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Being fit is central to our health and to our sense of well-being. Health and fitness mean more than just the absence of illness. If we are healthy and fit then the physical, mental, cultural and social aspects of our lives are working together.
This is the level of physical fitness needed to take on the demands of regular sporting activity.
Although we may be fit from a health point of view, we may not have the fitness required to play a sport. There are many types of sports and each has its own unique demands on the body.
Why Do We Need Fitness Why do we want Fitness? Less fatigue Less boredom More opportunity for meeting and making friends Stronger muscles and bones Bigger heart and lungs Improved posture and appearance Greater resistance to illness and disease Improved sleep Improved self image
The human body is an amazing piece of machinery, one that adapts to the stress we put it under. As long as we don’t overly stress our body, it will adapt and strengthen itself too cope. If you run everyday your legs will get stronger and your cardio respiratory system will become more efficient.
Sport scientists have discovered the best way to train and increase our fitness levels in each fitness component. Essentially, we do the exercise that most mimics the action and fitness components we want to train and improve. To increase swimming we swim, to increase strength we lift weights.
Testing the Fitness Components Aerobic Capacity, Muscular Endurance Beep test Body Composition Body Mass Index (BMI) Maximum Strength Grip Strength Coordination Alternate Wall Toss Agility Shuttle run Balance Stork Stand Aerobic Capacity 1.6 km Run or Kasch-Boyer Step Test Muscular Endurance Push-Ups Muscular Power, Maximum Strength Standing Long Jump Speed 50m Sprint Flexibility Sit-and-Reach Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance Speed sit-up (60sec) Fitness Component Test
To be successful at sport we need our energy systems and sporting skills to be at their highest levels. We can reach these levels by training. Training is a regular programme of exercise to improve performance.
Every type of exercise has a particular effect on the body. The type of training that we choose must be right for the type of improvement we want to see. We must use a training programme that put stress on the muscles or body system that we want to develop.
If we want to improve the strength of our arms, then running won’t help: we must use strength training exercises that work our arms.
The body takes time to adapt to more or harder exercise. We must build up the stress on our bodies in a gradual, or progressive, way – by lifting heavier weights or running farther. If we build up the stress to quickly we risk injury or find the challenge too great and give up. If we build up the stress too slowly we may become disinterested or bored and give up.
The body needs time to adapt and recover to training. Our bones, tendons and ligaments may take longer to change than our muscles or other body systems.
To improve the fitness of our body systems we need to work them harder than normal. The body will then adapt to the extra stress and we will become fitter.
We can overload our bodies by training more often, by working harder or by spending more time on an exercise.
Eg. To improve our aerobic fitness by running, we could run more times a week, complete the run in a shorter time or increase the distance that we run. Each of these methods will overload the aerobic system. The aerobic system will gradually adapt to cope with the overload and we will become fitter.
There are many different training methods. They are all based on the different ways our body adapts to regular exercise and include: continuous training, fartlek training, interval training, circuit training, weight training, plyometric training, and flexibility training.