Exploring Physical Activity and Health

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Part 1 Question 1. Physical activity is enormously positive to our health; there is also some risk too. Risk is minimised by carrying out pre-activity health screening, following health and safety regulations and moderate exercise procedures. Being inactive carries greater risk to health. The possible risks of physical activity can be reduced by having moderate health and safety procedures. Pre-activity health screening is used to detect health problems that may be made worse by exercise and to recognise those who are ready to undertake a programme of exercise. The fitness professional can then discuss a plan specifically tailored for that person. Certain types of exercise can aggravate certain health conditions. People who have existing health problems are advised to have a medical examination with their GP which usually involves an exercise stress test. Exercise stress tests are used to monitor the reaction of the heart to gradually increasing intensity exercise using electrocardiogram (ECG) equipment, which measures the electrical activity of the heart. (Study Topic 3, p138, Caroline Heaney and Jane Goodey). Screening takes place in the form of an initial questionnaire aimed at finding existing or likely to develop illness that may be made worse by exercise. The Physical Activity Readiness Questionnaire (PAR-Q), developed by the Canadian Society for Exercise Physiology is used within gyms, leisure centres and other work places. The questionnaire covers questions about heart disease, hypertension and joint problems etc., in order to categorise the individual’s current health status, past medical history and their future fitness needs. Primary risk factors include high cholesterol, cigarette smokers and hypertension. Blood pressure is monitored because hypertension (high blood pressure) is a high risk factor in the development of coronary heart disease.

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