Being “fit” goes beyond health and looking good. Fitness should not only improve your health and well-being, but your quality of life, self-esteem and self-concept. Fitness should be fun, enjoyable, yet challenging. It should be something you look forward to and leaves you feeling satisfied and successful.
Total Fitness requires a comprehensive exercise program, which includes the following components:
A well-rounded, total fitness program includes use of a wide variety of equipment. An assortment of cardiovascular machines should be used, along with exercise bands, stability balls, medicine balls, hand-held weights, weighted bars and weight machines.
Muscular strength and endurance are key components of a fitness-training program. Weight training can make your muscles strong, maintain the integrity of your bones, improve your appearance and fight age-related muscle loss. In addition, strength training can help reduce the signs and symptoms of many chronic diseases, including arthritis.
Studies have shown that lifting weights two or three times a week increases strength by building muscle mass and bone density. It can also help you maintain muscle mass during a weight-loss program. A workout should include all major muscle groups and you should give your muscles at least one day of rest between workouts.
Muscular adaptations to regular resistance training
•Neural adaptations (improved recruitment patterns & improved motor learning)
•Hypertrophy of fast-twitch fibers
•Increased size and number of actin and myosin
•Increased lean body mass
•Increased connective tissue strength
•Decreased risk for joint injury
HIIT training involves short, intense intervals alternated with various recovery times. It uses a wide variety of work to rest ratios and is fun, quick, and creative.
This is a time-efficient way to improve fitness and health. Research indicates it’s an effective protocol to improve overall physical capacity, body composition, and enhanced protection from heart disease.
Functional training exercises are designed to train and develop muscles to make it easier to do activities of daily living safely and efficiently. It puts fitness into practice in real applications and trains one for unexpected situations in life. Using muscles in the upper body and lower body at the same time also emphases core stability.
The benefits of functional training include making everyday activities easier, reduce risk of injury, and improve overall quality of life. It also can improve muscular strength, balance, agility, and stability.
Flexibility is the range of motion at a joint in the body. Regular stretching can increase the range of motion. Most fitness training activities cause your muscles to contract and flex. For balance in your fitness-training program, it's important to stretch those muscles, too. Stretching not only improves the range of motion of your joints, it also promotes better posture. Regular stretching can even help relieve stress.
Before you stretch, warm up by walking or doing a favorite exercise at low intensity for five to 10 minutes. Stretching “warm” muscles reduces tissue damage and increases the potential for muscle elongation to remain after the stretch is removed. Even better, stretch after you exercise — when your muscles are warm and receptive to stretching. Static stretching of low force and long duration is most effective. Stretches should emphasize commonly tight postural muscles (i.e., anterior shoulder, hip flexors, low-back, hamstrings, calves) and the major muscle groups used during a workout.
A sport specific training program is designed to duplicate movements that are used in various segments of a sport in order to optimize athletic performance. This type of program develops the athlete’s physical potential by using proper technique and balanced development. Segments of the workout include a dynamic warm-up, speed, agility, power, plyometrics, core training, and balance and coordination exercises.
•Speed – ability to react and move quickly
•Power – ability to move a load through space quickly and explosively
•Agility – ability to change position and direction rapidly without losing balance
•Balance – ability to maintain equilibrium while stationary or while moving
•Coordination – ability to move efficiently and smoothly while executing a task
To get the most from your workout:
Eat a healthy breakfast. Wake up early enough to eat breakfast. Most of the energy you got from dinner last night is used up by morning. Your blood sugar may be low. If you don't eat, you may feel sluggish or lightheaded while exercising. If you plan to exercise within an hour after breakfast, eat a smaller breakfast or drink something to raise your blood sugar, such as a sports drink.
Time your meals based on their size. Eat large meals at least three to four hours before exercising. You can eat small meals two to three hours before exercising. Most people can eat snacks right before and during exercise. The key is how you feel. Do what works best for you.
Don't skip meals. Skipping meals may cause low blood sugar, which can make you feel weak and lightheaded. If you're short on time before your workout, and your choice is candy or nothing, eat the candy because it can improve your performance, compared with eating nothing. But keep in mind, all candy is high in sugar and low on nutrients, so a snack of yogurt and a banana would be a better choice. Know that for some people, eating something less than an hour before exercise can cause low blood sugar. Find out what works for you.
Eat after your workout. To help your muscles recover and to replace their glycogen stores, eat a meal that contains both protein and carbohydrates within two hours of your exercise session if possible. Women, in particular, may need protein after resistance training.
What to eat: Getting the right fuel for your best performance
Food provides your body with necessary energy. To make the most of your workouts, focus on these foods.
Carbohydrates: Your body's chief source of fuel You'll feel better when you exercise if you eat foods high in carbohydrates and low in fat. Your body stores excess carbohydrates as glycogen — primarily in your muscles and liver. Your muscles use stored glycogen when needed for energy.
A diet containing at least 50 percent of calories from carbohydrates allows your body to store glycogen, but if you're a long-distance runner or you exercise for long periods of time, you might want to consume more carbohydrates regularly and consider carbohydrate loading before a big athletic event.
Good carbohydrate sources include cereals, breads, vegetables, pasta, rice and fruit.
Foods high in fiber and fructose right before an intense workout may cause problems. High-fiber foods, such as beans and lentils, bran cereals and fruit, may give you gas or cause cramping. Fructose, a simple sugar found in fruit, can increase the tendency for diarrhea with high-intensity exercise.
Consider beverage sources if you don't like to eat solid foods before exercising. You can drink your carbohydrates in sports beverages or fruit juices. Do what feels best to you.
Protein and fats: Important, but not your body's top fuel choice Protein isn't your body's food of choice for fueling exercise, but it does play a role in muscle repair and growth. Most people can easily get the protein they need from food sources and don't need additional protein supplements. Good protein sources include:
Fat is an important, although smaller, part of your diet. Fats, as well as carbohydrates, can provide fuel for your muscles during exercise. Try to get most of your fat from unsaturated sources such as:
Avoid fatty foods just before exercising, though. Fats remain in your stomach longer, causing you to feel less comfortable.
Water: Drink plenty to avoid dehydration Your body uses the water in your blood to carry nutrients such as sugar (glucose) to cells and to remove waste products from the cells. The presence of water in your body ensures that you can safely sustain physical activity. As you exercise, your body produces heat. This heat leaves your body as you perspire, taking with it electrolytes — elements, such as potassium, calcium, sodium and chloride. If you don't replace the fluid you lose during exercise, your heart rate increases and your temperature rises, putting you at risk of dehydration as well as compromising your workout.
To stay well hydrated during exercise, the American College of Sports Medicine recommends that you:
Drink enough fluid to balance your daily fluid losses. You'll likely need more on days when the temperature and humidity are high.
Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.8 liters) of water before your workout.
Drink roughly 2 to 3 cups (0.5 to 0.8 liters) of water after your workout for every pound (0.5 kilogram) of weight you lose during the workout.
Drink about 1 cup (0.25 liters) of water every 15 to 20 minutes during your workout. You may need more the larger your body is or the warmer the weather is.
Water is generally the best way to replace lost fluid, unless you're exercising for more than 60 minutes. In that case, sip a sports drink to help maintain your electrolyte balance and give you a bit more energy from the carbohydrates in it. The sodium in sports drinks also helps you rehydrate more quickly.
The squat is a great functional exercise that works the lower body. To do a squat, stand with your feet slightly greater than shoulder-width apart and your toes pointing ahead. Slowly descend, bending through the hips, knees and ankles. Stop when your knees reach a 90-degree angle. Then return to the starting position. Keep your back in a neutral position, make sure that your knees stay centered over your feet on the way down, and don't let your knees roll inward or outward. If you can't bend your knees to a 90-degree angle, simply go as low as you can. For most people, one set of 12 to 15 repetitions is adequate.
Lunges also work the quadriceps and the hamstring muscles in the thigh, the gluteal muscles in the buttock, and to a lesser extent, the lower leg muscles. To do a stationary lunge, start by standing up comfortably. Step ahead with one foot and lean forward until your knee reaches a 90-degree angle and your rear knee is parallel to the ground. Then return to the starting position. Keep your back in a neutral position, make sure that your knee doesn't go beyond your toes and that your knee stays centered over your foot. Do as many repetitions as you can, depending on your fitness level. Stop when you're fatigued or your form begins to suffer. For variety, try forward/back, diagonal, rear, or traveling lunges. Any kind of lunge is an excellent way to tone, shape and strengthen the entire lower body.
The push-up works the pectoral muscles, which are the muscles in the front of the chest wall. The push-up also works the triceps muscles, which are the muscles in the back of the upper arm. The push-up can be a great core stability exercise if performed properly. Position yourself on your hands and toes with your eyes facing the floor. Place your hands slightly greater than shoulder-width apart and your feet comfortably apart. Contract your abdominal muscles, bend your elbows and lower your chest until your chin reaches the ground, then return to the starting position.
You can put a bar between two stable chairs. Place two chairs about 2 ½ feet apart and place the bar firmly on them. Lie on your back between the chairs and take an underhand grip with your hands shoulder width. (Your palms face you). Pull your chest up to the bar while keeping your body rigid so your heels are the only thing in contact with the floor at the top of the movement. Go slow and exhale as you lift. You may need to bend your knees to make it easier.
The plank strengthens the muscles in your abdomen and back, which helps to stabilize the spine. Lie on your belly with your elbows under your shoulders, forearms flat, palms down. Lift your body off the floor till you are resting on your forearms and toes. Contract your abdomen to hold yourself in place. Keep the body long, don’t sag or pike up. Build up to holding for 60 seconds.
A super effective core exercises! Lie on your back, feet slightly off the floor, knees and hips bent to 90 degrees, hands behind your head, shoulders lifted off the floor. Bring your armpit toward the opposite knee while extending the other leg, rotate to the other side keeping shoulders off the floor and the extended leg a couple inches off the ground.
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