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After going through this lesson, you will be able to describe:
Recognize the difference between physical activity and exercise
Define the four components of physical fitness and recognize the health-related benefits of each
Identify the principles of exercise training with regards to each component of fitness
Identify the Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
Everyone can benefit from physical activity, regardless of gender, age, race and ethnicity, size or
shape. Even those limited by physical disabilities can engage in certain forms of activity and reap
the benefits of leading an active lifestyle.
You’re likely aware of the fact that engaging in regular physical activity positively impacts health. It
reduces the risk of heart disease and stroke, type 2 diabetes, osteoporosis, and some types of
cancer, such as colon and breast cancer. It helps manage stress, enhancing emotional wellness and
decreasing the risk for depression. It increases energy level and improves sleep. Engaging in regular
physical activity also improves one’s ability to perform normal activities of daily living and handle
extraordinary stresses on the body, such as in emergency situations, with ease.
In an attempt to get people moving and thereby address many of our nation’s health problems, the
Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans
were presented by the U.S. Department of Health and
Human Services in 2008. The guidelines are based on scientific evidence linking physical activity
to improved health and reduced risk for chronic disease. They are widely supported and promoted
by other leading health organizations such as the American College of Sports Medicine and the
American Heart Association.
Despite these well-known benefits, though, most American adults lead sedentary, inactive lifestyles.
Research data shows that a large decline in physical activity level typically occurs between the ages
of 18 and 24. Most college students are within that age range. Freshman students tend to engage in
more physical activity than seniors do. Overall, about a third of students are inactive on a regular
basis, and more than two thirds don’t plan exercise into their schedules.
Do you exercise? Why or why not?
Do You Exercise?
Christy: I like to exercise a lot because I like it.
Nicholas: I like to run about a mile, maybe two miles. Lift, swim. Rest, get back up. I usually try to put
in between five to six hours a week just to keep my head going, like my mind right. It also keeps
you around like good positive people. Especially people that don’t need to use substances in order
to be happy.