1. What is your opinion of your physical condition?
2. Which ones do you think are your most developed physical qualities? Which
ones do you think you need to improve?
3. Which physical qualities are needed for the sport you regularly practice?
4. Do you know any ways to improve your resistance? What about your flexibility?
1. THE BETTER YOUR PHYSICAL CONDITION, THE BETTER YOUR
HEALTH WILL BE
Physical condition is the ability of our bodies to react and to adapt to exercise
Physical condition and health are closely related; good physical condition will help you
attain a better health and vice versa. Your health will improve as you improve your
physical condition. Maintaining healthy habits will help you enjoy a better physical
How physical condition and health are related
If you are in good physical condition: If you are in poor physical condition:
- You will get less tired - You will get tired faster when exercising
- You will have less illnesses - You will get sick more easily
- You will rest better - You will rest worse
- You will have less injuries - You will have a greater chance of
- You will recover faster from exercising injuring yourself
- You will be able to concentrate better in - You will have a more difficult time
your daily activities recovering from exercising
- You will have difficulty concentrating
Health habits can also improve your physical condition. The primary health habits that
affect your physical condition are:
- Maintaining a healthy diet. Proper diet is critical for your body to obtain the
necessary nutrients to perform physical activities.
- Get plenty of rest. A resting body rebuilds tissue and organs and favors growth.
- Maintain healthy habits. Tobacco, alcohol and other unhealthy habits debilitate
your physical condition
- Practice good personal hygiene. Showering after exercising and changing your
clothes often will help prevent illnesses.
- Avoid stress. When you are very nervous, you can not control your stress. Your
body performs poorly and you are more prone to injuries.
2. WE IMPROVE OUR PHYSICAL CONDITION
The chart below shows how the different physical characteristics can affect your physical
Physical Characteristic When you develop it…..
Resistance: the capability to exercise for - Increases the size and thickness of
a long period of time the heart
- Improves lung capacity
- Increases the amount of blood, with
glucose and oxygen, reaching the
- We are able to exercise longer
without getting tired.
Strength: the capability of lifting or - Increases the size of our muscles
moving heavy objects - Improve the growth and strength of
our bones (as long as the exercises
are properly performed)
- Allows you to progressively
perform greater efforts
- If performed correctly, it helps to
prevent backaches, improper
posture, and injuries.
Flexibility: the capability to stretch - Relaxes muscles and improves their
muscles and joints elasticity
- Improves the range of joint
- Strengthen blood circulation
- Reduces muscular fatigue and sore
- Helps to prevent injuries
Speed: the capability to move in short - Improves muscle coordination
periods of time. - Improves muscular stretch
- Improves efficiency when practicing
other games and sports
3. THE HEART RATE: CONTROLING YOUR HEART RATE
To improve your physical condition, you will perform numerous exercises at different
intensities. It is important that you know how to exercise at a level appropriate to your
physical condition. Running, playing soccer and riding a bike are all activities that could
be easy or difficult depending on their intensity. You can determine the intensity of an
exercise by checking your heart rate.
To check your heart rate:
- Take it for 6 seconds and multiply times 10, or
- Take it for 10 seconds and multiply times 6, or
- Take it for 15 seconds and multiply times 4
Areas of your body where you can check your heart rate:
- Placing your hand directly on top of the chest, at the level of the heart
- Applying pressure with the fingers (except with the thumb) on the wrist (radial
- Applying pressure with the fingers (except with the thumb) next to the trachea, on
the posterior area (carotid artery)
The heart rate is the contractions of the heart. The frequency of these contractions shows
the rhythm of our heart. In other words, it is how many times our heart contracts in a
minute. The more intense the exercise we perform, the faster our heart will contract, and
consequently, the higher our heart rate will be.
Children’s heart rates are faster because their hearts are smaller. As we grow up, our heart
becomes stronger, and it needs to contract less frequently. The heart of an adult normally
contracts between 60 to 80 times per minute. You probably have a heart rate between 80
Exercising increases our heart rate. If it is a low intensity exercise, it will increase just a
little, but if it is a high intensity exercise, the heart rate will be higher.
A fit adult usually has a heart rate between 50 and 70. When warming up, their heart
rate increases to approximately 120 bpm (beats per minute). When performing low
intensity exercises, their heart rate increases to 140—150 bpm; and if they perform
high intensity exercises, they can reach to 180-200 bpm. In your age group, it is
normal to have a higher heart rate.
It is important that our heart rate does not exceed 180 bpm; in other words, you
should not perform very high intensity exercises (i.e. running fast for a long period
of time, lifting very heavy weights, etc.)
4. DEVELOPING RESISTANCE
Resistance is the physical capability that you need to exercise the most--along with
flexibility--at your age. Since your body is growing, it will help your heart, lungs, and
circulatory system to properly grow and develop. If you can do this, you will have a
healthy body for the rest of your life.
Advice to perform resistance exercises
- You must continue moving for the longest possible period of time. The activities
you choose must be of long duration but not of very high intensity
- Choose fun sports and activities: playing soccer with friends, riding a bike … These
are some proposed activities
- Control your effort by checking your heart rate. You should not exceed 170-180
bpm. If you exceed this rate, rest for a moment or reduce the exercise rhythm.
Maintain a constant rhythm in your activity
- Pace your effort. Try not to start too strong even if you feel well. You will need
the energy at a later time.
How to develop resistance in your everyday life
You can introduce new habits in your everyday life that will help you improve your
- Walk a lot. Go to school or run errands walking at a fast pace. You can also ride
your bike to perform these activities.
- Do not use the elevator. Take the opportunity to improve your resistance by
walking up and down the stairs
- Play games and sports with your friends. Schedule frequent times to play games
with them. Practice swimming during the summer.
- Ride your bike for transportation. It is a fast and fun mode of transportation and an
ideal activity to improve resistance.
Recommended activities to develop resistance
- Biking. To make it more fun, you can ride your bike with your friends in the city or in
the country. Try to maintain a constant speed
- Swimming. It is recommended to swim at a low intensity for periods of 5-10 minutes
- Practice team sports, such as soccer, basketball, handball, etc.
- Practice sports that involve running for longer periods, such as the 5000 meters, cross,
etc. In your age group it is not recommended to run marathons: it is too much time.
- Dancing. Performing aerobic exercises, ballroom dance or other types of dancing;
dancing at parties with your friends, but always making sure you perform these activities
for a long time and not very intensively.
- Walking. You should walk fast and for long periods (more than half an hour) to
activate your heart. You can walk in the country: it is fun and entertaining.
Plan your activity to improve resistance
We have mentioned that you are at an ideal age to develop resistance. If you only
exercise once in a while or only during the physical education classes, your resistance
will improve very little.
You can develop a “training journal” in which you should include all the activities that
will help you to improve resistance. Next, we will suggest an example of this journal in
which you can annotate all your activities performed during the week. The more
activities you perform, the more your resistance will develop.
Mondays Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday Sunday
Swimming Jockey Swimming Riding the Jockey Soccer
game in bike to run game in game with
PE errands PE my
Walk to Running Walking to Running Walking Biking
school in PE school. in PE to school. with my
Soccer Dancing friends
game with with my
my friends friends
How to test that my resistance has improved.
- You will get less tired when exercising. Physical activities that used to be hard will
become easier, and you will find yourself less tired when you finish these activities.
- You will be able to perform activities for a longer period of time. Playing a soccer
game, running, biking; you will be able to enjoy these activities for a longer period
of time without getting tired.
- You will have a lower heart rate. Your heart will become stronger as your
resistance improves, and it will need to beat less frequently to send the same
amount of blood to the muscles. In this way, your heart rate will be lower when
performing physical activities. This indicates your heart is growing and that it is
Tests to evaluate your resistance level
There are different tests to find out your level of resistance. The most common one is the
Cooper test. It consists in running for 12 minutes in a flat surface and measuring the
distance you are able to run.
You can also use other tests such as running 1000 meters, swimming 200 meters or
biking 2000 meters.
4.1 Running or other aerobic activities
This is an easy and effective way to improve your resistance. It consists of progressively
increasing our running time. You must take these characteristics under considereation:
- maintain a constant rhythm
- Do not go over 170-180 bpm. Trained people ususally keep a heart rate between
- Breathing rate must be constant and comfortable
- Increase little by little the running time or distance
Ways to improve your running
To improve your resistance, you should increase the amount of your running time. We
recommend three ways:
- Increase the running time. Each day add between 2 and 5 minutes to the total time
- Increase the distance. Each day run between 500 and 1000 meters more than the
- Combine running with calisthenics. This is combining 3 to 5 minutes of running
with exercises such as jumping, abdominals, etc… between each period of running.
Take a look at the following examples we propose
Increasing time Increasing distance Combining running with
Day 1 Run 10 minutes Run 1000 meters Run 3 periods of 3 minutes with
one exercise between periods
Day 2 Run 13 minutes Run 1500 meters Run 4 periods of 3 minutes with
one exercise between them
Day 3 Run 15 minutes Run 2000 meters Run 4 periods of 3 minutes with
2 exercises between them
Day 4 Run 18 minutes Run 2500 meters Run 4 periods of 4 minutes and
perform one exercise between
Day 5 Run 22 minutes Run 3000 meters Run 4 periods of 4 minutes and
perform 2 exercises between
Day 6 Run 22 minutes Run 3500 meters Run 4 periods of 3 minutes and
perform 3 exercises between
You can substitute running for biking or swimming, keeping in mind that to produce a
similar effect, you must follow these rules:
- perform more than twice the distance biking
- perform half the distance swimming
Recommendations to run properly
- Always run at a comfortable rhythm. You should never finish excessively tired.
The important thing is not to run very fast; the important thing is to progressively
increase your running time without stopping, and feeling less tired every time. If
you are not able to talk while running, you are running too fast.
- Control your rhythm by checking your heart rate. It is not appropriate that your
heart rate goes above the 170-180 bpm
- Maintain a regular and comfortable breathing rate
- Try to run relaxed. It is important that your arms do not exaggeratedly move
toward the sides; they should accompany the movement of the legs. Your steps
should not be too long, and you should keep your body straight
- You should run on soft surfaces, such as on grass. Avoid areas with high levels of
- You should run regularly. To improve resistance it is not enough to run
occasionally. It is important to run on regular basis, every two or three days.
- You can listen to music while you run to entertain your mind
- When you finish running and, in general, when you finish any exercise activity, do
not sit or lay down because this will cause a sudden change of pressure to your heart
and arteries. Additionally, if you continue moving, or remain standing for a while
after exercising, you will avoid sore muscles the next day.
- When you finish running, perform stretching exercises. Your muscles will recover
and it will prevent sore muscles.
Clothing appropriate for running
- It should be comfortable and free of wrinkles
- You must be careful with clothes that cause skin irritation in the groin area. Sweats
that are too tight can easily produce it.
- Clothing materials must be natural, prevent skin rashes, and permit transpiration
- Socks should be made of wool or cotton. Watch out for wrinkles! They can
produce skin rashes and blisters
- Elastics are highly recommended, especially in cold weather: they maintain contact
with the skin but without oppressing it, they are light weight, maintain the
temperature of the skin, permit transpiration, and usually do not get wrinkles.
- The running shoes are the most important element: they must be light and flexible,
made of an impact absorbing material. The show sole must have a design that will
adhere to the ground. You must were your shoes tight enough to keep the feet in
As a general rule, you must protect your body from cold weather, but not excessively.
Keep in mind that when you run, your body produces heat; and excessive clothing may
bother you after running for a while. Perform warm up exercises with extra clothing, and
then remove it once you start running. After running, wear your extra clothing again to
prevent you from getting cold.
4.2 Recovery after a resistance workout
When you finish a workout session in which you worked hard, your body is tired. You can not
repeat the session in 5 minutes, or even in an hour… how much time should be allowed before
you can exercise feeling in perfect condition?
The time that you must allow between one training session and the next is called period of
recuperation. During this time, your body recovers from the effort performed and gets ready to
start training in good condition.
This period of time depends fundamentally on the age and the fitness level of the individual. But
in general, it is related to the type of physical activity performed and the physical capability we
are trying to develop.
Since the time we need to recover from aerobic resistance training is 24 hours, we can exercise
daily; however, in your age group 3 or 4 sessions per week is more appropriate.
Every time you perform an intense physical activity, you can apply the following principles to
recover. You will notice its effects if you follow them correctly.
Recommendations to recover after a resistance workout
- Once you finish the activity, slow down by performing stretching, relaxation, or breathing
exercises. In this way, your body will recover faster to its normal state.
- Eat properly. When you finish exercising, replace salts and minerals by drinking plenty of
fluids (fruit juices or sport drinks). A few hours alter exercising, you must replenish
energy by eating foods rich in carbohydrates (vegetables, pasta, bread, rice).
- Rest. Sleep enough hours. While you sleep, your body works slowly to replace energy.
- Practice good personal hygiene. A good shower and comfortable clothing (especially
running shoes) will help you feel more relaxed
4.3 Benefits of resistance training
1. Cardiovascular system: heart, blood vessels (arteries and veins) and blood
- increases the size and thickness of the heart and, as a result, its capability to send more blood
with less heart contractions.
- increases and improve blood supply to the muscles
- improves the capability to transport oxygen and nutrients to the muscles
2. Muscle-skeletal system: bones, muscles, ligaments, connective and protective tissues
- favors the growth and strength of bones and muscles
- improves the capability of the muscles to make the best use of their energy and to withstand
3. Respiratory system: mouth and nose, trachea and lung (bronchi, bronchioli, pulmonary
- improves the entrance and exit of the air in the lungs
- improves lung capacity
- regulates respiratory intensity and rhythm
- improves the capability to take oxygen in the pulmonary alveoli and to transfer it to the blood
4. Endocrine system: hormone secreting glands
- favors body growth
- improves body health and performance
5. Nervous system: brain, spinal cord, nerve
- improves movement coordination
- improves speed and quality of nervous impulses
- improves the capability to perform physical efforts
- increases concentration capability
5. THE DEVELOPMENT OF FEXIBILITY
Flexibility is the physical capability that tends to worsen as we get older because our muscles
start loosing elasticity practically from the moment we are born. Because of this, it is important
that you get used to perform exercises for its development every time you practice any physical
activity. There are different techniques to develop flexibility. We will explain some of them in
the next course. The most commonly used and the easiest one are performing stretching
exercises, which you probably have already practiced.
They consist in placing yourself in a position that makes you feel a light tension in your muscles,
and continue to slowly advance, helping yourself with breathing, to make the muscles stretch
little by little to gain longitude.
Recommendations to perform stretching exercises
- Start by practicing the exercises with precaution, intensifying the practice as you become
more familiar with the exercise and as you notice improvement
- Perform soft movements. You must use the correct position
- Stretch both sided the same way
- Do not forget any parts of your body
- Work especially the parts of your body you notice more tense
- Breath slowly and relaxed: it helps to facilitate the exercise
- You can listen to soft music: it will make your workout more enjoyable
- Try to develop your own exercise routine and practice it regularly
- You can take advantage of any moment of the day that you need to relax to perform a
couple of stretching exercises
In pages 32 and 33, you have examples of stretching exercises performed individually and in
couples. Practice them and modify some exercises for others you like better
Benefits of stretching exercises
Flexibility training provides us with many benefits:
- Reduces muscle tension and increase their elasticity
- Improves the range of joint movement
- Improves circulation
- Reduces muscular fatigue and the development of sore muscles after exercising
- Contributes to a better knowledge of our own bodies
- Helps to prevent injuries and to improve our exercise performance
- Improves our capability to relax