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Health Fitness
A regular exercise plan is essential to a health fitness program.  Exercise is good for the body and the mind.  A good workout causes the brain to produce endorphins, chemicals which give a person a feeling of well-being.  It improves sleep and fends of mild depression.  A health fitness plan improves self-esteem and gives a person a sense of accomplishment.  Exercise burns stored calories and causes your body to be toned and fit.  A health fitness program decreases the chances of developing Type II diabetes and high blood pressure.  Exercise also helps a person avoid some pitfalls of aging, such as osteoporosis.  

There are many variations of exercise which will contribute to a health fitness program--aerobic exercise, strength training, flexibility training, yoga, and others.

Aerobic exercise primarily exercises the heart.  The heart pumps blood hard and sends oxygen to muscles.  Regular aerobic exercise makes the heart stronger and more efficient.  Team sports such as swimming, basketball, soccer, lacrosse, or hockey are great sources of aerobic exercise.  Riding a bike, jogging, dancing, cross-country skiing, and skating are also forms of aerobic exercise. 

Strength training exercises focus on certain muscle groups.  Weightlifting is the most common form of strength training.  Other sources of strength training include cross-country skiing, rowing, biking, and the standard exercises from gym class, including push-ups, pull-ups, and crunches.  Strong muscles support bones and joints, burn energy, and contribute to general well-being.

Flexibility training is another type of health fitness program.  When muscles and joints bend and stretch easily, the body is less susceptible to sprains and other injuries.  Flexibility improves a person’s skill at many sports.  Ballet, Pilates, martial arts, and gymnastics are examples of flexibility training.   

One of the most effective and popular health fitness plans is yoga.  A yoga plan for health fitness will stretch your muscles, improve your feelings of well-being, and strength your cardiovascular system.  Yoga may sound trendy, but it is actually more than 3000 years old.  The name comes from the Indian word for “yoke,” which is a reference to balancing mind, body, and spirit.  Additional benefits of yoga as a health fitness plan are that it is easy to learn and it requires no special equipment.

Yoga is a form of exercise, but it also builds discipline of mind and body.  It will encourage the modification of unhealthy habits into habits which will create a healthy lifestyle.  The exercise part of yoga consists of a series of poses, or asanas, which a person performs while controlling breathing.

Various types of yoga emphasize different things.  The active forms improve flexibility, build stamina, and encourage inner focus.  The gentle forms consist of slow stretching, balancing, and deep breathing.  Some yoga incorporates chanting, meditation, and precise poses.  As a health fitness plan, yoga reduces stress and improves mental acuity

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