When scientists discussed exercise in the past, it was mainly based around exercise for increasing sporting performance. It wasn't until the release of a report by the US Surgeon General on physical activity in 1994, that it was realised that this might not be the whole story. Exercise for sporting excellence, it was discovered, is not necessarily the same as movement for fat loss or good health.
In the former case, the focus is on the intensity and progression of the exercise. In the latter case it has been mainly aerobic activity, or movement, at any intensity. This is understandable as the biggest decrease in activity in recent years has been due to technological change and thus a decrease in general movement from daily living.
This technological change in the way we do our work, travel from place to place and the growth of pre-packaged or convenience foods have increased the imperative for other types of activity in relation to good health: Muscle strength for example, has decreased because many of us have less of a need to lift, dig, chop or carry heavy weights. Flexibility has generally decreased also because there is less need for bending and stretching. It is now essential to not only focus on fat loss (size) for good health and fitness but also other areas such as strength, suppleness, stability, stamina or these may be more commonly known as the 5S's. The information below outlines each essential activity type for good health and fitness
Size: In the lifestyle management context size refers to body fat. This is related to fitness, but not perfectly. It is possible to be fit and fat and activity levels are more important than weight loss in people who just can't lose weight. All you need to do is move.
Stamina: Stamina is aerobic capacity. It's a measure of the body's ability to deliver oxygen to muscles under demand and is a good indication of cardiovascular (heart-lung) fitness. It can be increased by regularly moving at increasing levels of intensity. Stamina is easily increased by simple life changes such as walking to the local shop rather than taking the car, get off the bus at an earlier stop, taking stairs rather than using a lift, riding to work or just for enjoyment.
Strength: Strength is, as it suggests, the ability of a muscle to produce force on contraction. Strength is improved through resistance type activities like weight lifting, rubber straps, aqua-aerobics and exercise machines for example. Strength can also be easily improved by simple changes such as carrying shopping bags rather than taking a trolley, walking up a flight of stairs rather than taking the lift, doing a few squats or push-ups each morning.
Suppleness: Suppleness is another name for flexibility. It refers to the ability to stretch muscles through their full range. Suppleness is improved by simple daily stretching or in such activities as Yoga.
Stability: Stability is the final S, and is important for preventing falls, particularly in older people. Additionally, around each joint there are stabilizing muscles which act to support and brace a joint to prevent injury. Stability is an indication of the ability of muscles and joints to work in harmony in daily movement. Common stability activities are standing on one leg to strengthen the ankle, knee and hip joints. Additionally, pilates is an activity which aims to stabilize the core musculature and support the back.
Any initiative taken to increase your overall fitness and health, needs to consider other types of activity rather than exercising for sporting performance or weight loss alone. If you feel particularly uncomfortable when undertaking light to moderate exercise or you have a condition, illness or injury, please consult with your heath professional prior to starting exercise.For more information on exercise and fitness go to <a href="http://au.rd.yahoo.com/health/lsmedicine/SIG=11fqu1soj/**http%3A%2F%2Fwww.lifestylemedicine.net.au%2F" rel="nofollow">www.lifestylemedicine.net.au</a>.