Physical fitness is any bodily activity that enhances or maintains physical fitness and overall health and wellness. It is performed for various reasons, including strengthening muscles and the cardiovascular system, honing athletic skills, weight loss or maintenance, and merely enjoyment.
PHYSICAL FITNESS GUIDELINES FOR AMERICANS MIDCOURSE REPORT: STRATEGIES TO INCREASE PHYSICAL FITNESS AMONG YOUTH
Physical activity is critical for overall health at every age, but today America’s youth are less active than ever before. Many settings provide opportunities to increase youth physical activity to the recommended 60 minutes or more a day, including the places kids live, learn and play. The Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans Midcourse Report: Strategies to Increase Physical Activity Among Youth describes intervention strategies for increasing physical activity among youth aged 3 to 17 years.
Tips for Choosing The Right Physical fitness
In general, anything that is good for your heart is great for your brain.
Aerobic exercise is great for body and brain: not only does it improve brain function, but it also acts as a “first aid kit” on damaged brain cells.
Exercising in the morning before going to work not only spikes brain activity and prepares you for mental stresses for the rest of the day, but also produces increases retention of new information, and better reaction to complex situations.
When looking to change up your work out, look for an activity that incorporates coordination along with cardiovascular exercise, such as a dance class.
If you like crunching time at the gym alone, opt for circuit work outs, which both quickly spike your heart rate, but also constantly redirect your attention.
Hitting a wall or mentally exhausted? Try rebooting with a few jumping jacks for your brain improvement exercises.
Physical Exercise for Brain Health
Physical fitness is not only important for your body’s health- it also helps your brain stay sharp
Your brain is no different than rest of the muscles in your body–you either use it or you lose it. You utilize the gym to stimulate the growth of muscle cells, just as you use a brain fitness program to increase connections in your brain. But you can actually get an additional brain boost by donning your sneakers and hitting the gym. The benefits of physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, have positive effects on brain function on multiple fronts, ranging from the molecular to behavioral level. According to a study done by the Department of Exercise Science at the University of Georgia, even briefly exercising for 20 minutes facilitates information processing and memory functions.
Exercise affects the brain on multiple fronts. It increases heart rate, which pumps more oxygen to the brain. It also aids the bodily release of a plethora of hormones, all of which participate in aiding and providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells.
Exercise stimulates the brain plasticity by stimulating growth of new connections between cells in a wide array of important cortical areas of the brain. Recent research from UCLA demonstrated that exercise increased growth factors in the brain—making it easier for the brain to grow new neuronal connections.
From a behavioral perspective, the same antidepressant-like effects associated with “runner’s high” found in humans is associated with a drop in stress hormones. A study from Stockholm showed that the antidepressant effect of running was also associated with more cell growth in the hippocampus, an area of the brain responsible for learning and memory.
The Many Benefits of Physical fitness
Everyone can benefit from regular exercise. Kids who are active will:
- have stronger muscles and bones
- have a leaner body because exercise helps control body fat
- be less likely to become overweight
- decrease the risk of developing type 2 diabetes
- lower blood pressure and blood cholesterol levels
- have a better outlook on life
Besides enjoying the health benefits of regular exercise, kids who are physically fit sleep better. They’re also better able to handle physical and emotional challenges — from running to catch a bus to studying for a test.
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