Which type of exercise is right for me? Is lifting weights going to give me the best result? Maybe I should concentrate on running - that will really help to strengthen my heart. What about yoga - everyone says yoga is good for flexibility. All of us, at one point or another, have had these conversations with ourselves. We're continually bombarded with exercise-related stories on television, in magazines, and in our electronic newsreaders. But many of us don't know how to put the information we're receiving to good use. We don't have a context or framework with which to assess the potential value in these media communications.
Every five years or so a new fitness craze sweeps through the culture. Television news anchors blather on about the latest, greatest exercise programs. Newspapers and magazines publish features in their Sunday sections, filled with pictures of glistening, glowing, glamorous celebrities hard at work on the new routines.
Professional dancers are a pretty select group. These elite athletes are arguably among the fittest people in the world. Dance training provides flexibility, strength, speed, and agility - qualities of which we'd all like to have more. As a result, the dancer's experience provides lifelong guidance for the rest of us as we pursue our own fitness-and-exercise quest.1,2,3
Should I stretch before or after I exercise?1 Should I even bother to stretch at all? These are the questions that every busy adult asks whenever he or she is planning to begin an exercise program. The correct answer to the first question is "do whatever is right for you." Some people need to lengthen their major muscle groups, such as the quadriceps (front of the thigh), hamstrings (back of the thigh), and calves, before they run, walk, swim, and/or lift weights for exercise. For others, it's best to stretch at the end of a workout, re-lengthening the major muscle groups so they'll be ready to help you move through the rest of your day.
Everyone knows that exercise is good for you.1,2 Many people who haven’t exercised in a while (possibly not in many years) want to know whether running will help them get fit. A follow-up question for those willing to take action in the important area of exercise is how to avoid running injuries. The answers to these questions can have a long-term impact on a person’s health and well-being.3