Favourite links on Physical Activity

Outline

  1. General Introduction, Issues and References
  2. Physical Fitness Components: Outline and Basics
  3. Musculoskeletal Balance and Maintenance
  4. Cardiovascular Efficiency and Training

1. General Introduction, Issues and References

How much, and which kind of physical activity you should undertake depends on your current condition, habits, and will. Some attention must be paid to the following issues:

Here are a few books that I like, which integrate explanation, illustrations and exercises including considerations about health, anatomy and training:

2. Physical Fitness Components: Outline and Basics

Physical fitness include a number of different components, which are briefly outlined below, and include:

  1. Joint health, skeletal effectiveness and muscular balance;
  2. Flexibility, agility, skill; (same link as above)
  3. Muscular strength and resistance; (same link as above)
  4. Heart and vascular fitness and efficiency;
  5. Balance, sustained equilibrium (proprioception)

3. Musculoskeletal Balance and Maintenance

Body pain, such as back pain, joints pain, muscle pain, can be prevented through a number of preventive behaviours, aiming at flexibility, stability and balance in the body. Mind the following:

Note that, in order to avoid back pain, hip joint problems, and shoulder problems, core stability is absolutely fundamental. Besides, due to the hight degrees of freedom, the hip joints and the shoulder joints need strong stabilizer muscles groups, which should better be strengthened and balanced.

4. Cardiovascular Efficiency and Training

The main function of the cardiovascular system and of the respiratory system is to produce energy for the muscles to work. Basically, oxygen obtained through respiration is brought to the muscles cells and combined there with sugar (glucose) drawn from the blood to produce energy through a chemical reaction (called glycolysis). This reaction takes place in the muscle cells.

When you exercise, this mechanism to produce energy has to increase intensity. The heartbeat increases and you come short of breath. By training regularly over an extended period of time, you can improve the efficiency of the whole oxygen-based energy production mechanism and improve your endurance. This is called cardiovascular training or cardio-training.

If you exercise with intensity above the capacity of this oxygen-based energy production function (beyond the lactate threshold you come into anaerobic exercise), your body can (temporarily!!!) produce additional energy, and then produces lactate as a chemical by-product, often leading to cramps and muscle soreness. Cramps can be prevented or alleviated to some extent by drinking water and by stretching the muscles involved.

Cardiovascular training, alternating aerobic and anaerobic exercise, is important to prevent heart and vascular diseases as well as to good maintenance for blood sugar levels regulation, and therefore for diabetes prevention.