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Get Fit: The Top Reasons People Exercise

By jaytime46 Nov 01, 2013 1213 Words

Get Fit: The Top Reason People Exercise
In 1936, at the age of just 21, Jack LaLanne opened up his first health club in Oakland, California. Often considered the “godfather of fitness”, Jack believed that the country’s overall health depended on the health of its population. Decades before Richard Simmons and Jane Fonda, LaLanne was widely recognized for publicly preaching the health benefits of regular exercise and nutrition. Today, people state a host of reasons why they choose to exercise, such as alter body composition, for health benefits, and to improve athletic performance. First, exercising to alter body composition is often cited as a main reason for joining a health club. For bodybuilders, increasing muscle mass is the central focus of many structured and disciplined exercise routines. Usually, they include split-routine systems designed to evenly disperse muscles exercised into five, six, or even seven-day programs. Furthermore, a specific muscle group is only targeted once per week. By do so; each muscle gets an optimal recovery period that allows it to properly repair itself, which leads to growth. Acute variables also play an important role for a bodybuilder whose main goal is muscle enlargement. For example, to build massive pectoral muscles (chest), a bodybuilder may perform 4-6 chest exercises that include 3-5 sets of 8-12 repetitions. Repetitions are typically executed using a medium tempo, and the amount of weight used per exercise is between 70-85% of what’s capable. Furthermore, a weight-loss exercise routine is another popular form of exercise. Weight training provides an extremely potent means to burn calories when it is combined with cardiorespiratory training by maintaining, or even increasing, lean muscle tissue. More activity and greater amounts of lean body mass results in more calories burned during exercise and throughout the day. One notable example of a weight loss program that combines resistance and cardiorespiratory training is the circuit-training system. Circuit-training consists of a series of resistance exercises that an individual performs one after the other, with minimal rest periods between each exercise. In contrast to muscle building routines, this type of training is usually performed with much lighter weight and consists of only 1-3 sets with a higher amount of repetitions, usually 12-20. Circuit-training has been shown to be as effective for weight loss as traditional forms of cardiorespiratory training by increasing lean body mass and leaving the body in an elevated post-exercise state upon completion and thus burning more calories even after the workout is finished. Secondly, exercising to improve overall health is another key reason people engage in physical activity. Many doctors recommend their patients exercise to prevent, or reverse, the symptoms of chronic disease. A chronic disease is defined as an incurable illness or health condition that persists for a year or more and that results in functional limitations and the need for ongoing medical care. Examples include asthma, cancer, diabetes, and heart disease. Exercising has a profound effect on the prevention of type 2 diabetes by improving a variety of blood-sugar measures, including tissue sensitivity, improved glucose tolerance, and a decrease in insulin requirements. By exercising, a person with type 2 diabetes has the potential to lose abdominal weight, which can increase the permeability of their liver cells to absorb circulating glucose. Also, a person’s cardiorespiratory fitness level is one of the strongest predictors of morbidity and mortality. It is because of this reason that many doctors strongly encourage patients with hypertension and certain types of chronic heart disease to engage in physical activity. The benefits of actively participating in cardiorespiratory training are numerous and include: A stronger, more efficient heart, improved ability of the heart to pump blood, reduced symptoms and risk of heart disease, improved lung ventilation, and a lower resting heart rate. Moreover, for healthy adults, strength training is an excellent way to prevent age-related conditions. Some of these conditions involve problems with bone-mineral density, muscle mass, and tissue elasticity. Stated simply, as we get older our bones hollow and our muscles become small and inflexible. People who put regular stress on their movement system increase its capability to recruit muscle fibers efficiently and distribute oxygen and blood to the proper areas of the body, to enhance muscle vitality, size, and elasticity. Also, weight-bearing exercise is equally important for the maintenance of bone density and articular cartilage because both are living tissue that respond to exercise much like muscles do. In addition, weight-bearing exercise appears to stimulate bone formation and retention of calcium in the bones that are bearing the load. The force of muscles pulling against bone stimulates this bone-building process. So, any exercise that places force on a bone will strengthen it to increase bone-mineral density. Lastly, athletes from all over the globe turn to exercise with the hopes of gaining an edge on their competition. One way to do so is by implementing a training program centered on the principles of speed, agility, and quickness (SAQ). This type of training is designed to improve athletic performance by enhancing an individual’s ability to accelerate, decelerate, and dynamically stabilize his entire body during higher velocity acceleration and deceleration movements in all planes of motion (such as running, cutting, and changing direction). In addition, SAQ training may help the nervous system respond or react more efficiently to the demands placed on it and enhance muscular recruitment and coordination when performed with correct mechanics. In football, for example, cone drills with maximal horizontal inertia (change directions) and unpredictability may improve a defensive linebackers ability to defend against a Barry Sanders-like running back whose abilities are centered on SAQ principles. What is more, improving rate of force production and power is another way athletes can use exercise to boost their performance. In athletics, power is defined as the neuromuscular systems’ ability to produce the greatest force in the shortest amount of time. Similarly, rate of force production is the ability of muscles to exert maximum force output in a minimal amount of time. Exercises for power and force production involve two exercises performed back to back, the first being a traditional strength exercise, like a bench press, followed by explosive movements using equipment such as medicine balls. To illustrate, an offensive or defensive lineman, whose main job involves repeated bouts of forceful pushing, may perform a heavily weighted bench press set as fast as possible, immediately followed by a set of explosive chest passes with a weighted medicine ball. By increasing the weight and speed of movement as the body adapts to these exercises, the athlete becomes better prepared for the type of athletic event in which power and force production is needed. People turn to exercise for a variety of reasons, such as to shape their body, to boost overall health, or to ameliorate performance athletically. Jack LaLanne died at the age of 96 in 2011 and upon hearing of this news, then governor Arnold Schwarzenegger was quoted as calling him a “apostle of fitness” for inspiring billions of people all over the globe to live healthier lives. Today, exercising is becoming more and more important in an ever growing, sedentary, and technologically advanced society. Exercising with a purpose for some can have transformable effects on the mind, body, and soul. Who knows, maybe a squat or two a day will keep the doctor and shrink away.

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