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Chapter 2: Literature Review – Improving Overall Fitness.



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Upon meeting our
client for the first time, we gave her a set of questions to find out what she
wanted to get out of the Kick Start Programme. Our client wanted to work on:


a Healthy Diet.



Core Strength.


The combination of
these factors would lead to, not only improved fitness but the overall feeling
of wellbeing and the elation of seeing and feeling a difference in the client’s
health and fitness. Our client is also looking for a way to stay motivated even
after the 6 week program has come to its conclusion.  We believe that this should be an overall
goal for any person, to pick up a physical activity of sorts and be motivated
to continue doing it by teaching them, not just the fundamentals but all the
benefits associated with healthy living. The following literature was reviewed
based on how important it was for developing this lifestyle intervention for
our client. 


1.0 Aerobic Fitness:


Aerobic exercise is described as an activity that uses large muscle
groups such as the leg muscles and core etc. can be maintained continuously at
a good pace and that has a rhythm to it for example running and rowing. It can
also be defined as exercise that increases the need for oxygen to help maintain
the intensity of the exercise. Aerobic exercise also goes by terms such as: cardiovascular
exercise, cardio-respiratory exercise and cardio. (ASCM)

Don’t take the
elevator, take the stairs. There is truth in this saying. Even climbing a few
flights of stairs is considered as aerobic fitness. Other activities that may
be partaken in, and that are a bit more interesting than climbing stairs
include dancing, both land and aqua aerobics and cycling to name but a few.


1.1 Benefits of Aerobic Fitness:


Aerobic exercise
strengthens your heart and lungs which is beneficial towards a healthier
lifestyle.  During exercise, the muscles
that are in use need more oxygen-rich blood to fuel the muscle. This in turn gives
off carbon dioxide and other waste products which are bad for the body. As a
result, your heart has to beat faster to keep up. If we implement a successful
aerobic plan into our fitness regimen then the biggest benefit that we gain is
the ability to meet the muscles’ demands without much effort. Anyone can
benefit from aerobic exercise it doesn’t matter what age or body type they are.
Some of these benefits include:

Reduces body fat and improves weight control.

Reduces resting blood pressure (systolic and diastolic).

Increases HDL (good) cholesterol.

Decreases total cholesterol.

Improves glucose tolerance and reduces insulin resistance.

Decreases clinical symptoms of anxiety, tension and

Increases maximal oxygen consumption (VO2 max).

Improves heart and lung function.

Increases blood supply to the muscles.

Enhances your muscles’ ability to use oxygen.

Lowers resting heart rate.

Increased threshold for muscle fatigue (lactic acid

(CDC, 1999)



1.2 Types of Aerobic Exercises:


Aerobic Exercises
are defined as any type of exercise that can cause the heart rate to increase.
Some of these exercises include circuit training, jogging, skipping rope,
cycling, rowing, kick boxing and swimming.


1.3 Aerobic Capacity:


Aerobic capacity is
defined as the capacity at which the heart, lungs and blood vessels can train
at. This is done by testing the amount of oxygen consumed by the body during
fast and upbeat exercises for example the beep test.  (Helge Hebestreit, 2008). Aerobic capacity
can be measured by a VO2 max test. This is done by placing someone on a
treadmill or spinning bike and placing a face mask on them which helps measure
the volume and gas concentrations of inspired and expired air. The client
starts of at a slow pace and pushes to exhaustion. This gives an accurate
reading of the client’s maximum heart rate.


1.4 The FITT Principle:


One of the best ways
people can implement aerobic training into a fitness regimen is to follow the
FITT Principle. Once they understand the basic ingredients of planning a
workout, it becomes a lot easier to actually start moving those muscles.


FITT is broken up
into 4 parts:


Frequency – How often you exercise (e.g./ 3 times a week, 5 times  a week, everyday)

Intensity – The amount of effort put into each session, or in simple
terms mild, moderate of high intensity ( measured as a percentage of maximum
heart rate for your age)

Time – How long can you train per session ( based on intensity and type
of exercise and availability of time for you)

Type – Whether you plan to do aerobic exercise or weights or both and
the specific type of exercise. (Chockalingam, 2013)





2.0 Healthier Diet


The connection
between the foods we eat and our functional capacity has been the subject of
considerable interest for at least 3000 years. One of the first accounts of how
meat might influence muscular work was recorded in Greece around the 5th
century BC. The normal diet of the time was vegetarian but two athletes turned
carnivorous and the result was an increase in body bulk and weight. Thereafter,
the belief that meat would make up for loss of muscular substance during heavy
work gained considerable ground. (W.Dick, 2014). Nutrients are consumed through the
food that we eat which in turn fuels the body (Michael J Gibney, 2009)



2.1 The Benefits of a Healthy Diet:


The combination of a
healthy diet and exercise gives rise to an overall increase in personal
wellbeing. The benefits of a healthy diet consists of:


and minerals in the diet are vital to boost immunity and healthy development,

A healthy diet can protect the human
body against certain types of diseases like flus and winter cold and in
particular non communicable diseases such as obesity, diabetes,
cardiovascular diseases, some types of cancer and skeletal conditions can
be kept at bay with a healthy diet. (WHO, 2017)


2.2 Determinants of unhealthy eating:


Poor eating habits
include under- or over-eating, not having enough of the healthy foods we need
each day, or consuming too many types of food and drink, which are low in fibre
or high in fat, salt and/or sugar.

These unhealthy
eating habits can affect our nutrient intake, including energy (or kilojoules)
protein, carbohydrates, essential fatty acids, vitamins and minerals as well as
fibre and fluid.

Poor nutrition can
severely damage day to day health and greatly reduce the ability to lead an
enjoyable and active life. In the short term, poor nutrition can contribute to
stress, tiredness and our capacity to work, and over time, it can contribute to
the risk of developing some illnesses and other health problems such as:

Being overweight or obese.
Tooth decay.
High blood pressure.
High cholesterol.
Heart disease and stroke.
Type-2 diabetes.
Eating disorders.

(Health, 2012)


2.3 Obesity in Ireland:


The biggest
determent to unhealthy eating is obesity. Obesity in Ireland in particular has
been on the rise for a number of years. In 1975, one in every 100 Irish
children was obese. In 2017 it’s one in every 10 children. Obesity can lead to
serious health issues such as diabetes. Type 2 diabetes occurs when a person’s blood
sugar levels are above normal. High blood sugar leads to complications like heart
disease, kidney disease, stroke, amputation, and blindness (Diseases, 2015). One of the main reasons why obesity is
so prevalent in children is due to the contributing factors. Research has shown


4 out of
5 children in the Republic of Ireland do not meet the guideline of 60 min per
day of physical activity.

children do not meet the dietary recommendations for a healthy diet, often
indulging on processed foods and high fat snacks.

1/5 of
the energy intake from a child’s diet is take from the consumption of sugary
drinks, biscuits, confectionary, chocolate and cake which are readily available
in the majority of households.

children in Ireland watch an average of 2 hours of television a day with 34% of
children having a TV in their bedroom which is a very bad lifestyle. (Food, 2017)


Apart from
developing into overweight or obese children, these same children can also
suffer from short term effects such as breathing difficulties, problems with bone
health and psychological & social issues. It has been shown that obese
children are at a higher risk to become obese adults.  To combat the rising obesity problem not just
in Ireland but the rest of the world, there are several goals people can help
achieve, most notably reducing the amount of time spent being sedentary. Even
just by supplementing this factor with joining a sports club etc. improvements
can already be seen.


















3.0 Physical Literacy


Physical literacy is
best understood as the motivation, confidence, physical competence, knowledge
and understanding to value and/or take responsibility for engagement in
physical activities for life (Whitehead,
Similarly the benefits of physical literacy aren’t limited to physical health.
It also improves academic performance, cognitive skills, mental health,
psychological wellness, social skills, and healthy lifestyle habits. (Life, 2013)


3.1 Why is Physical Literacy important?


There are a vast
array of aspects involving physical literacy some of these including theories
such as a person’s physical literacy journey is unique to only themselves. No
two people are the same so it makes sense to highlight the uniqueness of
oneself. Other theories highlighted by Margaret Whitehead include:

Everyone can be physically literate as
it is appropriate to each individual motivation.
Physical literacy is relevant and
valuable at all stages and ages of life.
The concept embraces much more than
physical competence.
At the heart of the concept is the
motivation and commitment to be active.
The disposition is evidenced by a love
of being active, born out of the pleasure and satisfaction individuals
experience in participation.
A physically literate individual values
and takes responsibility for maintaining purposeful physical pursuits
throughout the life course.
Charting of progress of an individual’s
personal journey must be judged against previous achievements and not
against any form of national benchmarks (Whitehead, 2010)


Physical Literacy is
ideally introduced to children at a young age. Skill acquisition was narrowed
down to 13 fundamental skills for children to become physically literate. These
skills are broken into 3 sets:


The Locomotor Body










The Sending Skills:









The Receiving




These skills will
take a child through a series of developmental and cognitive stages that the
child will experience to master that particular skill (I Balyi, 2005). Without the
acquisition of one or more of these skills, it could impact any sport or
activity that they wish to partake in in later life.


3.2 Why Do Adults Need Physical Literacy?


Physical literacy is
important when it comes to fitness. Learning how to work out properly for
example how to squat correctly is fundamental for a healthy body. Continued use
of an incorrect posture could lead to injury and serious injuries. All people,
young and old need to achieve at least the minimum level of physical literacy
to gain the many benefits throughout the course of their life. Many of the
careers in the world today require a high level of physical fitness and
physical literacy for example people who work in construction and military
personal (A.M.Sharp, 2013). A person’s capacity of physical
literacy plays a part in the day to day activities especially in older adult.
If older adults remained fit and to a degree active in their later life than
they would be able tasks such as showering themselves and getting around
without the need of an aid (Centre, 2011).


4.0 Conclusion:


With the research
that we have completed for this part of the project, we feel that we can
accurately design a lifestyle intervention for our client. Personal training is
not just showing a client what to do in a gym but it’s about instilling in them
the knowledge that will sustain them even after this 6 week course has been
completed. We feel that we have acquired enough information to answer any
questions that our client might have. 

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