Agility, endurance, flexibility and strength are the test of fitness. A combination of qualities that enables a person to perform well in vigorous physical activities leads to physical fitness. Healthy people may be physically unfit because they do not exercise regularly. Good health and physical fitness are the same. Individuals who are physically fit tend to be slenderer and develop greater resistance to disease and recover faster if they do become ill. They are more alert and relaxed.
Physical fitness is a personal responsibility. Most people are physically unfit because they simply do not get sufficient exercise. The years between adolescence and middle age are the peak period for physical fitness. Habits that aid physical fitness include getting enough sleep eating properly, receiving regular medical and dental care, and maintaining personal cleanliness. Health can harmed by overeating or eating the wrong kinds of food; smoking; drug abuse and excessive alcohol. Fitness during childhood influences fitness as an adult.
Which is the most “expensive time” spent in the day’s routine?
Is it earning livelihood? Is it the time you spend for religious duties or listening to religious discourses? Is it the time you spend for recreation in a club or a cinema hall?
Is it the time you spend doing social work or carrying out duties for your community?
The answer is : the time you spend on exercise.
Life is too fast. Everybody is on the run. Nobody seems to give a thought to his health. It is high time we said : STOP – THINK- start your exercise today. Push yourself, discipline yourself to do exercises every day for just one month and then you will get into the habit. It must become a second nature to you. Then all the doors of happiness will open, you will live and enjoy every moment of it. The history of exercise goes back to man thousands of years.
In the third century B.C., Brahmin physicians believed chiefly on natural therapeutics (including exercise) for different parts of the body. An ancient book called “Mallayudha” mentions the scope of exercise and refers to the cure by manipulation if something goes wrong while doing strenuous exercises. Believes of the Indian system of exercise like wrestling, Dand Baithak, Mugdar etc find courage from Hanuman and they pray to him for strength.
“Cong Fou” of ancient China was a series of ritualistic postures and motions prescribed by priests for relief of pain and other symptoms of ailments. Ancient Greeks had their God of Health (“Aesculapius”) shrines built all over. There were in fact temples of health. The entire nation including their Kings, used to worship at these temples and keep their bodies fit, trim and beautiful.
The word exercise has taken its origin from the Greek word ascetis. An ascete was the man who exercised his mind and body. They considered the man in his entirety (I’homme tout entire) and emphasised that the mind and body were inseparable. They did exercises to develop their body, listened to good music and went to dramas to cultivate their mind. Those who exercised only to win a prize (althlon) were called athletes. Most of the exercises were done in a state of complete undress. The Greek work for nude is Gymnos, exercise performed in the nude was called gymnastics. Hippocrates, the father of modern medicine, said “the wasting of the fleshy parts” is the greatest in those cases in which the patient keeps the limb up and does not exercise it. Those who practice walking have least atrophy.
Frequent and rapid walks were recommended by him to reduce obesity. He ordered a cautious approach when resuming strenuous exercises after prolonged rest. Getting up early after delivery and walking about following child birth is not a new idea. Primitive people practiced it. In modern times we have come back to the idea of early ambulating and postpartum exercises to strengthen the abdominal wall.
Russian author, SP Bodkin, advocated breathing exercises for those who have suffered a heart attack so that they will not feel short of breath on slight exertion. Facilitation has been instituted as an adjutant to strengthen weakened muscles particularly in hemiplegics. They are useful for regaining control of voluntary muscles. People know how you look, you know you feel. By exercising, your appearance will improve, your sagging abdomen will sink in and your muscles will bulge. Your personality and gait will improve. There will be lightness in your step. You will feel like a new, youthful person.
Your endurance will grow, you will have feeling of well being, your mind will become more alert, you will have less nervous tension. A person has pulse rate of 72 beats per minute. If you take a short run or do vigorous exercise you will feel short of breath, and may not be able to run longer. The pulse at this stage may reach 140/mt. If you exercise regularly the pulse rate will gradually come down. In a week, a month, 3 months, one year you will note a marked reduction of pulse rate at rest. If you take a run or do vigorous exercises you will be able to run a longer distance or do exercise for a longer time before becoming breathless. This means that you are capable now of putting in more hours of work without getting tired. You will not feel fagged out or exhausted at the end of the day. Still a lot of energy will be in reserve for you to enjoy life, since you have become more vibrant, energetic and ready to suck the honey of life.
Most heart attacks and strokes come in the period of emotional stress. This may coincide with a set back in business or even while watching a tense world cup. During stress a hormone, called adrenalin, is secreted in the blood. Due to it, the pulse rate rises, blood pressure shoots up, blood becomes more viscous and blood sugar rises.
If you have been exercising regularly, you can cope up with all these stress signals. Exercising the heart can help you to cope up with emergencies much better. Exercise will make your heart stronger, it pumps out more blood with every pulse beat. The coronary artery of the heart muscles has many branches which are linked profusely by capillaries. During an emergency as the pulse rises, more bloods is pumped, all the capillaries open up and so there is no chance that the heart will have a lesser oxygen supply leading to its failure. The capillaries open up and the blood pressure will not shoot up high. When you exercise the sugar in the blood is burnt up and you are equipped better to cope up with such an emergency.
The blood vessels of a person who exercises, will have fewer fat deposits. Even if the coronary artery of such a person is blocked by floating fat, the heart will not be affected by lack of oxygen. This is possible because of a profuse branching out of coronary arteries and plenty of blood supply through the capillaries in the heart wall. Enough supply of oxygen will be maintained and the heart will not be infarcted.
The food you eat is either used, stored or discarded. When you fill up the petrol tank of a car, it overflows when full. If you eat 2,800 calories every day and use only 2,400 calories in routine work, 400 calories left will be stored. When you keep on storing what is left out, the unused energy, you start gaining weight. You will gain 1 lb. If you store about 4,000 calories. When you exercise, the fat is Converted into muscles, muscles are heavier than fat, so by exercises you may gain weight instead of losing it. But you will feel better and look better. The best way to reduce weight it to combine exercise with less calories in diet.
An old saying, ” You are as old as your joints” From the feel to the head, a human being has many noiseless, flexible and strong joints. The arches of feel have great flexible, strength and suppleness. They carry the entire weight of the body from place to place, tirelessly. A series of small joints in the spine is the most important of them all. Due to their flexibility one can bend, twist or turn and still keep the strength and control over it. These joints become stiffer as you advances in age. You can remain young as long as you can keep your joints flexible with the help of exercise. Yoga exercises (Asanas)are the best for the mobility of the spine. Yoga strengthens the nervous system. The spine is like the battery of your body. If in use, you will keep it flexible. It makes you feel young and keeps all other functions of the body in a firm condition.