Staying Physically fit
For many college students, the day begins early in the morning; it continues with classes, research, physical fitness exercises, study, a job, or family activities; and does not end until after midnight. This kind of pace demands that the student is physically active.
Even a highly motivated college student must have a conditioned, rested body to maintain such a schedule. Of course, many college students do not look at fitness as a means to a more satisfying, exciting life. Instead, many students look for the cosmetic benefits of fitness.
They want to look in the mirror and see the kind of body they see in the media: one with well-toned muscles, a trim waistline, and an absence of flabby tissue, especially on the arms, legs, abdomen, and hips.
Thus, many students become motivated to start fitness programs because they hope that they can build a better body for themselves. Through their efforts to do so, students usually start to feel better, physically and mentally.
They realize that physical fitness can improve every aspect of their lives because they see it happening with each passing week. Fortunately, you need not become a full-time athlete to enjoy health benefits or fitness.
Incorporating regular, moderate physical activity, such as brisk walking or dancing, into your life, can benefit your health and your overall quality of life.
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Real Life and Real Choice
The fitness Imperative: A Matter of Life and Health Real choices
Name: Jack Wozniak
Occupation: sales representative
Physical characteristics: 5`11”. 182
Plenty of fruits and vegetables; plenty of rest; moderate daily exercise. To Jack Wozniak, a hard-charging, fun-loving embodiment of the Type A personality, that list of restrictions sounded like the last chapter in the book of his life. A successful sales representative for a plastics manufacturer, Jack spent 8 months out of each year on the road.
At his last annual checkup, his blood pressure had risen to 175 over 85, and he grudgingly admitted to his concerned physician that 18 years of rushing for the redeye, wining and dining prospects, and sleeping in strange beds were taking their toll.
Factor in no exercise, a two-pack-a-day smoking habit, and a passion for beer and corn chips, and you’re looking at a disaster waiting to happen.
It did. One morning Jack was battling rush-hour traffic to the airport to catch a plane for Dallas. He never made it. When he woke up, he found himself in a cardiac- care unit, hooked up to more wires and flashing dials than the space shuttle.
Not even 45, he’d suffered a massive heart attack, and his doctor was offering him a stark choice: maintain the touring lifestyle and die, or follow a new regimen and (maybe) live.
As you study this chapter, think about a healthy approach to exercise for someone of Jack’s personality type and lifestyle, and prepare yourself to answer the questions in Your Turn at the end of the pages.
Benefits of Fitness
Following a program of regular aerobic exercise improves the efficiency of your cardiovascular and respiratory systems. More specifically, regular aerobic exercise strengthens the muscles of your heart, enabling your heart to pump more blood with fewer strokes, meeting the demands you place on it.
As a result, your resting heart rate may become slower than in the past, indicating that you have become more physically fit. At the same time, your respiratory system becomes stronger and more efficient in delivering oxygen to the tissues of your body.
This cardiorespiratory fitness enables you to deal with the routine and extraordinary demands of your daily life more easily. Cardiorespiratory fitness is the foundation for whole-body fitness.
This fitness increases your capacity to sustain a given level of energy for a prolonged period. Thus your body can work longer and at greater levels of intensity.
As you will see, cardiorespiratory fitness has important benefits for everyone, including children, women, and the elderly. In addition, improving your cardiorespiratory (aerobic) fitness has a variety of benefits that can improve nearly all parts of your life.
Aerobic fitness can help you gain the following physical benefits:
- Reduce the proportion of low-density lipoproteins (“bad cholesterol”) and increase the proportion of high-density lipoproteins (“good cholesterol”) in your blood
- Increase the capillary network in your body
- Reduce your risk of heart disease
- Prevent hypertension
- Improve your blood lipid and lipoprotein profile
- Improve collateral circulation
- Control your weight
- Stimulate bone growth
- Ward off infections
- Improve the efficiency of your other body systems
- Increase your longevity
Aerobic fitness also brings a variety of other benefits that, although not immediately obvious, are no less important.
For example, the increased stamina that comes with cardiorespiratory fitness enables you to complete and better enjoy your daily activities. In addition, your improved fitness level may reduce the severity and shorten the duration of common illnesses.
Older adults will find that improving their cardiorespiratory fitness enables them to enjoy their later years to a greater extent, giving them the energy and ability to participate in activities that they might have delayed for many years.
Such as traveling or even activities they might never have considered, such as joining a square dance club or learning how to line dance. When you become aerobically fit, you may be able to achieve a long-held goal, such as hiking part of the Appalachian Trail, climbing Mt.
Rainier, or bicycling through Europe. Others might find that becoming physically fit reduces their dependence on substances such as alcohol, cigarettes, or other drugs and that they sleep more soundly.
A Different kind of fitness: Developmentally Disabled Athletes Are Always winners in the Special Olympics
In America, as in many other countries around the world, physical fitness and athletic prowess carry a high degree of prestige, whereas lack of conditioning and poor sports performance often draw scorn and rejection.
As anyone knows who’s ever been picked last when sides were being chosen for a schoolyard game, few things are more damaging to youthful self-esteem than being the player nobody wants. Others, lacking a strong interest in sports, turn to less physical areas in which they can excel-drama, debating, music, computers, science.
But what about people who want to be athletes at almost any cost, but who have no realistic hope of attaining the standards of athletic accomplishment set for those in top physical condition? The Joseph P. Kennedy Foundation created as an arena in which these athletes could compete when it established the Special Olympics in 1968.
Joseph Kennedy was the father of President John F.
Now, nearly thirty years later, the Special Olympics holds both winter and summer games and boasts the participation of more than I million developmentally disabled athletes in 140 countries around the world.
The contests are open to athletes between the ages of eight and sixty-three, some of whom have proved wrong the specialists who claimed they would never walk, let alone compete internationally.
“Mainstream” Olympic champions like figure-skating silver medalist Brian Orser and a host of well-known entertainers have attended opening-day ceremonies to cheer and inspire the special athletes.
But medals aren’t what the Special Olympics is all about. No matter where a Special Olympian finishes in a contest, he is applauded and celebrated for the accomplishment of play the game and seeing it through. Each participant in the Special Olympics aptly states the credo of this remarkable group of athletes is take the oath.
“Let me win. If I cannot win, let me be brave in the attempt.” In what ways other than physical conditioning do you think a developmentally disabled person might benefit from participating in the Special Olympics?
What can the rest of us learn from these athletes’ courage and perseverance? Finally, while you are pursuing your physical fitness activities, you probably will meet other healthy, active people and find that you are expending your circle of friends.
The Learning from Our Diversity box above takes a look at the physical and social benefits for disabled people who participate in the Special Olympics.
Components of Physical Fitness
Fitness is achieved when “the organic systems of the body are healthy and function efficiently so as to resist disease, to enable the fit person to engage in vigorous tasks and leisure activities, and to handle situations of emergency.
In the following sections, we discuss cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
Which would you choose-muscular strength, muscular endurance, or flexibility,? The experts, who are exercise physiologists, would say that another fitness dimension is of even greater importance than those just listed.
These research scientists regard the improvement of your heart, lung, and blood vessel function as the key focal point of a physical fitness program. Cardiorespiratory endurance forms the foundation for whole-body fitness.
Cardiorespiratory endurance increases your capacity to sustain a given level of energy production for a prolonged period. The development of cardiorespiratory endurance helps your body to work longer and at greater levels of intensity. Occasionally your body cannot produce the energy it needs for long-term activity.
Certain activities require performance at a level of intensity that out-strips your cardiorespiratory system’s ability to transport oxygen efficiently to contracting muscle fibers. See for more information cardiovascular disease treatment
Any activity that continues beyond the point at which oxygen debt begins requires a form of energy production that does not depend on oxygen. If you usually work or play at low intensity but for a long duration, you have developed an ability to maintain aerobic (with oxygen) energy production.
As long as your body can meet its energy demands in this oxygen-rich mode, it will not convert to anaerobic energy production.
Thus fatigue will not be an important factor in determining whether you can continue to participate.
Marathon runners, serious joggers, distance swimmers, bicyclists, and aerobic dancers can ness. The cardiorespiratory systems of these aerobically fit people take in, transport and use oxygen in the most efficient manner possible.
Besides allowing you to participate in activities such as those mentioned, aerobic conditioning (cardiorespiratory endurance conditioning) may also provide certain structural and functional benefits that affect other dimensions of your life.
These recognized benefits have received considerable documented support. Some data, for example, strongly suggest that aerobic fitness can increase life expectancy and reduce the risk of developing cancer of the colon, heart, uterus, cervix, and ovaries.
Muscular strength is essential for the body to accomplish work. Your ability to maintain posture, walk, lift, and pull are familiar with examples of the constant demands you make on your muscles to maintain or increase their level of contraction.
The stronger you are, the greater your ability to contract muscles and maintain a level of contraction sufficient to complete tasks. Muscular strength can best be improved by training activities that use the overload principle.
By overloading, or gradually increasing the resistance (load, object, or weight) your muscles must move, you can increase your muscular strength.
The following three types of training exercises are based on the overload principle.
In isometric (meaning “the same measure”) exercises, the resistance is so great that your contracting muscles cannot move the resistant object at all.
Thus your muscles contract against immovable objects, usually with increasingly greater efforts.
Because of the difficulty of precisely evaluating the training effects, isometric exercises are not usually used as a primary means of developing muscular strength and can be dangerous for people with hypertension.
Figure 4.1 A-D Three types of training exercises to improve muscular strength. A, Isometric exercise. B and C, Progressive resistance exercises. D, Isokinetic exercise.
Progressive resistance exercise. also called isotonic or same-tension exercises, are currently the most popular type of strength-building exercises.
Progressive resistance exercises include the use of traditional free weights (dumbbells and barbells), as well as Universal and Nautilus machines.
People who perform progressive resistance exercises use various muscle groups to move (or lift) specific fixed resistances or weights.
Although during a given repetitive exercise the weight resistance remains the same, the muscular contraction effort required varies according to the joint angles in the range of motion.
Isokinetic (meaning “same motion”) exercises use mechanical devices that provide resistances that consistently overload muscles throughout the entire range of motion.
The resistance will move only at a preset speed regardless of the force applied to it. For the exercise to be effective, a user must apply maximal force.
Isokinetic training requires elaborate, expensive equipment. The most common isokinetic machines are Cybex, Mini-Gym, Exergenie, KinCom, and Biodex.
Which type of strength-building exercise (machines or free weights) is most effective?
Take your choice, since all will help develop muscular strength. Some people prefer machines because they are simple to use. Other people prefer free weights because they encourage the user to work harder to maintain balance during the lift.
Cardiorespiratory endurance the ability of the heart, lungs, and blood vessels to process and transport oxygen required by muscle cells so that they can contact over a period of time.
Oxygen debt a physical state in which one’s activity exceeds the body’s ability to produce energy aerobically, causing the body to switch to anaerobic energy production.
This produces an excess buildup of by-products, especially lactic acid, and a feeling of inability to “catch one’s breath.”
Anaerobic energy production the body’s alternative means of energy production, used when the available oxygen is insufficient for aerobic energy production.
Anaerobic energy production is a much less efficient use of stored energy.
- Aerobic energy production the body’s primary means of energy production used when the respiratory and circulatory systems can process and transport sufficient oxygen to muscle cells to convert fuel to energy.
- Muscular strength the ability to contract skeletal muscles to engage in work; the force that a muscle can exert. This principle also applies to other types of fitness training.
- Isometric exercises ( eye so met rick) muscular strength-training exercises in which the resistance is so great that the object cannot be moved.
- Isokinetic exercises muscular strength-training exercises in which machines are used to provide variable resistance throughout the full range of motion.
Muscular endurance is a component of physical fitness associated with strength. Muscles need the energy to contract and to shorten their individual muscle fibers. Energy production requires that the circulatory system deliver oxygen and nutrients to the muscles.
After these products are transformed into energy by individual muscle cells, the body must remove the potentially toxic waste by-products. Amateur and professional athletes often wish to increase the endurance of specific muscle groups associated with their sports activities.
This can be achieved by using exercises that gradually increase the number of repetitions of a given movement. Muscular endurance is not the physiological equivalent of cardiorespiratory endurance.
For example, a world-ranked distance runner with highly developed cardiorespiratory endurance and extensive muscular endurance of the legs may not have a corresponding level of muscular endurance of the abdominal muscles.
The ability of your joints to move through their natural range of motion is a measure of your flexibility. This fitness trait, like so many other aspects of structure and function, differs from point to point within your body and among different people.
Not every joint in your body is equally flexible (by design) and over the course of time, use or disuse will alter the flexibility of a given joint.
Certainly, gender, age, genetically determined body build, and current level of physical fitness will affect your flexibility.
The inability to move easily during physical activity can be a constant reminder that aging and inactivity are the foes of flexibility.
Failure to use joints regularly will quickly result in a loss of elasticity in the connective tissue and shortening of muscles associated with the joints. The benefits of flexibility include improved balance, posture, and athletic performance and reduced risk of low back pain.
As seen in young gymnasts, flexibility can be highly developed and maintained with a program or activity that includes regular stretching. Stretching also helps reduce the risk of injury.
Athletic trainers generally prefer static stretching to ballistic stretching for people who wish to improve their range of motion, as ballistic stretching carries a higher risk of tears to soft tissue. Guidelines for stretching are given in the Health Action Guide on this page.
Body composition is the “makeup of the body in terms of muscle, bone, fat, and other elements”. Of particular interest to fitness experts are percentages of body fat-free weight.
Health experts are especially concerned about a large number of people in our society who are overweight and obese. Cardiorespiratory fitness trainers increasingly are recognizing the importance of body composition and are including strength- training exercises to help reduce body fat.
With aging, physical decline occurs and the components of physical fitness become more difficult to maintain. From the fourth decade onwards, a gradual decline in vigor and resistance eventually gives way to various types of illnesses.
In the opinion of many authorities, people do not die of old age. Rather, old age worsens specific conditions responsible for the death. However, the physical decline can be slowed and the onset of illness delayed by staying physically active.
The process of again can be described on the basis of predictable occurrences:
- Change is gradual. In aging, gradual changes occur in body structure or function before specific health problems are identified.
- Individual differences occur. When two people of the same age are compared for the type and extent of change that has occurred with age, important differences can be noted.
- Even within the same person, different systems decline at differing rates and to varying extents.
- The greatest change is noted in areas of complex function. In physiological processes involving two or more major body systems, the most profound effects of physiological aging can be noted.
- The homeostatic decline occurs with age. Becoming older is associated with a growing difficulty in maintaining homeostasis. In the face of stressors, the older adult’s system takes longer to respond, does not respond with the same magnitude, and may take longer to return to baseline.
As growth and development, aging is predictable yet unique for each person.
Health Concerns of Midlife Adults
The period between forty-five and sixty-four years of age brings with it a variety of subtle changes in the body’s structure and function.
When life is busy and the mind is active, these changes are generally not evident. Even when they become evident, they are not usually the source of profound concern.
Nevertheless, your parents, older students in your class, and people with whom you will be working are experiencing these changes:
- A decrease in bone mass and density
- Increase in vertebral compression
- Degenerative changes in joint cartilage
- Increase in adipose tissue_ loss of lean body mass
- Decrease incapacity to engage in physical work
- The decrease in visual acuity
- The decrease in basal energy requirements
- Decrease infertility
- The decrease in sexual function
For some midlife adults, these health concerns can be quite threatening, especially for those who view aging with apprehension and fear. Some middle-aged people reject these physical changes and convince themselves they are sick. Indeed, hypochondria-sis is much more common among midlife people than among young people.
Osteoporosis is a condition frequently seen in late middle-aged women.
Well over 90 percent of all people with osteoporosis are white women.
The endocrine system plays a large role in the development of osteoporosis. At the time of menopause, a woman’s ovaries begin a rapid decrease in the production of estrogen, one of two main hormones associated with the menstrual cycle.
This lower level of estrogen may decrease the conversion of the precursors of vitamin D into the active form of vitamin D, the form necessary for absorbing calcium from the digestive tract.
As a result, calcium may be drawn from the bones for use elsewhere in the body. Additional explanations of osteoporosis focus on two other possibilities-hyperparathyroidism (an-other endocrine dysfunction) and the below-average degree of muscle development seen in osteoporotic women.
In this latter explanation, the reduced muscle mass is associated with decreased activity, which in turn deprives the body of the mechanical stimulation needed to facilitate bone growth.
Muscular endurance the ability of muscle or muscle group to function over time; supported by the respiratory and circulatory systems. Flexibility The ability of joints to function through an intended range of motion.
Static stretching the slow lengthening of a muscle group to an extended stretch; followed by a holding of the extended position for a recommended period.
Ballistic stretching a “bouncing” form of stretching in which a muscle group is lengthened repetitively to produce multiple quick, forceful stretches.
Osteoporosis loss of calcium from the bone, seen primarily in postmenopausal women. Premenopausal women have the opportunity to build and maintain a healthy skeleton through an appropriate intake of calcium.
Current recommendations are for an intake of 1,200 mg of calcium per day. There to four daily servings of low-fat dairy products that should provide sufficient calcium.
The diet also must contain adequate vitamin D because it aids in the absorption of calcium.
Many women do not consume an adequate amount of calcium. Calcium supplements, again in combination with vitamin D, it can be used to achieve recommended calcium levels.
It is now known that calcium carbonate, a highly advertised form of calcium, is no more easily absorbed by the body then are other forms of calcium salts. Consumers of calcium supplements should compare brands to determine which, if any, they should buy.
In premenopausal women, calcium deposition in bone is facilitated by exercise, particularly exercise that involves the movement of the extremities.
Today, women are encouraged to consume at least the recommended servings from the milk group and engage in regular physical activity that involves the weight-bearing muscles of the legs, such as aerobics, jogging, or walking.
Postmenopausal women who are not elderly can markedly slow the resorption of calcium from their bones through the use of estrogen replacement therapy. When combined with a daily intake of 1,500 mg of calcium, vitamin D, and regular exercise, estrogen therapy almost eliminates calcium loss.
Of course, women will need to work closely with their physicians to monitor the use of estrogen because of continuing concern over the role of estrogen replacement therapy in the development of breast cancer.
Arthritis is an umbrella term for more than one hundred forms of joint inflammation. The most common form is osteoarthritis. it is likely that as we age, all of us will develop osteoarthritis to some degree.
Often called “wear and tear” arthritis, osteoarthritis occurs primarily in the weight-bearing joints of the knee, hip, and spine. In this form of arthritis, joint damage can occur to bone ends, cartilaginous cushions, and related structure as the years of constant friction and stress accumulate.
The object of current management of osteoarthritis (and other forms) is not to cure the disease but rather to reduce discomfort, limit joints destruction, and maximize joint mobility. Aspirin and non-steroidal anti-inflammatory agents are the drugs most frequently used to treat osteoarthritis.
It is now believed that osteoarthritis develops most commonly in people with a genetic predisposition for excessive damage to the weight-bearing joints. Thus the condition seems to run in families.
Further, studies comparing the occurrence of osteoarthritis in those who exercise and those who do not demonstrate that regular movement may decrease the likelihood of developing this form of arthritis.
Health Concerns of Elderly Adults
In elderly people, it is frequently difficult to distinguish between changes caused by aging and those caused by disease. For virtually every body system, biomedical indexes for the old and young can overlap.
Pro Fat Food:
Generic term to mean butter, ghee, animal fat, and oil. Fats are organic compounds that are made up of carbon, hydrogen, and oxygen; they are the most concentrated source of energy in foods.
Fat provides 9 calories per gram, more than twice the number provided by carbohydrates or protein. Fat is essential for the proper functioning of the body.
Fats provide the ‘essential’ fatty acids, which are not made by the body and must be obtained from food. Fat helps in the absorption, and the passage through the bloodstream, of the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K.
The most frequently seen changes include the following:
- The decrease in bone mass
- Changes in the structure of bone
- The decrease in muscle bulk and strength
- The decrease in oxygen uptake
- Loss of nonreproducing cells in the nervous system
- The decrease in hearing and vision abilities
- The decrease in all other sensory modalities, including the sense of body positioning
- Slower reaction time
- Gait and posture changes resulting from a weakening of the muscles of the trunk and legs
In addition to these changes, the most likely change seen in the elderly is the increased sensitivity of the body’s homeostatic mechanism. Because of this sensitivity, minor infection or superficial injury can be traumatic enough to decrease the body’s ability to maintain its internal balance.
An illness that would be easily controlled in a younger person could even prove fatal to a seemingly healthy seventy-five-year-old person. Continuing to follow a physical fitness plan throughout midlife and older adulthood is essential to minimizing age-related health problems.
The plan should be modified as necessary to accommodate changes in physical functioning (see the Star Box on p. 89 for example).
Elderly Adults and Tai Chi Chuan
Continuing to follow a program of physical fitness is vital throughout midlife and older age. Which types of exercise are most appropriate for older adults? Many older adults choose gentle aerobic activities that put less stress and strain on joints, such as walking or water aerobics. Another option is the Chinese discipline tai chi chuan.
Practitioners say that the slow, gentle movements of tai chi provide various health benefits, such as improving physical strength and balance.
Now a recent study 19 supports these beliefs, reporting that geriatric practitioners of tai chi enjoy greater flexibility, lower body fat, and greater peak oxygen uptake (an indication of cardiorespiratory fitness ).
Developing a Cardiorespiratory fitness program
For people of all ages, cardiorespiratory conditioning can be achieved through many activities. As long as the activity you choose places sufficient demand on the heart and lungs, improved fitness is possible.
In addition, the familiar activities of swimming, running, cycling, and aerobic dance, many people today are participating in brisk walking, rollerblading, cross-country skiing, gymnastics, skating, rowing, and even weight training (often combined with some form of aerobic activity).
Regardless of age or physical limitations, you can select from a variety of enjoyable activities that will condition the cardiorespiratory system.
Complete the physical fitness program on pages to determine your level of fitness. Many people think that any kind of physical activity will produce cardiorespiratory fitness. Many people consider golf, bowling, hunting, history of fishing, and archery to be forms of exercise.
However, these activities generally fail to produce positive changes in your cardiorespiratory and overall muscular fitness; they may enhance your health, be enjoyable, and produce some fatigue after long participation, but they do not meet the fitness standards recently established by the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), the nation’s premier professional organization of exercise physiologists and sports physicians.
The ACSM’s most recent recommendations for achieving cardiorespiratory fitness were approved in 1990 and include five major areas:
- mode of activity
- frequency of training
- the intensity of training
- duration of the training
- resistance training
We summarize these recommendations. you may wish to compare your existing fitness program with these standards.
Mode of Activity
The ACSM recommends that the mode of activity be any continuous physical activity that uses large muscle groups and can be rhythmic and aerobic in nature.
Among the activities that generally meet this requirement are continuous swimming, cycling, aerobics, basketball, cross-country skiing, rollerblading, step training (bench aerobics), hiking, walking, rowing, stair climbing, dancing, and running.
Recently, water exercise (water or aqua aerobics) has become a popular fitness model, because it is especially effective for pregnant women and the elderly, injured, or disabled people.
Endurance games and activities such as tennis racquetball handball are beautiful long as you and your partner are skilled enough to keep the ball in play. Walking after the ball will do very little for you. Riding a bicycle is a good activity if you keep pedaling.
Coasting will do little to improve fitness.
Softball and football are generally less than sufficient continuous activities, especially the way they are played by weekend athletes. Regardless of which continuous activity you select, it should also be enjoyable. Running, for example, is not for everyone despite what some accomplished runners say! find an activity you enjoy.
If you need others around you to have a good time, corral a group of friends to join you. Vary your activities to keep from becoming bored.
You might cycle in the summer, run in the fall, swim in the winter, and play racquetball in the spring. To help you maintain your fitness program, see the suggestions in the Health Action Guide.
In addition, the Star Box on page 92 provides information on exercising in an urban environment. Osteoarthritis arthritis develops with age; largely caused by weight-bearing and deterioration of the joints.
What is Your Level of Fitness?
You can determine your level of fitness in 30 minutes or less by completing this short group of tests based on the National Fitness Test developed by the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
If you are over 40 years old or have chronic medical disorders such as diabetes or obesity, check with your physician before taking this or any other fitness test. You will need another person to monitor your test and keep time.
Three-minutes step test
- Aerobic capacity. Equipment: 12-inch bench, crate, block, or step ladder; stopwatch.
- Procedure: face bench. Complete 24 full steps (both feet n the bench, both feet on the ground) per minute for 3 minutes.
- After finishing, sit down, have your partner find your pulse within 5 seconds, and take your pulse for 1 minute.
- Your score is your pulse rate for 1 full minute.
Scoring standards (heart rate for 1 minute)
Age 18 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60+
Gender F M F M F M F M F M
Excellent <80 <75 <84 <78 <88 <80 <92 <85 <95 <90
Good 80-100 75-100 84-115 78-109 88-118 80-112 92-123 85-115 95-127 90-118
Average >110 >100 >109 >118 >112 >123 >115 >127 >118
Sit and Reach
- Hamstring flexibility. Equipment: yardstick; type. Between your legs, tape the yardstick to the floor.
- Sit with legs straight and heels about 5 inches apart, heels even with the 15-inch mark on the yardstick.
- While in a sitting position, slowly stretch forward as far as possible.
- Your score is the number of inches reached.
Scoring standards (inches)
Age 18 -29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60+
Gender F M F M F M F M F M
Excellent >22 >21 >22 >21 >21 >20 >20 >19 >20 >19
Good 17-22 13-21 17-22 13-21 15-21 13-20 14-20 12-19 14-20 12-19
Average <17 <13 <17 <13 <15 <13 <14 <12 <14 <12
- Upper body strength. Equipment: horizontal bar (high enough to prevent your feet from touching the floor); stopwatch. procedure: hang with straight arms, palms facing forward. Start watch when the subject is in position.
- Stop when subject lets go. Your score the number of minutes and seconds spent hanging.
Scoring standards (heart rate for 1 minute)
Age 18 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60+
Gender F M F M F M F M F M
Excellent >1:30 >2:00 >1:20 >1:50 >1:10 >1:35 >1:00 >1:20 >:50 >1:10
Good :46-1:30 1:00-2:00 :40-1:20 :50:1:50 :30-1:10 :45-1:35 :30-1:00 :35-1:20 :21-:50 :30-1:10
Average <:46 <1:00 <:40 <:50 <:30 <:45 <:30 <:35 <:21 <:30
- Abdominal and low back strength. Equipment: Stopwatch. Procedure: Lie flat on the upper back, knees bent, shoulders touching the floor, arms extended above your thighs or by your sides, palms down.
- Bend knees so that feet are flat and 12 inches from the buttocks.
- Curl up by lifting head and shoulders off the floor, sliding hands forward above your thighs or the floor.
- Curl down and repeat. Your score is the number of curl-ups in 1 minute.
Scoring standards (number in 1 minute)
Age 18 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60+
Gender F M F M F M F M F M
Excellent >45 >50 >40 >45 >35 >40 >30 >35 >25 >30
Good 25-45 30-50 20-40 22-45 16-35 21-40 12-30 18-35 11-25 15-30
Average <25 <30 <20 <22 <16 <21 <12 <18 <11 <15
- Upper body strength. Equipment: Stopwatch. Assume a front-leaning position. Lower your body until the chest touches the floor.
- Raise and repeat for 1 minute. Your score is the number of push-ups completed in 1 minute.
Scoring standards (number in 1 minute)
Age 18 – 29 30 – 39 40 – 49 50 – 59 60+
Excellent >50 >45 >40 >35 >30
Good 25-50 22-45 19-40 15-35 10-30
Average <25 <22 <19 <15 <10
Modified Push-ups (women)
- Upper body strength. Equipment: Stopwatch.
- Assume a front-leaning position with knees bent up, hands under shoulders.
- Lower your chest to the floor raise and repeat. your score is the number of push-ups completed in 1 minute.
Scoring standards (number in 1 minute)
Age 18-29 30-39 40-49 50-59 60+
Excellent >45 >40 >35 >30 >25
Good 17-45 12-40 8-35 6-30 5-25
Average <17 <12 <8 <6 <5
To Carry This Further . . .
Note your areas of strengths and weaknesses.
To improve your fitness, become involved in a fitness program that reflects the concepts discussed in this chapter.
Talking with fitness experts on your campus might be a good first step.
Frequency of Training
The frequency of training refers to the number of times per week a person should exercise. The ACSM recommends three to five times per week.
For most people, participation in fitness activities more than five times each week dos not significantly improve their level of conditioning. Likewise, an average of only two workouts each week does not seem to produce a measurable improvement in cardiorespiratory conditioning.
Thus, although you may have a lot of fun cycling twice each week, do not expect to see a significant improvement in your cardiorespiratory fitness level.
Intensity of Training
How much effort should you put into an activity? Should you run quickly, jog slowly, or swim at a comfortable pace? Must a person sweat profusely to come fit? These questions all refer to the intensity of effort.
The ACSM recommends that healthy adults exercise at an intensity level of between 60 percent and 90 percent of their maximum heart rate (calculated by subtracting your age from 220). This level of intensity is called the target heart rate (THR)
This rate refers to the minimum number of times your heart needs to contract (beat) each minute to have a positive effect on your heart, lungs, and blood vessels.
This improvement has called the training effect. Activity at an intensity below the THR will be insufficient to make a significant improvement in your fitness level.
Although intensity below the THR will still help you expend calories and thus lose weight, it will probably do little to make you more aerobically fit. On the other hand, the intensity that is significantly above your THR will probably cause.
You to become so fatigued you shall be forced to stop the activity before the training effect can achieve. Choosing a particular THR between 60 percent and 90 percent of your maximum heart rate depends on your initial level of fitness.
If you are already in relatively good physical shape, you might want to start exercising at 75 percent of your maximum heart rate.
A well-conditioned person might select a higher THR for his or her intensity level, whereas a person with a low fitness level will still be able to achieve a training effect at the lower THR of 60 percent of maximum.
In the Health Action Guide below
The younger person would need to participate in a continuous activity for an extended period while working at a THR of 160 beats per minute.
The older person would need to function at a THR of 117 beats per minute to achieve a positive training effect. Determining your heart rate is not a complicated procedure. Find a location on your body where an artery passes near the surface of the skin. Pulse rates are difficult to determine by touching veins, which are more superficial than arteries.
Two easily accessible sites for determining heart rate are the carotid artery (one on each side of the windpipe at the front of your neck) and the radial artery (on the inside of your wrist, just above the base of the thumb).
You should practice placing the front surface of your index and middle fingertips at either of these locations and feeling for a pulse. Once you have found a regular pulse, look at the second hand of a watch. Count the number of beats you feel in a ten-second period.
Multiply this number by six. This number is your heart rate. With a little practice, you can become very proficient at determining your heart rate.
Exercising in an Urban Environment
People who live in large cities face special challenges as they pursue fitness activities. Some of these challenges are just annoying, but some challenges can be life-threatening.
News reports occasionally tell of someone who was seriously injured or killed while trying to exercise in an urban environment. Visitors to cities can also confront these difficulties.
And visitors may be less experienced adjusting to these challenges than those who live year-round in the city. Among the obstacles are pollution, heavy vehicular and pedestrian traffic and the possibility of criminal activity.
These problems may also exist in small towns, but more likely they exist to a lesser degree. Resist the temptation to use “the city” as an excuse not to exercise. Fortunately, you can tailor a fitness program to fit the urban environment in numerous ways.
Consider these strategies as you plan fitness activities in the city. If you are unfamiliar with the environment, exercise indoors. It can be dangerous to jog, rollerblade, or cycle in a place where you could become lost. Exercise inside your home or apartment, a local health club or YMCA or in your hotel.
Many indoor exercise machines provide a good cardiorespiratory and strength-training workout
Some facilities also have swimming pools indoor tracks handball courts and special fitness classes. If you plan to exercise outdoors, always do so with a partner. There is true safety in numbers. Exercising with a friend or two (or jogging with a large, leashed dog) can provide a measure of protection.
If you become injured friends can help summon medical assistance. Try to avoid heavily congested areas. cycling or jogging ion heavy traffic is dangerous not only for you but also for other pedestrians and motorists.
This is especially true during rush hours (7-9 a.m., noon, and 4-6 p.m). try to locate a relatively quiet place that also seems secure. If you are a visitor to an area, make certain you know whether a particular area is safe for walking, cycling, or jogging. Don’t assume that every urban park is a safe haven for exercise. Do not exercise outside at night.
A city can take on an entirely different mood during the night.
It is foolish to place yourself at risk by exercising outside when it is dark. Stick to the daylight hours. Be aware of pollution levels before you exercise. If there is pollution warming, consider exercising indoors until the alert is over. If you are one who must exercise outside you might wish to use a pollution mask; the mask will filter a significant amount of large particles.
It may also serve to attract unnecessary attention. Consider carrying an alarm or protective spray device when exercising outdoors.
This suggestion has both proponents and opponents. Carrying a protective spray device or alarm can be helpful if you know how to use it in an emergency. Remember, some devices can use against you especially if an assailant surprises and overpowers you.
Duration of Training
The ACSM recommends that the duration of training be between twenty and sixty minutes of continuous aerobic activity. Generally speaking, the duration can be on the shorter end of this range for athletic people whose activities use a high intensity of training (80% to 90% of maximum heart rate).
Those who choose activities with a low range of intensity ( 60% to 70% of maximum heart rate) should maintain that activity for a longer time. Thus a fast jog and a moderate walk will require different amounts of time to accomplish the training effect.
The fast jog might maintain for twenty-five minutes whereas the brisk walk should be kept up longer-perhaps for fifty minutes. Recently, some fitness experts have advocated a modified version of the ACSM’s recommendations to accommodate the less directed physical activity.
Recognizing the important fact that overall body fitness includes muscular fitness the ACSM now recommends resistance training in its current standards. The ACSM suggests participation in strength training of moderate intensity at least two times a week.
This training should help develop and maintain a healthy body composition-one with an emphasis on lean body mass. The goal of resistance but to improve overall muscle strength and tone.
For the average person resistance training with heavy weights is not recommended it can induce a sudden and dangerous increase in blood pressure.
The resistance training recommended by the ACSM includes one set of eight to twelve repetitions of eight to ten different exercises.
These physical exercises should be geared to the body’s major muscle groups.( i.e., kegs, arms, shoulders, trunk, and back) and should not focus on just one or two body areas. Isotonic (progressive resistance) or isokinetic exercises are recommended.
For the average person resistance training activities should be done at an author-to-slow speed use the full range of motion and not impair simple breathing.
With just one set recommended for each exercise, resistance training is not very time-consuming. Frequency the number of times per week one should exercise to achieve a training effect.
Intensity the level of effort put into an activity. Target heart rate (THR) the number of times per minute the heart must contract to produce a training effect. Duration the length of time one needs to exercise at the THR to produce a training effect.
Exercise Intensity: Regular or Lite?
Do you say you don’t have the time or the inclination for regular, intense exercise?
Then get your exercise by accumulating twenty to sixty minutes in short spurts by weeding the garden going dancing climbing stairs or painting the side of the house say some researchers. Other researchers aren’t sure of the benefits of such “exercise lite”.
Several health professionals have recently begun to urge the American public to consider the health benefits of less directed physical activity than those prescribed by the American College of Sports Medicine.
These fitness experts believe that people shy away from physical activity because they are afraid that a fitness program requires too much effort and commitment.
One key aspect of this revised approach is the belief that the twenty to sixty minutes of daily physical activity does not their minutes in segments over the course of the day.
For example, raking leaves for fifteen minutes walking briskly for ten minutes at lunch, and dancing for ten minutes can produce health benefits if done on most days.
Of course, “exercise lite” does not mean simply getting up to change the channel rather than using the remote control. It means activities like a brisk walk enough to speed up your breathing in a minute or two. A leisurely bike ride or working in the garden also qualifies.
Consider these other possibilities:
Get off the sofa during television commercials and walk around the house or in the yard. Whenever you can, take short, brisk walks. Brief extra walks around campus (e.g., taking the long way to class or your place of work) can consume calories and place some beneficial exertion on your cardiorespiratory system.
Instead of phoning people in your apartment or residence hall, walk to their rooms. Rather than phoning a colleague in an office building, you can walk to his or her office. When possible, use stairs instead of elevators.
Instead of parking as close to a building as you can, park your car farther away to increase your walking distance. A study recently conducted in Dallas showed that volunteers in a “lifestyle group” enjoyed health benefits as great as those in a traditionally structured gym program.
The lifestyle group lowered its average blood pressure and total cholesterol and improved its ratio of good to bad cholesterol.
The lifestyle group gained about the same amount of muscle and lost the same amount of fat as the more intense gymnasium group. Finally, the lifestyle group burned the same number of calories from its activities an average of 159 extra a day as the more intense group.
Opponents of this “kinder, gentler” approach to fitness aren’t sure of the benefits of this easy approach. One recent study reported that vigorous exercise such as jogging walking quickly, or aerobics class will lengthen your life but that lighter workouts will not.
Experts are concerned that people who already exercise regularly may slack off and actually reduce their current fitness levels. Opponents also believe that without a prescription for exercise the public will fool itself into thinking it is much more active than it really is.
Which approach is better?
Experts do not agree. If you already are following a regular. An intense exercise program, by all means, does not give it up. We know that the more aerobically fit you are, the better your odds of a long healthy life.
If you are, the better or nothing whether because of your schedule procrastination or fear of intense exercise easing into a program of exercise lite apparently can bring real benefits.
Warm-up, workout, cool down
Each training session consists of basic parts: the warm-up, the workout, and the cooldown. The warm-up should last ten to fifteen minutes.
During this period you should begin slow gradual comfortable movements related to the upcoming activity such as walking or slow jogging.
All body segments and muscle endurance fitness groups should be exercised as you gradually increase your heart rate. Near the finish of the warm-up period, the major muscle groups should be stretched. This preparation helps protect you from muscle strains and joint sprains.
The warm-up is a fine time to socialize. Furthermore, you can mentally prepare yourself for your activity.
Or think about the beauty of the morning sky the changing colors of the leaves or the leaves or the friends you will meet later in the day. Mental warm-ups can be as beneficial for you psychologically as physical warm-ups are physiological.
The second part of the training session is the workout the part of the session that involves improving muscular strength and endurance, cardiorespiratory endurance, and flexibility. Workouts can be tailor-made, but they should follow the ACSM guidelines discussed previously in this chapter.
The third important part of each fitness session, the cooldown, consists of a five-to-ten-minute session of relaxing exercises, such as slow jogging, walking, and stretching. 8 This activity allows your body to cool and return to a resting state. A cool-down period helps reduce muscle soreness.
Exercise for Older Adults
An exercise program designed for younger adults may be inappropriate for older people, particularly those over age fifty.
Special attention must be paid to match the program to the interests and abilities of the participants. The goals of the program should include both social interaction and physical conditioning.
Older adults, especially those with a personal or family history of heart problems, should have a physical examination before starting a fitness program.
This examination should include a stress cardiogram, a blood pressure check, and an evaluation of joint functioning. Participants should learn how to monitor their own cardiorespiratory status during exercise.
Well-designed fitness programs for older adults will include activities that begin slowly is monitored frequently and are geared the enjoy of the participants. The professional staff coordinating the program should be familiar with the signs of distress and must be able to perform CPR.
Warm-up and cool-down periods should be included.
Activities to increase flexibility are beneficial in the beginning and ending segments of the program. Participants should wear comfortable clothing and appropriate shoes and should be mentally prepared to enjoy the activities.
A program designed for older adults will largely conform to the ACSM criteria specified previously in this chapter. Except for certain very fit older adults (such as runners and triathletes), the THR should not exceed 120 bats per minute.
Also because of possible joint, muscular, or skeletal problems certain activities may have to be done in a sitting position. Pain or discomfort should be reported immediately to the fitness instructor.
Fortunately, properly screened older adults will rarely have health emergencies during a well-monitored fitness program. Like their youthful counterparts, many older adults find fitness programs socially enjoyable, physically beneficial, and occasionally addictive.
Low Back pain
A common occurrence among adults is the sudden onset of low back pain. Each year, 10 million adults develop this condition which can be so uncomfortable that they miss work, lose sleep and generally feel incapable of engaging in daily activities.
Eighty percent of all adults who have this condition will experience these effects two to three times per year.
Low back pain can reflect serious health problems most low back pains are cause mechanical problems. As unpleasant as low back pain is, the problem usually corrects itself within a week or two. The services of a physician, physical therapist are generally not required after an initial visit.
By engaging in regular exercises, such as swimming, walking, and bicycling and by paying attention to your back during bending, lifting, and sitting. You can minimize the occurrence of this uncomfortable and incapacitating condition.
Along with the five necessary elements to include in your fitness program, you should consider many additional issues when you start a fitness program.
Should I See My Doctor before I Get Started?
This issue has probably kept thousands of people from ever beginning a fitness program. The hassle and expense of getting a comprehensive physical examination are excellent excuses for people who are not completely sold on the idea of exercise.
A complete examination, including blood analysis, stress test, cardiogram, serum lipid analysis, and body fat analysis is a valuable tool for developing some baseline physical data for your medical record.
Is this examination really necessary?
Most exercise physiologists do not think so. The value of these measurements as safety predictors is questioning many professionals.
How Important Is Breast Support for Female Exercisers?
Because of the vigorous up-and-down and lateral breast movement that can occur with jumping and running activities, it is important that women wear bras that fully support their breasts.
This is especially important for large-breasted women. A good support bra can reduce discomfort and distraction during physical activity.
In addition, adequate support reduces damage to the Cooper’s ligaments. Damage to these ligaments can cause premature sagging of the breasts.
Another problem that female exercisers may face is a condition called runner’s nipples. This is abrasion caused constant friction from the jogger’s shirt.
A good bra prevents this, as well as a condition called bicyclist’s nipples, in which the nipples become painful because of the combination of sweat evaporation and wind chill.8
Researchers believe that the characteristics of the ideal sports bra depend on a woman’s weight and breast size, physical activity, and what feels comfortable.
Sports bras should be made with:
- (1) a material that a breathable
- (2) minimal amounts of elastic
- (3) no seams directly over the nipple area
- (4) comfortable support under the breasts that prevents the bra from rising during activity
- (5) nonelastic straps that prevent the shoulder straps from slipping off during activity.
Exercise May Ease Symptoms of PMS many women have long reported that exercise reduces the number and severity of symptoms that suffer from premenstrual syndrome (PMS). Recent studies support those anecdotal reports.
In one study,8,143 women were divided into four groups: competitive sportswomen, high exercisers, low exercisers, and sedentary women.
20 The study concluded that the high exercisers reported the greatest improvement in mood, and sedentary women the least.
The results support the belief that women who exercise frequently may be protected from the deterioration of mood that occurs before and during menstruation.
The competitive sportswomen group did not enjoy this same level of benefit, possibly because of the extraordinary physical demands they place on their bodies.
Another study involving twenty-three premenopausal women found that those who engaged in regular aerobic exercise significantly improved their premenstrual symptoms, especially premenstrual depression, in addition to improving their aerobic capacity. 21
Should Women Exercise during pregnancy?
Exercise, in general, is beneficial to the human body, and pregnant women especially should exercise regularly. 9 During pregnancy, a woman’s entire body undergoes many physical changes. Muscles are stretched, the joint is loosened and tissues are subjected to stress.
If a woman is in good physiological condition, she is more likely to handle these changes with few complications. 10 The baby may also benefit: Studies have shown that women who exercise during pregnancy tend to give birth to healthier babies.
9 Exercise during pregnancy can also increase a woman’s muscle strength, making the delivery of the baby easier and faster. Exercise can also help control her weight and make it easier to get back to normal weight after delivery.
The types of exercises women should perform during pregnancy depend on the individual and the stage of pregnancy.
Most pregnant women should perform general exercises that increase overall fitness and stamina, as well as exercises that strengthen specific muscle groups.
Muscles of the pelvic floor should be exercised regularly because these muscles will be supporting most of the extra weight of the baby. A variety of exercises are appropriate, including walking, swimming, stretching, and strengthening exercises.
9 Yoga and tai chi are also good forms of exercise for pregnant women. The muscles of the pelvic floor, abdomen, and back are especially subject to stress and strain during pregnancy and delivery, so certain exercises can also be performed to strengthen these muscles.
10 Exercises can also perform to speed up recovery after delivery. Such postpartum exercises can be started in some cases within twenty-four hours after delivery.
10 Exercises can even start before conception if pregnant is anticipated. Some types of exercise can carry a risk for the fetus.
For example, performing hydrotherapy exercises in water that is too hot can present a risk to the fetus. In addition, pregnant women should avoid exercising for periods longer than fifteen minutes at a time or performing intense, high-impact workouts.
Pregnant women should consult their obstetricians to develop a safe, productive exercise routine. This is especially important for women who were sedentary before they became pregnant.
What Kinds of Aerobic Exercise Are Popular Today?
One of the most popular fitness approaches is aerobic exercise, including aerobic dancing. Many organizations sponsor classes in this form of continuous dancing and movement.
The rise in popularity of televised and videotaped aerobic exercise programs reflects the enthusiasm for this form of exercise.
Because extravagant claims are often made about the value of these programs, the wise consumer should observe at least one session of the activity before enrolling.
Discover for your self whether the program meets the criteria outlined previously in this chapter: mode of activity, frequency, intensity, duration, and resistance training. Street dancing has become one of the most popular aerobic exercises.
Popularized by rap music, classic funk, and the growth of vigorous “street jam” dancing in muscle videos, street dancing is an excellent way of having fun and developing cardiorespiratory fitness. Have you experienced the exhilaration that results from an hour or two of dancing?
What Are Low-Impact Aerobic Activities?
Because long-term participation in some aerobic activities (for example, jogging, running, aerobic dancing, and rope skipping) may damage the hip, knee, and ankle joints, many fitness experts promote low-impact aerobic activities.
Low-impact aerobic dancing, water aerobics, bench aerobics, and brisk walking are examples of this kind of fitness activity. Participants still conform to the principal components of a cardiorespiratory fitness program. THR levels are the same as in high-impact aerobic activities.
The main difference between low-impact and high-impact aerobic activities is the use of having both feet off the ground at the same time.
Thus, weight transfer does not occur with the forcefulness seen in traditional, high-impact aerobic activities. In addition, low-impact activities may include exaggerated arm movements and the use of hand or wrist weights.
All of these variations are designed to improve the heart rate of the THR without damaging the joints of the lower extremities. Low-impact aerobics is excellent for people of all ages, and they may be especially beneficial to older adults.
In-line skating(rollerblading) is one of the fastest-growing fitness activities. This low-impact activity has cardiorespiratory and muscular benefits similar to those of running can produce.
Rollerblading requires important safety equipment: sturdy skates, knee, and elbow pads, wrist supports, and a helmet.
What Are the Most Effective Means of Fluid Replacement During Exercise?
Despite all the advertising hype associated with commercial fluid replacement products, for an average person involved in typical fitness activities, water is still the best fluid replacement.
The availability and cost are unbeatable. However, when activity is prolonged and intense, commercial sports drinks may be preferred over water because they contain electrolytes and carbohydrates (which replace depleted energy stores)11.
However, the carbohydrates in sports drinks are actually simply forms of sugar. Thus, sports drinks tend to be high in calories just like regular soft drinks.
Regardless of the drink you choose, exercise physiologists recommend that you drink fluids before and at frequent intervals throughout the activity.
What Effect Does Alcohol Have on Sport performance?
It probably comes as no surprise that alcohol use is generally detrimental to sports performance. Alcohol consumption, especially excessive intake the evening before an activity, consistently decreases the level of performance.
Many research studies have documented the negative effects of alcohol on activities involving speed, strength, power, and endurance 12. Lowered performance appears to be related to a variety of factors, including impaired judgment, reduced coordination, depressed heart function, liver interference, and dehydration.
Understandably, sports federations within the International Olympic Committee have banned the use of alcohol in conjunction with sports competitions.
Only in the sports of the precision shooting have studies shown that low-level alcohol use may improve performance, by reducing the shooter’s anxiety and permitting steady hand banned from these sports 12. Weapons and alcohol do not mix.
Why Has Bodybuilding become So Popular?
The popularity of bodybuilding has increased significantly in recent years for many reasons. Bodybuilders often start lifting weights to get into better shape to improve muscle tone.
They may just want to look healthier and feel stronger. When they realize that they can alter the shape of their bodies, they find that bodybuilding offers challenges that, through hard work, are attainable. Bodybuilders also report enjoying the physical sensations (the “pump”) that result from a good workout.
The results of their efforts are clearly visible and measurable. Some bodybuilders become involved in competitive events to test their advancements. Perhaps we should dispel a few myths about bodybuilding.
Are bodybuilders strong?
The answer is emphatically-yes! Will muscle cells turn into fat cells if weight lifting programs are discontinued? No, muscle cells. Will women develop bulky muscles through weight training?
No, they can improve muscle size, strength, and tone, but unless they take steroids, their muscle mass cannot increase to the same degree as men’s muscle mass.
Is bodybuilding socially acceptable?
Yes, for many people. Just observe all the health clubs and campus exercise rooms that cater to weight lifters and bodybuilders.
Can Anaerobic Exercise Provide Fitness Benefits?
Anaerobic exercise, such as strength training, can provide some of the same benefits as aerobic exercise, according to a recent study of low enforcement officers13. In this study, officers were assigned to either four months of circuit weight training or a non-training control group.
The study found that weight trainers not only enjoyed a significant increase in strength and cardiovascular fitness but also significant improvements in mood, including decreases in anxiety, depression, and hostility.
The circuit weight trainers also reported a decrease in physical complaints and an increase in their job satisfaction.
Where Can I Find Out About Proper Equipment?
College students are generally in an excellent setting to locate people who have the resources to provide helpful information about sports equipment.
Contacting physical education or health education faculty members who have an interest in your chosen activity might be a good start.
Most colleges also have a number of clubs that specialize in fitness interests cycling, hiking, and jogging clubs, for example. Attend one of their upcoming meetings.
Sporting goods and specialty stores(for runners, tennis and racquetball players, and cyclists) are convenient places to obtain information. Employees of these stores are usually knowledgeable about sports and equipment.
The Star Box on page 99 provides tips for choosing an athletic shoe, and the Star Box on page 101 discusses various popular types of home fitness equipment.
How Worthwhile Are Commercial Health and Fitness Clubs?
The health and fitness club business is booming. Fitness clubs offer activities ranging from free weights to weight machines to step walking to general aerobics.
Some clubs have saunas and whirlpools and lots of frills. Others have course offerings that include wellness, smoking cessation, stress management, time management, dance, and yoga.
The atmosphere at most clubs is friendly, and people are encouraged them to have a good time while working out. If your purpose in joining a fitness club is to improve your cardiorespiratory fitness, measure the program offered by the club against the ACSM standards.
If your primary purpose in joining is to meet people and have fun, request a trial membership for a month or so to see whether you like the environment. Before signing a contract at a health club or spa, do some careful questioning.
Find out when the business was established, ask about the qualifications of the employees, contact some members for their observations, and request a thorough tour of the facilities.
You might even consult your local Better Business Bureau for additional information. Finally, make certain that you read and understand every word of the contract.
What Is Crosstraining?
Crosstraining is the use of more than one aerobic activity to achieve cardiorespiratory fitness. For example, runners may use swimming, cycling, or rowing periodically to replace running in their training routines.
Crosstraining allows certain muscle groups to rest and injuries to heal. In addition, cross-training provides a refreshing change of pace for the participant. You will probably enjoy your fitness program more if you vary the activities.
Further, your enjoyment will make it more likely that the Healthy people 2000 objectives can be reached.
What Are Steroids and Why Do Some Athletes Use Them?
Steroids are drugs that physicians can legally prescribe for a variety of health conditions, including certain forms of anemia, inadequate growth patterns, and chronic debilitating diseases.
Steroids can also be prescribed to aid recovery from surgery. Anabolic steroids are drugs that function as the male sex hormone testosterone14. They can be taken orally or by injection.
Anabolic steroids are used by athletes who hope to gain weight, muscular size and strength, power, endurance, and aggressiveness. Over the last few decades, many bodybuilders, weight lifters, track athletes, and football players have chosen to ignore the serious health risks posed by illegal steroid use.
More recently, steroid use among high school and college campuses has reached epidemic levels. The mass media has begun to focus attention on the dangers of steroid use, but many young athletes choose to ignore these warnings.
The use of steroids is highly dangerous because of serious, life-threatening side effects and adverse reactions. These effects include heart problems, certain forms of cancer, liver complications, and even psychological disturbances. The side effects on female steroid users are as dangerous as those on men.
Figure 4-2 shows the adverse effects of steroid use.
Steroid users have developed a terminology of their own. “Roid rage” is an aggressive, psychotic response to chronic steroid use. “Stacking” is a term that describes the use of multiple steroids at the same time.
Many organizations that control athletic competition (such as the National Collegiate Athletic Association [NCAA], the Athletics Congress, the National Football League, and the International Olympic Committee ) have banned steroids and are testing athletes for illegal use.
The death of professional football player Lyle Alzado highlighted the serious threat posed by steroid use. Fortunately, some athletes finally seem to be getting the message and are steering clear of steroids.
Anabolic steroids (and uh bol ick) drugs that function like testosterone to produce increases in weight, strength, endurance, and aggressiveness.
Choosing an Athletic Shoe
Aerobic selecting shoes for aerobic dancing, J. Lynn Reese president of J. Lynn & Co> Endurance Sports, Washington, DC, advises the following:
- Check the width of the shoe at the widest part of your foot. The bottom of the shoe should be as wide as the bottom of your foot, the uppers shouldn’t go over the sides.
- Look for leather or nylon uppers. Leather is durable and gives good support, but it can stretch. Nylon won’t stretch and gives support, but it’s not as durable. Canvas generally doesn’t offer much support.
- Look for rubber rather than polyurethane or black carbon rubber soles. Treads should be fairly flat in the forefoot. If you dance on the carpet, you can with less tread; if you dance on the gym floors, you may need more grab.
What’s most important when choosing a basketball shoe? John Burleson, of the Sports Authority, offers this advice:
- Cushioning, Cushioning is especially important in the forefoot area. Each shoe manufacturer has its own cushioning “system”. For example, Nike has “Air”, and Reebok promotes its “Hexalite” material, composed of hexagonal air chambers.
- Side support. Side support also called lateral and medical support, is important for making quick directional changes.
- The fit of the heel cup. Try on the shoe, and then put your little finger in behind the heel. It should fit snugly.
- Traction. Keep in mind the surface on which you play most often. More traction is needed on asphalt than on hardwood.
- Socks should be breathable and pull moisture away from the foot.
- “Rope” laces are more convenient than the more traditional flat laces because pulling on the ends will tighten up the laces on the whole shoe at once.
Need new running shoes?
Here’s advice from Jeff Galloway, former Olympic runner, and founder and president of Phidippides International aerobic sports stores, headquartered in Atlanta. Take time to shop, and find a knowledgeable salesperson. Good advice is crucial.
Check the wear pattern on your old shoes to see whether you have a floppy or rigid feet. Floppy-footed runners wear out their soles on the outside and inside edges; rigid-footed runners wear outsoles predominantly on the outside edges.
Floppy footed runners can sacrifice cushioning.
- Know whether your feet are curved or straight and whether you have high arches or are flatfooted. The shoe should fit the shape of your foot.
Have you joined the millions of people who walk for fitness? If so, and if you are ready for a pair of athletic walking shoes, shoe manufacturer Nike has the following advice for you:
Note where most of your weight falls on your foot when you walk. Are you landing mostly on the heel, or on the forefoot?
This is where you will want to cushion.
- As with all other types of athletes’ shoes, take the time to find a knowledgeable salesperson who will provide good advice.
- Go for comfort. Stride in the different types of shoes at your typical walking pace and identify the shoes that are most comfortable.
- Choose shoes that are comfortable in the forefoot area, which will be carrying much of your weight.
- All-leather uppers are satisfactory for most walkers. If you are a serious walker, consider shoes with breathable uppers made of a material such mesh.
Crosstraining shoes are a new hybrid, an all-purpose shoe for those who participate in a variety of fitness activities, such as basketball, weight lifting, or light trail hiking.
If you tend to specialize in one type of activity (such as basketball), consider buying shoes designed specifically for that activity (for example, high-top basketball shoes for ankle support).
To shop for an all-purpose crosstraining shoe, Nike recommends that you keep the following points in mind:
- Once again, comfort is paramount. Try to simulate the activity when you try on the shoe, such as rolling from the side for court sports, the fast movement for walking or running, or walking an incline for light hiking.
- If you tend toward one activity (such as running), look for crosstraining shoes that support that activity (for example, heel and forefoot cushioning for running).
- If you intend to use the shoes for activities with lots of lateral movements, such as court sports or aerobic classes, look for good lateral support.
Choosing an Athletic Shoe-Continued
- Flexibility: More at the ball of the foot than running shoes; less flexible than court shoes or running shoes; sole is firmer than running shoes.
- Uppers: Most are leather or leather-reinforced nylon.
- Heel: Little or no flare.
- Soles: Rubber if you dance on wood floors; polyurethane for other surfaces.
- Cushing: More than court shoes; less than running shoes.
- Thread: Should be fairly flat, especially on the forefoot; may also have “ dot” on the ball of the foot for pivoting.
- Soles: Can be made from rubber for durability, EVA for lightweight and durable.
- Flexibility: Should be most flexible in the forefoot, for making jump shots.
- Cushioning: Should absorb shock in the ball of the foot, for landing from jump shots.
- Heel: A snug-fitting heel cup is essential to keep the ankle in place; the shoe can be high-, mid-, or low-cut, depending on the amount of ankle support desired.
- Tread: For playing outdoors, the sole should be harder and tread deeper; a smoother tread works well for playing on a court.
- Uppers: Can be made of leather for durability or nylon or other synthetics for breathability.
- Heel: Flare gives the foot a broader, more stable base.
- Soles: Usually carbon-based for longer wear.
- Cushioning: More than court shoes, especially at the heel.
- Tread: “Waffle” or other deep-cut treads for grip on many surfaces.
- Cushioning: Can be forefoot and heel, or primarily forefoot heel.
- Heel: May have some flare, similar to running shoes.
- Soles: Typically polyurethane for durability.
- Tread: some tread for traction, but slightly flatter than running shoes.
- Cushioning: Can be forefoot and heel, or primarily forefoot or heel.
- Tread: Can be moderate to aggressive.
Home Fitness Equipment
In the past ten years, there has been an explosion in the purchase and use of home fitness equipment. This equipment is especially helpful for those who do not have access to health/fitness clubs, who prefer to exercise alone and at home, and who must exercise at irregular hours.
Most forms of equipment can provide a good cardiorespiratory workout. However, few devices can also offer a balanced, whole-body strength workout.
Thus, people looking for a complete workout may have to add some strength training barbell work to their fitness program. A discussion of current popular devices follows.
Many models of stationary bikes are available, ranging in price from about $ 150 to $3.500 or more for a computerized exercise bike.
Some upright bikes have a “dual action” component, whereby the user can “pump” extended handlebars for an upper-body workout. Other bikes allow the user to sit back while pedaling.
These recumbent bikes take the pressure off the lower back and permit the rider to exercise the hamstring muscles to a greater degree than upright bikes. Bike training stands that allow you to convert your regular bicycle into a stationary bike are also available.
Treadmills are relatively simple devices that consist of a moving belt stretched over two rollers.
Two basic forms of treadmills are commonly used. The less expensive is the variety that driven manually the walking or running action of the user. Motorized treadmills are much more expensive and driven, of course, by an electric motor.
The cost of a treadmill can range from several hundred dollars to nearly $ 15,000 for top-of-the-line models. Most electric models allow the user to change speeds and also the incline angle of the platform. Changing the incline angle can increase the intensity of the workout.
First-time users are cautioned to start slowly and gradually become familiar with the motion of the motorized models.
Getting on and off a moving belt can be a potentially dangerous task. Stair Climbers these devices allow the user to simulate climbing up a series of stair steps.
This form of movement is much preferred to the actual, repetitive climbing of stairs that some people undertake in high-rise buildings. Stair climbers take much of the pressure off the knee joint.
These machines vary in price from around $ 200 for the simplest lever model to $ 5,000 for a programmable model that varies the speed and amount of resistance. Some models come with an upper-body component that allows the user to pump the arms while climbing.
Users of these machines exercise by simulating the movements involved in rowing a boat. Most brands have a sliding seat and movable handles that are similar to oars.
Users push their feet against footplates while pulling back on the handles. The simplest models may cost around $ 300 and range up to more than $ 3, 000 for health club models.
Ski machines mimic the movements involved in cross-country skiing. Upper-body action involves alternating pulling movements of ropes or levers.
Lower-body movements consist of large muscle back-and-forth movements of the legs. The exercises feet move in fixed parallel tracks and are held in place pedal straps.
The skiing movements take some practice to produce a smooth, coordinated motion. Costs range from several hundred to several thousand dollars.
Which Machine Is Best for You?
The machine that is best for you is the one that you will enjoy using. All too often these machines are given as birthday or holiday gifts and used consistently for only a short time. (Notice all the ads for used fitness equipment in the classified ads section of your local paper.)
Be certain to remember that machines can be somewhat specific in their focus. You may wish to broaden your workout with additional exercises or strength-building activities.
In terms of which device produces the greatest level of energy expended, a recent Journal of the American Medical Association article indicated that treadmill users walking or running “somewhat hard” expending (burned) more calories per hour than users of five other common home exercise machines.
In this study, exercisers using a dual-action stationary bike and a regular stationary bike expended the fewest calories per hour22.
Figure 4-2 Effects of steroids on the body
Are Today’s Children Physical Fit?
Major research studies published during the last ten years have indicated that U.S children and teenagers lead very sedentary lives.
Children ages six to seventeen score extremely poorly in the areas of strength, flexibility, and cardiorespiratory endurance. In many cases, parents are in better shape than their children.
This information presents a challenge to educators and parents to emphasize the need for strenuous play activity. Television watching and parents’ inactivity were implicated as major reasons in these in these studies.
For students reading this text who are parents or grandparents of young children, what can you do to encourage more physical activity and less sedentary activity?
How Does Sleep Contribute to Overall Fitness?
Although sleep may seem to be the opposite of exercise, it is an important adjunct to a well-planned exercise program.
Sleep is so vital to health that people who are unable to sleep sufficiently (those with insomnia) or who are deprived of sleep experience deterioration in every dimension of their health. Fortunately, exercise is frequently associated with improvement in sleep.
The value of sleep is apparent in a variety of positive changes in the body. Dreaming is thought to play an important role in supporting the emotional dimension of health. Problem-solving scenarios that occur during dreams seem to afford some carryover value in actual coping experiences.
A variety of changes in physiological functioning, particularly a deceleration of the cardiovascular system, occur while you sleep. The feeling of being well-rested is an expression of the mental and physiological rejuvenation you feel after a good night’s sleep.
The amount of sleep needed varies among people. In fact, for any person, sleep needs vary according to activity level and the overall state of health.
As we age, the need to sleep less than they did when they were younger. This decrease may be offset by the short naps older people often take during the day.
For all people, however periods of relaxation, daydreaming, and even an occasional afternoon nap promote electrical activity patterns that help regenerate the mind and body.
What Exercise Danger Signs Should I Watch For?
The human body is an amazing piece of equipment. It functions well regardless of whether you are conscious something goes wrong.
You should monitor any sign that seems abnormal during or after your exercise. “Listen to your body” is a good rule for self-awareness. The Health Action Guide on page 104 lists some common warning signs to monitor.
However, such an occurrence is extremely unusual. Fear of developing these difficulties should not deter you from starting a fitness program. These risks. Sports injuries are discussed further in the following section.
Kids, Go Outside and Play! Unfortunately, children in the United States today are heavier, slower, and weaker than children in other countries 15.
We know that cardiovascular risk factors, such as obesity, tend to continue from childhood to adulthood. That is, patterns established in childhood, such as sedentary lifestyles, are difficult to break and can contribute to cardiovascular disease in adulthood.
By the same token, researchers have found that the children who perform better on standardized fitness tests have more favorable body composition and lipid profiles. Organized fitness activities at school and at home can play an important role in helping your children become and stay fit.
For example, comprehensive school-based health promotion and education programs can improve children’s health and reduce their risk factors for diseases. Playing video games with their friends might improve the eye-hand coordination of your children, but it is not a fitness activity!
At any time during your participation in fitness or sports activities, it is possible that you will become injured, even if you carefully warm-up before your exercise and cool down after your exercise.
Hopefully, the injury will only be a minor one and you can rest and soon resume your fitness interests.
Something, however, an injury can be significant and require you to seek medical care and undergo extensive rehabilitation.
It is beyond the scope of this textbook to provide a comprehensive discussion of the prevention, care, and treatment of sports injuries. (You can find this information in an athletic training textbook), a fitness textbook, or a popular sports medicine book).
We will try to provide you with some general principles related to the prevention and care of sports injuries and a table that lists much common fitness injuries2.
Principle Number One:
- A well-planned fitness program starts at a low level and progresses gradually and consistently.
- This principle supports the concept of starting at a level of activity that can be handled comfortably.
- If the activity is a walking program, an unfit person should not begin with walks of five or six miles a day but should start with a shorter distance and gradually add additional distance in a consistent manner to avoid muscle, skeletal, or joint injuries.
Principle Number Two:
- If you stop exercising for an extended time, do not restart the activity at the level at which you stopped.
- Do not plan on returning to a high level of activity if you have been inactive for an extended time.
- Rather, reduce your activity significantly and gradually return to your earlier levels of activity.
Principle Number Three:
- “Listen to your body”. Always be aware of the nature of your body as you are exercising.
- If you sense that something is wrong, stop the activity and assess the situation.
- For example, if you think you might be hurting your back or that a joint or muscle is becoming strained, stop and evaluate the situation.
- If you think something is wrong, by all means, don’t test your body by returning to the activity.
- Pain indicates that something is wrong. If this is the case, seek a professional evaluation, perhaps from an athletic trainer or a physical therapist.
- A physician, especially one trained in sports medicine, can make an accurate diagnosis of the injury.
Principle Number Four:
- Follow the rehabilitation instructions carefully. Athletic trainers and physical therapists are trained to design effective rehabilitation programs.
- If you are injured, it is very important that you follow the advice of these professionals.
- This is especially true in cases where you start to feel better before the rehabilitation program is finished.
- Even though you feel better, your body may not be fully recovered.
- A return to activity too quickly may result in an even more serious injury than your original one. ( This is especially true for adults over the age of forty).
- The best advice is to resist the urge to return to your activity until you are given full clearance from your trainer or therapist.
Principle Number Five:
- Develop a prevention approach. After you recover from an injury, try to discover ways to prevent that injury from happing again.
- Learn about proper stretching exercises, effective strength-training activities, appropriate equipment, and the proper mechanics for your selected sports/fitness activities.
Use this collective knowledge to prevent the injury from recurring. For example, if you have injured your hamstring muscles while running, you will need to learn how to effectively stretch these muscles in the future.
You will also need to learn how to strengthen these muscles through weight training. If your running shoes are old and worn, they may have to be replaced.
Finally, if you are running too fast before warming up, you will want to start slowly and gradually increase your speed after the muscles are fully warmed up.
Preventive actions like these will allow you to have a fitness program that is not regularly interrupted by a nagging injury.
Common Injuries Associated with Physical Activity
- Chronic tendinitis of the “heel cord” or muscle-tendon located on the back of the lower leg just above the heel.
- It may result from any activity that involves forcefully pushing off with the foot and ankle, such as in running and jumping.
- This inflammation involves swelling =, warmth, tenderness to touch, and pain during walking and especially running.
- Stretching or tearing of one or several ligaments that provide stability to the ankle joint.
- Ligaments on the outside or lateral side of the ankle are more commonly injured by rolling the sole of the foot downward and toward the inside.
- Pain is intense immediately after injury, followed by considerable swelling, tenderness, loss of joint motion, and some discoloration over a 14 to 48 hour period.
- A fungal infection that most often occurs between the toes or on the sole of the foot and that causes itching, redness, and pain.
- If the skin breaks down, a bacterial infection is possible.
- It may be prevented by keeping the area dry; using powder; and wearing clean, dry socks that do not hold moisture.
- It is best treated using over-the-counter medications that contain the active ingredient miconazole (MicaTin).
- Friction blisters can occur anywhere on the skin where there is friction or repetitive rubbing, but they most often occur on the hands or feet.
- The blister takes on a reddish color, becoming raised and filling with fluid. It can be quite painful, and if it occurs in the foot it may be disabling.
- Taking measures to reduce friction, such as wearing gloves, breaking in new footwear, and wearing appropriately fitting socks, is helpful in preventing blisters.
- A muscle strain that occurs in the muscles located on the inside of the upper thigh just below the pubic area and that results from either an overstretch of the muscle or from a contraction of the muscle that meets excessive resistance.
- The pain will be produced by flexing the hip and leg across the body or by stretching the muscles in a groin-stretch position.
- A strain of the muscles on the back of the upper thigh that most often occurs while sprinting. In most cases, severe pain is caused simply by walking or in any movement that involves knee flexion or stretch of the hamstring muscle.
- Some swelling, tenderness to touch, and possibly some discoloration extending down the back of the leg may occur in severe strains.
Patellofemoral knee pain
- Nonspecific pain occurring around the knee, particularly the front part of the knee, or in the kneecap (patella).
- Pain can result from many causes, including the improper movement of the kneecap in knee flexion and extension; tendinitis of the tendon just below the kneecap, which is caused by repetitive jumping; bursitis (swelling) either above or below the kneecap; and osteoarthritis (joint surface degeneration) between the kneecap and thigh bone.
- It may involve inflammation with swelling, tenderness, warmth, and pain associated with movement.
Plantar fasciitis or arch pain
- Chronic inflammation and irritation of the broad ligament that runs from the heel to be base of the toes, forming part of the long arch on the bottom of the foot.
- It most often occurs in runners or walkers. It is frequently caused by wearing shoes that do not have adequate arch support.
- At first, pain is localized at the attachment on the heel; it then tends to move onto the arch.
- It is most painful when you first get out of bed and in the evening when you have been on your feet for long periods.
Quadriceps contusion “charley horse”
- A deep bruise of the muscles in the front part of the thigh caused by a forceful impact or by some object that results in severe pain, swelling, discoloration, and difficulty flexing the knee or extending the hip.
- Without adequate rest and protection from additional trauma, small calcium deposits may develop in the muscle.
Racquetball or golfer’s elbow
- Similar to tennis elbow, except the pain is located on the medical or inside surface of the arm just above the elbow at the attachment of the wrist and finger flexor muscles.
- It occurs in those activities that involve repeated, forceful flexion of the wrist, such as hitting a forehand stroke in racquetball.
- Golfers also develop this inflammation in the trailing arm from too much wrist flexion in a golf swing.
- A “catch-all” term used to refer to any pain that occurs in the front part of the lower leg or shin, most often caused by excessive running on hard surfaces.
- Pain is usually caused by the strain of the muscles that move the ankle and foot at their attachment points in the shin. It is usually worse during activity.
- In more severe cases it may be caused by stress fractures of the long bones in the lower leg, with the pain being worse after the activity is stopped.
- Chronic irritation and inflammation of muscle tendons and a bursa underneath the tip of the shoulder, which results from repeated forceful overhead motions of the shoulder, such as in swimming, throwing, spiking a volleyball, or serving a tennis ball.
- Pain is felt when the arm is extended across the body above the shoulder level.
- An extremely common problem for anyone who exercises outside.
- Overexposure to the sun can ultimately cause certain types of skin cancer.
- It is critical to protect yourself from the sun by applying sunscreens and paying attention to the SPF (sun protection factor).
- Wearing a hat and other protective clothing to cover the skin can further help to minimize overexposure to ultraviolet light.
- Chronic irritation and inflammation of the lateral or outside surface of the arm just above the elbow at the attachment of the muscles that extend the wrist and fingers.
- It results from any activity that requires a forceful extension of the wrist.
- Typically occurs in tennis players who are using faulty techniques hitting backhand groundstrokes.
- Pain is felt above the elbow after forcefully extending the wrist against resistance or applying pressure over the muscle attachment above the elbow.
Real Life Your Turn
- Would exercise have been beneficial to Jack in his pre-heart attack days? Why or why not?
- What kinds of exercise might jack find enjoyable and healthful? What kinds of exercise do you think he should avoid?
- Before Jack begins a program of moderate exercise, what tests will his physician want him to undergo?
And Now, Your Choices…..
Do you exercise regularly? If so, how do you benefit from your exercise routine? What happens when you don’t exercise?
If you don’t exercise regularly, what are your reasons? What forms of exercise do you think you would enjoy doing several times a week?
- Physical fitness allows one to avoid illness, perform routine activities, and respond to emergencies.
- The health benefits of exercise can be achieved through regular, moderate exercise.
- Fitness is composed of five components: cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility, and body composition.
- The American College of Sports Medicine’s program for cardiorespiratory fitness has five components: mode of activity, frequency of training, the intensity of training, duration of the training, and resistance training.
- The target heart rate refers to the number of times per minute the heart must contract to produce a training effect.
- Training sessions should take place in three phases: warm-up, workout, and cool down.
- Fitness experts are concerned about the lack of fitness in today’s youth.
- Street dancing, step aerobics, and rollerblading are currently popular aerobic activities.
- College students who are interested in fitness should understand the important topics of steroid use, cross-training, fluid replacement, bodybuilding, and proper sleep.
Following a few simple principles can help prevent many common sports injuries.