taken from Wikipedia
The Online Encyclopedia
Physical exercise is the performance of some activity to develop or maintain
and overall health.
It is often directed toward also honing athletic ability or skill. Frequent and regular physical exercise is an important component in the prevention
of some of the diseases of affluence such as heart disease, cardiovascular disease, Type 2 diabetes
Categories of Physical Exercise
- Aerobic exercise
- Circuit training
- Strength training
- Agility training
Sometimes the terms 'dynamic' and 'static' are used. 'Dynamic' exercises such as steady running, tend to produce
a lowering of the diastolic blood pressure during exercise, due to the improved blood flow. Conversely, static exercise (such
as weight-lifting) can cause the systolic pressure to rise significantly.
Active exhalation during physical exercise helps the body to increase its maximum
lung capacity, and oxygen uptake. This results in greater cardiac efficiency, since the heart has to do less work to oxygenate
the muscles, and there is also increased muscular efficiency through greater blood flow. Consciously breathing deeply during
aerobic exercise helps this development of the heart lung efficiency.
Types of ExerciseExercise benefits
Exercises are generally grouped into three types depending on the overall
effect they have on the human body:
o Flexibility exercises
such as stretching improves
the range of motion of muscles and joints.
o Aerobic exercises such as cycling, walking and running focus on increasing cardiovascular endurance.
o Anaerobic exercises such as weight training, functional training or sprinting increases short-term muscle strength.
Physical exercise is important for maintaining physical fitness and can contribute positively
to maintaining a healthy weight; building and maintaining healthy bone density, muscle strength, and joint mobility; promoting
physiological well-being; reducing surgical risks; and strengthening the immune system.
Frequent and regular aerobic exercise has been shown to help prevent or treat serious
and life-threatening chronic conditions such as high blood
pressure, obesity, heart disease, Type 2 diabetes,
insomnia, and depression. Strength training appears to have continuous energy-burning effects that persist for
about 24 hours after the training, though they do not offer the same cardiovascular benefits of aerobic exercises. Exercise
can also increase energy and raise one's threshold for pain.
There is conflicting evidence as to whether vigorous exercise (more than 70% of VO2 Max)
is more or less beneficial than moderate exercise (40 to 70% of VO2
Max). Some studies have shown that vigorous exercise executed
by healthy individuals can effectively increase opioid
peptides (aka endorphins, a naturally occurring opiate
that in conjunction with other neurotransmitters is responsible for exercise induced euphoria and has been shown to
be addictive), positively influence hormone production (i.e., increase testosterone and growth hormone) benefits that are
not as fully realized with moderate exercise.
has been shown to improve cognitive functioning via improvement of hippocampus-dependent spatial learning, and enhancement
of synaptic plasticity and neurogenesis. In addition, physical activity has been shown to be neuroprotective in many neurodegenerative
and neuromuscular diseases. Physical activity is thought to have other beneficial effects related to cognition as it increases
levels of nerve growth factors, which support the survival and growth of a number of neuronal cells.
Both aerobic and anaerobic exercise also work to increase the mechanical
efficiency of the heart by increasing cardiac volume (aerobic exercise), or myocardial thickness (strength training, see Organ hypertrophy).
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Functional training is a classification of exercise which involves training the body for the activities performed in daily
Functional training has its origins in rehabilitation. Physical therapists
developed exercises that mimicked what patients did at home or work in order to return to their lives or jobs after an injury
or surgery. Thus if a patient's job required repeatedly heavy lifting, rehabilitation would be targeted towards heavy lifting,
if the patient were a parent of young children, it would be targeted towards moderate lifting and endurance, and if the patient
were a marathon runner, training would be targeted towards re-building endurance.
Functional training involves mainly weight bearing activities targeted at core muscles
of the abdomen and lower back. Most fitness facilities have a variety of weight training machines which
target and isolate specific muscles. As a result the movements do not necessarily bear any relationship to the movements people
make in their regular activities or sports. Functional training attempts to adapt or develop exercises which allow individuals
to perform the activities of daily life more easily and without injuries.
Both research and anecdotal evidence suggest that functional training
leads to better muscular balance and joint stability, which in turn results in fewer injuries and increased performance.
Functional training for sports
Many athletes equate strength training with bodybuilding; accordingly, individuals involved in endurance or flexibility-based sports do not strength train
for fear of gaining too much bulk and losing flexibility, or mimic the training of bodybuilders without adapting workouts
to their specific sports. As a result, training can lack the performance benefits that strength training could provide.
Exercise is a stressor and the stresses of exercise has a catabolic
effect on the body - contractile proteins within muscles are consumed for energy, carbohydrates and fats are similarly consumed
and connective tissues are stressed and can form micro-tears. However, given adequate nutrition and
sufficient rest to avoid overtraining, the body's reaction to this stimulus is to adapt and replete tissues at a higher
level than what existed before exercising. The results are all the training effects of regularly exercise - increased muscular
strength, endurance, bone density and connective tissue toughness.
Too much exercise can be harmful. The body part exercised needs at least a day of rest, which is why some
health experts say one should exercise every other day or 3 times a week. Without proper rest, the chance of stroke
or other circulation problems increases, and muscle tissue may develop slowly.
Inappropriate exercise can do more harm than good, with the definition
of "inappropriate" varying according to the individual. For many activities, especially running, there are significant injuries that
occur with poorly regimented exercise schedules. In extreme instances, over-exercising induces serious performance loss. Unaccustomed
overexertion of muscles leads to rhabdomyolysis (damage to muscle) most often seen in new army recruits. Another danger is overtraining in which the intensity or
volume of training exceeds the body's capacity to recover between bouts.
Stopping excessive exercise suddenly can also create a change in mood. Feelings of depression and agitation can occur
when withdrawal from the natural endorphins produced by exercise occurs. Exercise should be controlled by each body's inherent
limitations. While one set of joints and muscles may have the tolerance to withstand multiple marathons, another body may be damaged by 20 minutes
of light jogging. This must be determined by each individual.
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