NUTRITION FOR FITNESS
INTRODUCTION: The interest in physical fitness is very high in all the age groups of populations around the world. It may be to keep fit, healthy and thus improve the quality of life or it can be to participate in athletics and possible composition.
Our body composition, muscular ability, respiratory and cardiovascular capabilities are very closely related to nutrition and exercise. Diet and nutrition does influence performance.
EXERCISE FOR PHYSICAL FITNESS: Just as eating three meals regularly is a consistent part of life, so should exercise be a consistent, regular part of daily life. In physical education in schools, activities that are appropriate for lifelong participation need to be emphasized. This will ensure physical well – being and optional function of the majority of students. Some of them may become athletes.
ENJOY YOUR ACTIVITIES AND EXERCISE: The cardinal rule of our body is conservation of energy. To keep an energy balance in adult life we need to learn to enjoy spending it. Voluntary exercise is ideal way to use energy, as it helps us to stay in shape and look good. It helps to improve posture, build muscle strength and increases flexibility of joints. It strengthens the heart (a vital muscle) and improves circulation, which we refer to as the pink glow of health. Naturally it relieves tension and helps us to enjoy life. The reduced risk of contracting chronic diseases as an added bonus.
HOW TO SELECT AN EXERCISE PROGRAM: The choice of an exercise program varies from individual to individual. The word choice is very important for there are literally innumerable ways to attain your goal of fitness. The following are the guidelines to choose it:
- Choose an exercise you like so that you will enjoy doing it.
- Choose one that can be done in all seasons.
- Choose one that can be done preferably near your residence.
- Choose one for which you have facilities.
- Choose one that can be done regularly.
- Choose an exercise that involves the large muscles in the body.
PHYYSICAL FITNESS MOVEMENT: The awareness about and interest in physical fitness is increasing in our people. It appears it is no longer a fad but a welcome trend. The longer one follows some type of regular exercise, the more committed one becomes. Walking and soft workouts have enabled more persons to participate, who are not athletically inclined. Many of these persons are middle-aged adults who control health problems with moderate exercise. They thus feel more in control of their lives.
BEGINNING AN EXERCISE PROGRAM: It is important to begin an exercise program with a proper plan. Strong motivation is necessary to pursue an exercise program on a long-term basis. Some of the basic guidelines for beginning are:
- Record weight, height, chest, waist and hip girth.
- Initiate the program gradually. As little as 3 to 5 minutes suffice, for those who have been sedentary, especially older persons. Increase the period to 20 to 30 minutes over 3 to 4 weeks.
- 3 to 5 minutes warm-up period, which consists of smooth, stretching exercises, should precede intense exercise. At the end of intense exercise, decrease the intensity slowly to allow the body to cool down.
- Aerobic exercises are most helpful to increase physical fitness.
- Persons, who have chronic ailment or are overweight, should consult their doctor and check blood pressure, cardiovascular function, muscle and joint function before starting. The doctor may help to select the exercise program and goals to be set.