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Fitness  and  Health

By Steven Wong  


For most of us from the government schools, PE (physical education) was in the school curriculum. So we had no choice but to comply and treat it as one of the school subjects. For the outdoor initiated, the PE lessons were great as it gave many an outlet for all the youthful hormones to exert themselves. For those of us who dread PE (including myself), our main thoughts were more like "what is the use of PE when it doesn't improve our exam scores." We were so wrong then.

Only now, as we approach the middle age do we realized the mistake of not having built up a more robust physique through our younger days to handle the pressures and stress of today's life. However, it is not too late. It is not the end of my life yet. I can still make a difference.

Didn't someone once said, that the glory of this temple in our later days will be more glorious than our former ones. So here I am, writing something on fitness hoping to spur my middle aged body on to greater heights.

The best way to good health is mild to moderate physical exercises. This suits me just fine, because we are so, so busy and time is a precious commodity in today's economy. The least amount of time spent on physical torturing exercises and yet be able to help me maintain a healthy body - will be just right for me.

All I want to achieve is a healthy body. I am not a fitness guru or an exercise freak (sorry for the term used). I enjoy a little bit of laziness once a while.

I like to pamper myself with some pleasures such as fine dining and couching in front of the TV. But I realized that this cannot be the norm or else I will be digging my own grave sooner rather than later.

Do you want to be fit or do you want to be healthy? Hey, I thought that meant the same.

Well, fitness has been defined in relation to a concept called physical work capacity, or how much work the body can do. A person's fitness can be determined in a laboratory by looking at how much energy they can produce on a cycle ergometer when cycling at a specific heart rate, or on an athletic track by looking at how far they can run in a set time. Fitness can also be understood in relation to a number of components including endurance, flexibility, strength and power. You need to be fit to play many sports, including football, hockey and tennis.

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On the other hand, good health is a broader concept that includes being free from sicknesses and diseases, and be in a proper state of mental and spiritual wellbeing.

Normally, being fit and being healthy go hand in hand. But it is not always so. For example, you can be very fit, through playing tennis, but suffer a major health problem such as alcoholism.

When we understand these two concepts and the difference between fitness and good health, then you will realized that actually you need less exercise to be healthy. You actually need more exercise to get fit and to remain fit.

How to be fit? 

Many people have a need to be fit because their jobs or careers demands it. If you are an athlete or a sportsman you need to be fit or else you are out of the game. If you are a soldier or a fireman, you need to be fit because it could mean a life or death decision for you just when you need it the most.

To be fit, you will have to follow a set program of exercise which we call training. Proper training will always take place in a right and professional environment that have the facilities to train you through expert and regimented supervision. Examples of such fitness training are gymnastic training, running, weight lifting, swimming programs etc.

In such an environment, the intensity of the exercise program is varied to achieve the different levels of fitness. It means that if you want to be very, very fit, you need to exercise at an above moderate or high intensity level. Normally, in achieving such fitness goal levels, the individual will undoubtedly also become healthier. However, if you don't want to be fit but just healthy, you don't have to exercise as hard.

How to be healthy? 

On the other hand, if all you want to be is healthy, then you just need a milder level of exercises to be healthy and to remain in good health. Sometimes the fear and anxiety of suffering from heart diseases, excessive cholesterol in blood stream, obesity or mental health problems, propels us to remain physically active.

You do not need to have the same intensity of training to remain healthy as compared to remain fit. You can encompass your physical exercises into your normal routine. Instead of getting into your compact car and drive round the block, purpose to park at a distance and walk all the way. Walk through the golf course and carry your own bag instead of hitching a golf cart or engage a caddie. Perform some simple exercises behind the office desk using isometric exercises when nobody is looking. Do some pushup or situps in between commercials in the TV.

Drink Skinny Sprinkles before a meal to reduce the appetite and cut down on portion sizes

All I am saying is you don't need to torture yourself to remain healthy.

Some active living tips: 

* Use the stairs instead of the lift or escalator.
* Don't use the remote control to change TV channels. Get up from your chair.
* Bring along your jogging shoes when you travel outstation, just in case you find 
some free time for a short walk/jog.

To be healthy, some experts recommend being physically active on at least five days out of seven.

We're increasingly living in a world where we require less and less physical activity in our lives. We have domestic appliances to wash and dry for us, cars to transport us and desks at which to sit and work or study. 

In school we are always told to 'sit still'.

In view of these "bad" technological influences that have stopped us from moving, any physical activity is a health gain.

Not everyone can subscribe to a magic formula on the amount of exercise in order to achieve a benefit.

The right key is to make an effort and persevere. As soon as you move, you win!

If you have no idea at all for keep-fit ideas, consider some of the following?

* dancing - you name the style
* bikes, scooters, inline skates and skateboarding
* ice skating, dry skiing and snowboarding
* gymnastics/tumbling
* swimming
* martial arts
* gym-based activities
* team sports (football, volleyball, basketball, baseball etc)
* walking
* skipping or jump rope
* kites and frisbees
* hide and seek
* dog walking

For young people, you can also exercise and earn money at the same time: wash the car, shovel snow, do the shopping, wash the windows, vacuum or do the gardening.

Cheers to Healthy Living.

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