In the recent past we have witnessed a rise in number of health clubs, fitness clubs and gymnasium halls, not only in urban areas but also in rural areas. This is partly due to the growing health awareness among all the age groups and partly due to attractive market forces i.e Fitness industry and Dietary supplement industry .These market forces are using market skills to attract people towards Fitness and diet supplements. Younger generation is impressed by sports and cinema celebrities for their good physique and many young people are following their daily routines like going to gym, following their diet and even take supplements recommended by them in their advertisements. Government of India also started a new initiative FIT INDIA to aware the citizens about health and fitness in our country.
Everyone of us aspires to have good health, disease free body and good looking physique and in pursuit of this we either look for Fitness centers or information available on internet through videos and written articles. No doubt they do contribute for fitness but pre planned set of exercises may not be beneficial for everyone. Because whenever we start afresh, earlier fitness level, nutrition status, hydration, gender, age and many other factors must be taken into consideration which are overlooked when we start on our own or join some gymnasium because of lack of knowledge about sports sciences. The trainers in gyms and Fitness centres are mostly not trained from eminent sports institutions like Netaji Subhash National Institute of Sports, Laxmibai National Institute of Sports, National Institute of Sports, etc. where Sports sciences are taught.
In order to have good physique people follow internet based apps/ videos, or fitness programmers of celebrities, without knowing our own body we imitate others or follow the command of gym trainers/ guides having little knowledge of sports sciences. Every human body has its own strength and weakness, their muscle mass, bone strength, range of flexibility…and working of various systems of body which are main parameters human movement. Even in the basic movement of walk, a trained coach/ Physical educationist can easily identify the wrong walking action wherein knee joint must move at particular angle with proper foot placement. Most of the time, we ignore it in early stages and do not make corrective measures which lands us in orthopeadic problems in later stages of life. Similarly bad sitting and standing posture also becomes cause of worry for many if not diagnosed and treated through relevant exercises under expert advice.
Nowadays, it is observed that younger generation is attracted towards gym food/ diet supplements on the recommendation of gym trainers who usually lack the scientific knowledge of a Nutritionist. Since it depends on your health condition and what kind of activity you are doing? There is research based diet plan advised by Nutritionists which shows a certain amount of supplement per KGs of weight should be taken per day depending upon intensity and volume of workout. But market forces have only one motive to earn money so no attention is paid to proper intake and for how long it should be taken? Actually before administering such supplements and gym foods, Biochemistry of the subject should be known, which tells how the energy system is working and constrictions, if any, in the energy flow could be released using physical and psychological techniques.
“Footwears” , we hardly care about them while shopping, but they could be problematic if not made of proper material and sole thickness. Shoes not only guard the sole of the foot but also act as shock absorber for bones, tendons, joints and muscles which get involved in movement of feet. Furthermore, every foot movement, while walking or running has certain pressure points which can be judged through biomechanical analysis and anthropometrical tools which though is used for top sportspersons for optimum performance. We often get problems like Shin pain, ankle pain and knee pain if the proper footwear are not chosen. Biomechanics is the sports science which tells us about human movement and various forces responsible for movement and qualitative analysis of movement. It also suggest corrective methods to smoothen the movement. Through Anthropometry, we know about size , composition and proportion of human body which helps us to understand growth and development body parts. It also tells us about fat percentage of the body and optimum weight according to one’s height using body mass index.
Sedentary lifestyle is the cause of many of physical problems people are facing these days like Obesity, Cervical, Migraine to name a few. Exercise Physiology is the branch of Sports Science tells us that “Movement” is the result of contraction and relaxation of muscles with the help of bones and joints. The weakness in particular set of muscles can be cause of physical ailments/ body pain. There are four muscles in our upper torso , one in front, on chest and three on upper back which are given acronym, SITS muscles , in normal life, especially working on computer or table work, these muscles are hardly used which weakens these muscles. The weakening of SITS muscle becomes the cause of cervical pain. Similarly pain in lower back is result of weakening of core muscles of the body. if we see our skeletal structure’s frontal part , after rib cage downwards there is no bone to support our body , core muscles provide the necessary support. Weakening of core muscles becomes one of the reason for lower back pain. Bad sitting and standing posture are also cause of many orthopedic problems. Exercise Physiology on the basis of scientific knowledge guides us how to strengthen different group of muscles optimally without injury / harm to muscle fibres. Various Sports training methods are used to develop different components of fitness which not only suggest physical exercises but also techniques of recovery from fatigue. Many times people on the advice of untrained guides or watching internet videos do exercises which do more harm than benefits. Some set of exercises may be beneficial for some people but it may not be good for others depending upon the health and fitness level.
Physical educationists and Sports Coaches are the technical people who are equipped with scientific knowledge of sports sciences who can guide people in appropriate way to maintain fitness and to live a healthy life.
(The author is Former Athlete Physical Educationist)