Monday, July 28, 2008

Body Fitness

By Ferdaus Afifie (Form 3KRK 1)

There's a lot of discussion these days about fit kids. People who care (parents, doctors, teachers, and others) want to know how to help kids be more fit.

Being fit is a way of saying a person eats well, gets a lot of physical activity (exercise), and has a healthy weight. If you're fit, your body works well, feels good, and can do all the things you want to do, like run around with your friends.

Some steps only parents can take such as serving healthy meals or deciding to take the family on a nature hike. But kids can take charge, too, when it comes to health. Here are five rules to live by, if you are a kid who wants to be fit. The trick is to follow these rules most of the time, knowing that some days (like your birthday) might call for cake and ice cream.

Some people hold back from getting fit because they feel self-conscious about their ability or body and want to find an activity they can do on their own, but organised classes and sports clubs can provide you with support and motivation, as well as a chance to make new friends.

If you are interested in football, hockey or other team sports, for example, many local clubs will have several teams of varying abilities, while there are plenty of aerobics or yoga classes specifically designed to cater for beginners. You're never too old to learn to swim, or you can take classes to improve your technique if that's what's holding you back.

But many activities can be done by yourself, and require neither technical expertise nor much in the way of equipment or expense - just your willingness to give it a go.

Here are some of the best, easiest and most popular ways to start getting fit, as well as some suggestions for alternatives, plus organisations that get you started or put you in touch with a local club.

Most of us walk at some point each day but we do it far less than we used to – the government calculates there's been a decline of more than 20 per cent in the number of miles walked since the mid-1980s. But walking is the simplest and cheapest of all exercises, and making it a regular activity and focusing on the intensity or distance covered can greatly increase your fitness.

Walking improves the condition of your heart and lungs (cardiovascular fitness) and works the muscles of the lower body. It is a weight-bearing activity, so it may improve bone density, yet it's also low impact, putting less stress on the joints than some other forms of exercise.

Aside from the health benefits of walking, some of the country's most beautiful scenery can only be accessed on foot, so if you don't try walking, think what you're denying yourself. If you are a novice, go in groups or as part of an organised outing via a ramblers club.

Walking up hills expends more energy even walking down again uses more energy than walking on the flat, but if you do not think you are ready for the hills yet, boost your fitness by walking just about anywhere. You could try power walking in the park, for example: the idea is to walk at such a fast pace that it would actually be easier to break into a run. You burn more calories walking at this speed than you would be running at the same pace.

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