Fitness: what are we talking about? (first chapter)

Sergi Mateu

1 November, 2003

Word fitness has become widespread in recent years but we do not always know what it means or the activities that are included in it. There are people who associate it with a lifestyle and centers that emphasize it as a new way of getting in shape. But what are we talking about really?

The society in which we live and the habits of life that we are accustomed to make are, according to the World Health Organization, between 65 and 80% of the adult population to be sedentary. We do not need to re-insist on all the benefits of staying a physically active life, since everyone knows that they have to exercise but, really, a small group is the one that puts it into practice, discovering how that evil- back, how arterial blood pressure has been controlled, how that pair of quilts has been reduced or how, overnight, it has improved the quality of life making us feel better.

Despite this passivity when practicing physical exercise, it is true that, increasingly, the population in general is increasing the practice. For example, in the two leading Spanish cities in physical practice, Barcelona and Madrid, the 15% of the population already practice exercising regularly (data that approaches those of cities like New York or Los Angeles). The impetus of the Olympic Games and the change in the mentality of the population have made them, in ten years, those who do sport on their own and those who attend a fitness center have increased dramatically.

Fitness as a lifestyle

Mot Fitness has been translated as "being fit", but it is much more than that. There are many opinions there. The most successful and accepted ones are those that ensure that Fitness is a philosophy of life. It is not worth having strong, resisting and high flexibility, but it encompasses the entire body of the person dealing with aspects such as feeding, resting hours, stress levels, lack of toxic habits and all those aspects referred to to improve the quality of life. That's why the term fitness has given way to the most modern and global concept called Wellness, where what is sought is this state of global well-being.

Constant supervision of a technician

With all this "boom" of exercise, fitness centers have had to offer a whole range of motivation, activities to loyalty to their customers, as competition within the sector has also increased.

In the field of fitness, we can distinguish two types of activities: the directed classes and those carried out in the fitness rooms.

In both cases the specialized technicians are responsible for conducting the sessions. In fitness or fitness rooms, users make use of the different devices according to the objectives they want to achieve (with constant supervision), and increasingly increases the recruitment of personal trainers who plan, monitor and follow the entire process. Training (this service is also offered outside the fitness rooms where the coach provides the material to work). The same thing happens with the directed activities, where the technicians develop the sessions trying to adapt the activity according to the needs of the users. In these seconds, however, the activity is group, and depending on the type of choice, the materials and treatment are very different. It seems that people are more loyal to targeted activities than regularly attending fitness halls, perhaps because they are more motivating and group-friendly.

Directed activities

In the field of targeted classes, many new activities (most of them influenced by the United States) have emerged a lot in recent years, which, together with those that already existed, offer a wide range when choosing the " proper activity It must be borne in mind that many times the offer from one center to another is the same, but the diversity of names to call the same activity create confusion and some "fear" when it comes to making a class with such attractive names like Body combat, Tae Bo, Cardio-box o aerokickboxing, which after all is the same type of activity.

All the activities that come to Spain have emerged a couple of years before in the United States, so it has been with indoor cycling, the Body Pump and many others. We can say that we are going to tow according to the modes that arrive from the other side of the ocean. These modes have a strong moment, maintenance and decline if, finally, the activity does not take root.

What we have to clarify is that any activity is not better than another, nor is it the most complete on its own, it is only one way, one more resource, with which we can improve our health and work one's capacity physical in particular It is only necessary for users to choose the activity that best suits their needs and start enjoying them. For example, the "Pilates" method is currently in vogue. Some people claim that it is the best exercise, but we must be careful with the "modes" and ask the sports professionals if that activity is the best for each case. In this particular case, if what you are looking for is a reduction in body fat or improve cardiovascular resistance, it would not be the best activity, since you should choose a cadium, such as aerobics or indoor cycling.

All the activities pursue the common objective that is to improve the quality of life of the practitioners creating a habit of regular physical practice. This can be achieved by working or combining activities of one or more family.

Throughout a series of three articles, we will explain in detail the three great families where we can encompass all the activities that exist in the market: cardiovascular, toning and control activities and body awareness (sweet gymnastics).

the author

Sergi Mateu

Responsible for fitness of Claror Marítim

Specialized Teacher in Physical Education (MEF), Bachelor of Physical Activity and Sports Sciences (LCAFE), Master of indoor cycling instructor (Keizer), Pilates Instructor and Personal Trainer.

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