuilding brought about a change in the mindsets of all those who visited Muscle Beach.

From the seeds planted at the Santa Monica came Venice Beach, the home to bodybuilding legends Arnold Schwarzenegger, Frank Zane, and many, many more. Venice Beach in the 1970s brought with it a fitness explosion across the globe. Not only did bodybuilding become mainstream, but the popular opinion of fitness changed dramatically. Americans in the 1970s would do anything to improve their health and fitness.

Sports and athletics grew in the 1970s as well. Women became increasingly more interest in participating in sports; however, very little funding was available for the development of woman’s athletics. A landmark law was passed in 1972. Part of a series of educational amendments, “Title IX,” legislated gender equity in athletics. Not only were women becoming more active and more physically fit, a law now existed that called for equal funding and equal opportunity for female athletes. On 21 September 1973, female tennis star Billie Jean King defeated Bobby Riggs in the first-ever winner-take-all “Battle of the Sexes” tennis match. The hoopla surrounding this event-and its outcome-provided even more incentive for women to become involved with sports and fitness. By 1977, a record 87.5 million U.S. adults over the age of eighteen claimed to be involved in some sort of athletic activity.

The fitness industry continued its growth into the 1980s. Gym owners tailored their facilities to attract customers and new gyms opened around the United States and around the world. A healthy lifestyle was becoming a part of popular culture. No longer was it unfashionable to be athletic, strong, or healthy. With the development of new technology, health and fitness were able to make their way into homes. Fitness tapes became available in the early 1980s and continue to encourage those to whom a gym or health facility may not be accessible. Innovators such as Jane Fonda and Richard Simmons were able to bring their exercise programs to a new population. Joe Weider became a significant force in bringing health, fitness, and bodybuilding as close as the mailbox through his magazines and pamphlets. Because of fitness pioneers such as Weider, Gold, Fonda, and Simmons, fitness continues to play a significant role in modern society. The importance of being in good health and physically fit has made and continues to have an impact.

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The Importance of Physical Fitness

In its most general meaning, physical fitness is a general state of good physical health. Obtaining and maintaining physical fitness is a result of physical activity, proper diet and nutrition and of course proper rest for physical recovery. In its simplest terms, physical fitness is to the human body what fine-tuning is to an engine. It enables people to perform up to their potential. Regardless of age, fitness can be described as a condition that helps individuals look, feel and do their best. Thus, physical fitness trainers, describe it as the ability to perform daily tasks vigorously and alertly, with left over energy to enjoy leisure-time activities and meet emergency demands. Specifically true for senior citizens, physical fitness is the ability to endure, bear up, withstand stress and carry on in circumstances where an unfit person could not continue.

In order for one to be considered physically fit, the heart, lungs, and muscles have to perform at a certain level for the individual to continue feeling capable of performing an activity. At the same time, since what humans do with their bodies directly affects the state of mind, fitness influences to some degree qualities such as mental alertness and emotional expression.

Physical fitness is often divided into the following categories in order for people to be able examine its components or parts. Particularly, physical fitness is judged by:

1. Cardiovascular endurance: This is the ability of the body to deliver oxygen and nutrients to tissues and to remove wastes over sustained periods of time.

2. Muscular strength & endurance: Strength deals with the ability of the muscle to exert force for a brief time period, while endurance is the ability of a muscle, or group of muscles, to sustain repeated contractions or to continue to apply force against an inert object.

3. Flexibility: This denotes the ability to move joints and use muscles through their full range of motion.

4. Body composition: Considered as one of the components of fitness, composition refers to the body in terms of lean mass (muscle, bone, vital tissue, and organs) and fat mass. Actually, the optimal ratio of fat to lean mass is an indication of fitness. Performing the right set of exercises can help people get rid off body fat and increase or maintain muscle mass.

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