Nolan Ryan Fitness Guide: Benefits of Physical Activity
WHY GET FIT?
NOLAN RYAN ON FITNESS BENEFITS
"Being active not only helps you feel good physically, but it gives you time to yourself to sort through your schedule and prepare for the pressures of your day. The better you feel about yourself, the more productive you can be — at work and at play."
No one would argue the value of fitness to overall health. But "being fit" means different things to different people. To the professional athlete, physical conditioning is the vital link to staying in the game. To most people, its more a matter of meeting the demands of everyday life without getting overly tired — and handling the occasional fastball thrown your way.
The health benefits of physical fitness are both physical and mental, lowering your risk for many diseases, while helping to increase longevity and improve your self-esteem and ability to manage stress. Youll be more productive and safe at work, and better equipped to hit home runs when theyre needed.
WHAT IS FITNESS?
There are several components to overall physical fitness. The primary building blocks are cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength and endurance, and flexibility. Other factors include your muscle-to-fat ratio (body composition), agility, sense of balance, and reaction time (especially important for sports).
The most beneficial program for overall fitness is one that addresses each of the primary fitness components:
- aerobics for cardiorespiratory function
- strength training and conditioning for muscular strength and endurance
- stretching for improved flexibility
If that sounds like too much to handle, don't despair. You don't have to do it all every day, and every bit you do, helps. Just start slowly, and build gradually. Commitment is a must, but if you think fitness requires lots of time and grueling workout sessions, you haven't heard the good news...
WHAT CAN BEING PHYSICALLY ACTIVE DO FOR YOU?
Here are some of the specific health benefits of regular physical activity:
Heart Health: Can cut the risk of heart disease almost in half, and also may help prevent major risk factors, such as obesity and high blood pressure.
Cholesterol Control: Can improve blood cholesterol profiles by raising HDL levels (good cholesterol) and lowering triglycerides, another fat carried in the blood.
Muscling out Fat: Improves the bodys muscle-to-fat ratio by building or preserving muscle mass, which, in turn, increases calorie-burning efficiency to reduce body fat.
Bone Support: Seems to slow the bone loss associated with advancing age a major cause of fractures in later life.
Insulin Enhancement: Enables the body to use insulin more efficiently, helping to control adult-onset diabetes.
Cancer Check: By combating obesity, appears to lower the risk of certain cancers, particularly cancers of the breast, colon and uterus.
Aerobic Improvement: Slows the decline in aerobic capacity (the maximum volume of oxygen the body can consume) that is associated with aging, helping to improve cardiorespiratory health.
Weight Control: When combined with proper nutrition, can help control weight and prevent obesity, a major risk factor for many diseases.
Attitude Adjustment: Reduces anxiety and depression, improves self-esteem, and helps you better manage stress.
Reprinted with the permission of the President's Council on Physical Fitness and Sports.
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