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Basic Principles of Physical Fitness

Any list of the benefits of physical activity is impressive. A physically active lifestyle helps you generate more energy, control your weight, manage stress, and boost your immune system. It provides psychological and emotional benefits, contributing to your sense of competence and well-being. It offers protection against heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, anxiety, osteoporosis, some types of cancer, and even premature death. Exercise increases your physical capacity so that you are better able to meet the challenges of daily life with energy and vigor. Although people vary greatly in the levels of physical fitness and performance they can ultimately achieve, the benefits of regular physical activity are available to everyone. (For more on the benefits of exercise, see the box “Exercise and Total Wellness.”)

This chapter provides an overview of physical fitness. It explains how lifestyle physical activity and more formal exercise programs contribute to wellness. It describes the components of fitness, the basic principles of physical training, and the essential elements of a well-rounded exercise program. Chapters 3–6 provide an in-depth look at each of the elements of a fitness program; Chapter 7 will help you put all these elements together into a complete, personalized program.

After reading this chapter, you should be able to
Describe how much exercise is recommended for developing health and fitness

Identify the components of physical fitness and how each component affects wellness

Explain the goal of physical training and the basic principles of training

Describe the principles involved in designing a well-rounded exercise program

Discuss the steps that can be taken to make an exercise program safe, effective, and successful

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