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STRETCHING IT A varied fitness routine is necessary

STRETCHING IT A varied fitness routine is necessary  

It's necessary to have a well-rounded exercise routine

Physical fitness is more than the ability to run long distances or lift heavy weights. It is "a set of attributes that people have or achieve that relates to the ability to perform physical activity". It embraces five essential components that define various aspects of physical health.

Most people compromise their fitness regimes by focussing on only one or a few of these components. An ideal fitness regime is not monotonous; it is varied and embraces all these components.

Cardiorespiratory fitness: It is the ability of the body's circulatory and respiratory systems to supply oxygen and fuel during sustained exercise. This is a fundamental aspect of physical fitness. Cycling, swimming, jogging and speed walking raise heart rate and maintain it at an optimum level. Done regularly, they develop cardiorespiratory endurance. Even weightlifters and body builders need to do daily cardiorespiratory workouts to develop heart and lungs.

Muscular endurance: It is related to cardiorespiratory fitness and is the ability of muscles to work without fatigue. A combination of good nutrition and cardiorespiratory exercises like swimming, jogging and cycling achieve good stamina over time.

Muscular strength: Those who do nothing but aerobic exercises - walking, jogging and swimming, end up ignoring muscular strength.

Weight training is the ideal way to build up muscles and bone density.

Even the elderly who feel that anything beyond gentle walking is beyond them should give the gym a try after building up enough cardiorespiratory fitness.

Flexibility: It is the range of motion that a joint can go through and is important for preventing injuries.

Most bodybuilders suffer debilitating injuries because they are not flexible enough, and they end up trying to compensate with muscular strength what their ligaments and tendons ought to be bearing. Yoga and stretching exercises improve flexibility, and ought to be done before and after a workout.

Body composition: A 60-year-old who weighs exactly what he weighed as a fit 20-year-old-soccer player is likely to be physically unfit. This is because fat replaces muscle and body water as we age. More than body weight or body mass index, tests that measure relative composition of lean mass and body fat provide an accurate picture of physical fitness.

Get a body composition test done once in a couple of years. Thin people who are sedentary will be surprised to know how fat they are inside their bodies.

RAJIV. M

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