Sunday, February 3, 2008

Going to a Health Club-- A necessity for Fitness?

How many of us have managed to keep our New Year resolution, about losing/gaining those extra pounds, having Sharukh’s 6-packs, or even manage to climb 3 floors, without praying to God, at each step, for enough strength, for the next step?
So, can you get fit only at these attractive health clubs? The answer is Yes and No.

Walking- Excellent for health “maintenance”, almost free of cost.
An aerobic activity, i.e. it helps burn off fat & improve efficiency of the cardio-respiratory system, which forms the basis of any activity.
A daily walk for atleast 30 – 60 min, done continuously, or accumulated over the day (5-10 min activities done 3-4 times over the day), helps to achieve noticeable benefits as well watch your weight.
The human body possesses an amazing capacity to adapt to any stress/stimulus in 6-8 weeks, and hence for continuous improvement, the stress has to be altered periodically .In this regard, walking gives very little scope for variation & progression in walking. Moreover, it is very difficult to control speed.
Pollution – Presence of pollutants like CO, Ozone etc. have profound long-term effects on the cardio-respiratory efficiency.
Even then it is no doubt one of the best forms of exercise & still remains the highly recommended activity for beginners, or special populations (Heart problems, diabetes, hypertension, etc.)
A progression to walking-- Jogging is an extremely high-impact activity, especially done on concrete roads.

Weekend recreational activities like tennis, golf, cricket also contributes to maintaining good-health.
However, such forms of exercise may not be “Specific” to achieve targets like weight loss, control Diabetes, rehab after bypass etc.
Now, focusing on the numerous Health & Wellness Clubs, they definitely offer features like emergency care, expert advice, personal training, etc. but the 2 most important areas where their role cannot be ignored are--
Special Populations—Members with heart problems, Hypertension, Diabetes, lower-back problems, need specially designed & supervised programs.
Aging – Aging has a profound negative impact on muscular strength & endurance, which can only be countered by resistance training, done preferably, under supervision at a health club.
Exercising in a group, with like-minded people promotes better social well being.


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