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Introduction
Concept of physical fitness
How to improve physical fitness
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How to improve physical  fitness
 

Physical fitness is very important to health. Citizens are advised to enhance their physical fitness with the following three kinds of exercises, so as to stay healthy and be healthier, as well as enjoying quality life.

Aerobic Exercises

a. The characteristics of aerobic exercises

  • Energy is supplied by the aerobic systems in the process of aerobic exercises.
  • Aerobic exercises are composed of rhythmic and repetitive movements of mainly the major muscles. Aerobic exercises take longer time than stretching exercises and resistance training. The heart rate and the amount of respiration will increase with exercise intensity.

b. The benefits of aerobic exercises

  • Persistent aerobic exercises for 6 to 8 weeks enhance cardiovascular health and cardiorespiratory endurance.
  • Improved cardiorespiratory endurance enhances capacity for persistent exercise and resistance to fatigue, thus sustaining efficiency for exercise and work.
  • Aerobic exercises help body to consume extra fat, thus keeping appropriate and healthy body composition.
  • Voluminous scientific reports indicate that aerobic exercises have positive effects on the release and operations of the biochemical substances in the human nervous system and endocrine system, which is vital to mental health.

c. The training principles of aerobic exercise

Frequency:
3 days (5 days are better) per week.
Intensity:
Initial stage:
Maintain target training heart rate within moderate intensity of 65 – 75% of maximal heart rate.
Subsequent stage:
Maintain target training heart rate within vigorous intensity of 76 - 95% of maximal heart rate.
Time:

30 – 60 minutes per session (can be done in segments with no less than 10 minutes per segment)

Type:

Rhythmic and repetitive movements of major muscles, such as swimming, hiking, walking, jogging, cycling and dancing.


Definitions of Moderate and Vigorous Intensity

 

Moderate Intensity

Vigorous Intensity

Heart Rate during Exercise

Maximal Heart Rate :
65 - 75%

Maximal Heart Rate:
76 - 95%

Characteristics

Speeded respiration, sweating and increased heart beat during exercise, without feeling much burden and can keep going.

Vigorous respiration, voluminous sweating and rapid heart beat during exercise, feeling burdened and difficult to keep going.

Rate of Perceived Exertion ( 0-10)

Scores: 4 – 6

Scores: 7 – 8

Remark:Maximal heart rate = 220 – actual age

 

Stretching Exercises

a. The benefits of stretching exercises

  • The purpose of doing stretching exercises is to improve body flexibility.
  • Flexibility refers to the ability of the joints to have unimpeded, smooth and full range movements within their normal range.
  • The quality of flexibility will have direct bearing on the performance in daily activities, work or exercises.
  • The lack of appropriate flexibility will directly or indirectly lead to joint degeneration. This will lead to diseases and symptoms of osteoarthritis, deformation of the spinal column or back pain.
  • Habitual stretching exercises can help improve flexibility of various joints of the body.

b. Basic guidelines for stretching exercises

  • Try to wear loose outfits when doing stretching exercises.
  • Avoid exceeding, twitching or ballistic stretching exercises. Static stretching exercise should be chosen as a safer and more effective way to improve flexibility.
  • Stretching training is best done for three or more days per week to target on 8 to 10 different major parts of the body. The stretching movement for each part is best repeated for 4 times in each training session. Please note that stretching training should be done evenly on both left and right joints.
  • During the static stretching exercises, muscles should be slightly stretched for 15 to 30 seconds. Breathing should be kept smooth during the whole process.
  • Professional supervision is required for all the stretching training during the recovery period from illness and damage, and in the case of joint pain and pregnancy.

 

Resistance Training

a. Muscular strength and muscular endurance
The purpose of resistance training is to improve the muscular strength and muscular endurance of the body.

  • Muscular strength: the maximum force/strength produced per muscular contraction.
  • Muscular endurance: the longest duration or maximum repetition for muscle to exert a submaximal force persistently.

For the exercise beginners, resistance training is helpful in enhancing the coordination in nervous and muscular systems, toning muscles and strengthening joints. This is effective in enhancing performance during exercise.

b. The benefits of resistance training

  • Keep the body in proper posture and improve body shape
  • Reduce chronic pain in muscles and joints
  • Increase the protective ability of the body
  • Enhance biological functionalities and health
  • Enhance the ability for exercise
  • Reduce the risk of injury
  • Reduce mental stress
  • Increase confidence

c. Basic guidelines for resistance training

  • Try to wear loose outfits. Do warm-up stretching exercises before resistance training.
  • Resistance training should be done progressively, improving muscular strength and muscular endurance in a safe and effective way.
  • Resistance training is best performed 2 to 3 days per week, targeting major muscles of the body, including chest, shoulders, upper back, waist and back, abdomen, buttocks, thighs and legs.
  • During each training session, perform 2 to 4 sets for each target muscle group and perform 10 to 15 repetitions for each set.
  • Breathing should be kept smooth during the exercise: exhaling when exerting force for pulling or pushing, and inhaling slowly when returning to original positions. This can reduce the undesirable reactions from the cardiovascular system induced from holding breath.
  • After each training session, do stretching exercises as cool-down and adjustment.
  • Professional supervision is required for all the resistance training during the recovery period from illness and damage, and in the case of joint pain and pregnancy.

 

 

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