Health, according to the World Health Organization, is “a state of complete physical, mental and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease and infirmity”. A variety of definitions have been used for different purposes over time. Health can be promoted by encouraging healthful activities, such as regular physical exercise and adequate sleep, and by reducing or avoiding unhealthful activities or situations, such as smoking or excessive stress. Some factors affecting health are due to individual choices, such as whether to engage in a high-risk behavior, while others are due to structural causes, such as whether the society is arranged in a way that makes it easier or harder for people to get necessary healthcare services. Still other factors are beyond both individual and group choices, such as genetic disorders.
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Fitness challenges may seem like fun, but they can really make you end up with injuries. That is if your fitness levels are not at par with the exercise you are performing!
If there’s an important lesson that we have learned during the pandemic, it is that we must NEVER take our health for granted. As we stayed at home to keep ourselves protected from the Covid-19 virus, social media threw up various fitness challenges that targeted everything from abs to legs, and the upper body. Planks to squats, dumbbells to resistance bands – everything and more featured in these fitness challenges.
Are fitness challenges safe?
While they may sound exciting, these exercises are NOT for everyone. It is your fitness level that determines if your body is prepared for a certain workout or not! And this has been confirmed by none other than Meenakshi Mohanty, a renowned fitness expert.
Here’s what she tells HealthShots! “Before starting your exercise, it is always advised to check your fitness levels. A fitness assessment is a set of exercises used to examine your general health and physical condition. These exams involve various standardized tests, some of which are designed for medical objectives and others that determine whether you are qualified to participate.”
These tests are designed to keep you safe and give your trainer the information they need to set clear and effective training goals.
What are some of these tests before you take the plunge into fitness challenges?
The different tests include:
- General health evaluation
- Strength and endurance testing
- Cardiovascular endurance testing
- Body composition testing
Checking your health status helps to evaluate your fitness before you ride the fitness challenges bandwagon. The amount of physical activity you require is determined by your fitness objectives, whether you are trying to reduce weight, or remain fit and tone your body.
“When you begin training without any consultation or consideration of your fitness levels, your body begins to hurt, which means something is wrong. Your body can cope with the pain for a while, but eventually, it will break down. While you cope with the pain and weakness, lack of flexibility will set in, which will lead to bed rest and no training,” adds Mohanty.
The expert explains that injuries can be sustained from various training forms like weight training, martial arts, and sport-specific training. Overuse musculoskeletal injuries frequently occur in runners, while strain and sprain, as well as Achilles tendinitis, are common injuries that occur while performing fitness activities.
“That’s why it is essential to have a fitness assessment of oneself as it helps to identify potential health risks or areas of injury. Also, recording the initial fitness level of the body motivates one to train harder and work towards being the best version one can be,” adds Mohanty.
Here are some tips to help you improve your fitness:
1. Injury can occur at any time, but there are measures you can take to help minimize long-term pain before, during, and after your exercise.
2. Allow yourself to do at least a five-minute warm-up before you begin exercising.
Take some time after your warm-up to stretch your muscles gently. It’s important not to start bouncing directly.
3. It is critical to use the right equipment while training. This includes gym wear and accessories, for example, shoes that are suited for your foot type (high arch, flat foot, neutral foot), as well as comfy clothes and socks. If the shoe is custom-fit to your foot, you’ll need to replace them every once in a while. If the foot platform has worn down, it should be replaced sooner.
4. The importance of cross-training cannot be overstated. One should also consider stairmaster or elliptical trainer and bicycling, swimming, yoga, and Pilates, while working out.
5. It is advisable to cool down after exercise by stretching.
The last word
Your physical strengths and limitations are identified through fitness testing. For example, you may have excellent stamina and endurance for cardio training but lack upper-body strength. Your trainer can utilize this information to create a workout plan that will highlight your skills while addressing your flaws. For everybody’s type and condition, there are different exercises.
“For instance, physical activity can help you manage your asthma symptoms if you approach correctly. Exercise enhances your overall lung health by boosting lung capacity and lowering inflammation. If a person with asthma is not used to exercise like running, jogging, or soccer, having a fitness exercise may be too much for them at once. Exercise should be avoided in cold, dry surroundings. Exercising in cold conditions, such as ice hockey, skiing, and other winter activities, is more likely to trigger asthma flare-ups,” says Mohanty.
Here’s another example: regular aerobic exercise is recommended for people with diabetes. Adults with type 2 diabetes should aim for at least 10 minutes of aerobic activity each day, with a goal of 30 minutes or more on most days of the week. People with diabetes, especially peripheral neuropathy, should avoid high-impact workouts like jogging and leaping.
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