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Total body fitness is an equal ability in three different areas. The three areas are endurance, movement, and strength. The area you concentrate on most depends on what goals you wish to achieve. However, all three areas should be considered when training.
A marathon runner for example, is going to concentrate on endurance training, but still needs to work on their flexibility and strength. Their focus will be on endurance because they are looking to increase the amount of oxygen their body can supply to their muscles.
All oxygen requirements are supplied via the heart and lungs. Endurance training of any kind (like cardiovascular or endurance aerobic work) increases the productivity of the heart by making it a larger and stronger muscle. It also increases the capacity of the lungs and in doing so increases the amount of oxygen that is supplied to the muscles.
Once the oxygen has been delivered it can be used to release energy from stored reserves of fat and carbohydrates. As training continues the heart becomes much stronger and there is an increase in endurance levels for sustained periods of activity.
A weight lifter needs to focus on different areas of exercise. Their focus will be mainly on their strength training and this is achieved by weight resistance work. Muscles must be worked beyond their capacity in order for them to grow.
Weight training is an excellent form of exercise as it can be aerobic or anaerobic. Using a lower weight and repeating the move many times can improve muscular endurance. Using a heavier weight and completing a shorter amount of repetitions can improve strength.
The very least you can achieve from strength training is a more productive life with regards to lifting, correcting lazy posture, tiredness and being easily injured. Strength training increases your metabolic rate and the muscle fat ratio within your body.
Muscle is living tissue and requires energy to be sustained or grow larger. The stronger your body is the better chance it has to fight off injuries as you progress into old age. Weight training has been shown to develop bone density, which can help prevent Osteoporosis, (a degenerative bone disease particularly prone to target older men and women.)
Do not start high intensity weight training if you have a history of high blood pressure or heart problems, as high intensity training has been known to increase blood pressure levels. Always consult a doctor if you are unsure about your state of health and its impact on your fitness regime.
Remaining flexible is another very important feature of any exercise programme. By regular correct stretching it is possible to avoid injury and post work out muscle ache or stiffness. Stretching also enables you to keep full mobility and speeds up any recovery from injury.
It is always important to stretch when working out but it is vital to remember not to stretch until you are fully warmed up. It is best to do approximately 10-15 minutes of cardiovascular activity before attempting a stretching routine.
When warmed up the muscles are more flexible and can be extended much more easily avoiding unnecessary strains. A great way to incorporate stretching and strength is to take up yoga. Not only does yoga develop balance, posture, strength and great flexibility but also calmness and inner balance. This, of course, is another important requisite for the other side of fitness – mental fitness.