Dynamic and Static Exercise
DYNAMIC AND STATIC EXERCISE
A capacity for action and relaxation is vital for the movements of the bones and joints. Not only must the muscles be strong enough to move, they must also be relaxed enough to allow the movement.
There is no point in having a super-strong body that is too stiff to move, any more than a flexible relaxed body that doesn't have the strength for movement.
Strength, suppleness and stamina are the prerequisites for health and fitness and, combined with a flexible skeleton, they allow us to engage in all the varieties of activity that bring pleasure to our daily lives.
For those of you who do maintain a balanced programme of exercise, resistance to disease and infection, and prompt recovery if illness or injury do occur, will be much improved.
The body looks well, vitality is improved and relaxation and the ability to relax while active is vastly increased.
Here we look briefly at dynamic and static exercise before looking at specific types of exercise. Taken together, dynamic and static exercises cover all the activities and postures that improve the qualities of the musculoskeletal system and the other major systems that support the life of a human body.
STATIC EXERCISEStatic exercises involve the use of various postures whereby the relaxed weight of one part of the body stretches the soft tissues of another part.
For the body or any of its parts to be moved in any direction, the joints must be flexible and the various muscle groups must relax to allow the movement.
Static exercise gently stretches the muscle fibres and opens the body's joints, improving the muscles' ability to relax in action and the joints' ability to flex and extend.
• Static exercise is introspective and non-competitive.
• It allows you to examine and improve the suppleness of your muscles—the elastic quality that allows them to be stretched.
• It tones the muscles and restores them to the proper degree of tension suitable to a healthy condition.
• It improves the flexibility of the body's joints and in freeing the muscles and joints from stiffness and rigidity. It will vastly improve your body's range of movement.
• It realigns the body's structures and improves muscular resilience—the muscles' ability to return to their natural shape. It therefore has a profound effect upon your body's shape and posture.
• It reverses some major effects of aging, freeing the muscles and other soft tissues of the body from the residues of tension that have accumulated as a result of past physical and emotional traumas.
• By restoring the integrity of the muscles and joints and increasing their ability to function pleasurably through a wide range of movement, static exercise calms the nervous system.
• Static exercise improves circulation, both to the muscles—blood can flow more easily within a relaxed muscle—and from the muscles to the heart by developing the effectiveness of the muscles as pumps for returning the blood to the heart.
• Static exercise improves respiration, increasing the volume of air intake and reducing the breathing rate and consequently the wear and tear on the lungs.
• Static exercise improves digestion by relaxing and developing the movements of the diaphragm and the abdominal and pelvic floor muscles.
• Static exercise tends to make the body feel lighter, more buoyant and adapt more easily to environmental change.
• Static exercise is a vital prerequisite for dynamic exercise.
When we wake from a good night's rest we stretch our arms and legs spontaneously to relieve them of stiffness. This is a perfect example of static exercise.
Dynamic exercises are active and outgoing and often competitive. They include all forms of activities that demand a degree of exertion, like sports, games, dance, gymnastics, martial arts, aerobics, isotonics and isometrics.
Different kinds of dynamic exercise produce quite different chemical changes in the muscles, and can even produce a 'one-sided development' by encouraging the strenuous activity of specific groups of muscles, consequently developing only part of the body.
From this point of view, dynamic exercises that engage the whole body equally and improve endurance are the most beneficial for all round health and fitness.
• Dynamic exercise improves the body's ability to remain active, it increases oxygen-debt tolerance (see page 25), and lowers the body's metabolic rate, thereby conserving energy resources.
Fatigue can be withstood for far longer periods and the body has a greater amount of energy to devote to leisure after a normal day's activity.
• In terms of energy input and output, the average human body is considered to be between 16 and 27 per cent efficient. Dynamic exercise can more than double this efficiency rating.
• Dynamic exercise increases the strength of the active muscles and joints and the strength and endurance of the heart.
• Dynamic exercise speeds up the delivery both of oxygen and nutrients to the muscles and the venous return to the heart.
• During dynamic exercise the output of the heart can increase from a resting value of 5 litres of blood a minute to the maximum of 35 litres a minute obtained by trained athletes. With the increase in output per beat the heart rate lessens and this reduced number of beats saves the wear and tear on the heart.
• Dynamic exercise strengthens respiration, it improves the efficiency of the oxygen and carbon dioxide exchange in the lungs and increases the number of red blood cells that carry the oxygen in the blood.
• Dynamic exercise stimulates the appetite and the digestive system.
• Dynamic exercise improves the removal of the body's wastes via the digestive system, via bodily secretions and via the increase in respiration.
• Dynamic exercise improves our responses and, as the nervous and musculoskeletal systems become more coordinated, so mental and perceptual alertness is sharpened, nervous tension is released and emotional illness is averted.
EXERCISE AND NUTRITIONFor those who maintain a regular system of exercise or training programme, or who regularly practise sports, games and athletics, the foods you eat must be sufficient in quality and quantity to meet the energy expenditure of your body.
During exercise, extra demands are placed upon the body's fuel stores and its reserves of fluids and nutrients are easily depleted.
Regular meals are especially important to your performance and these should contain plentiful amounts of the kinds of nutrients that sustain your particular activity.
For example, endurance sports like running and cycling need foods rich in carbohydrate and protein that can maintain energy by keeping the blood sugar level constant. This is important for both the activity of the brain and the activity of the muscles.
If the blood sugar level drops during exercise, loss of concentration and coordination results, you become prone to errors of judgment, and mental and physical fatigue develops.
In contrast, weight training demands food containing more tissue building elements like protein and vitamins. In order to develop the muscles weight training first breaks down muscle tissue, using them as an energy store.
The body then overcompensates when replacing this tissue,laying down larger amounts of muscle to meet the increasing requirements for strength.
Useful tipsThe best sources of nutrients are always natural foods. In this form other elements are also ingested in the meal, assisting the absorption and potency of the regular nutrients.
Refined foods are often digested very slowly and this can drain your body's resources.
Do not eat for about three hours before exercising. During exercise the blood supply to the stomach ceases and digestion is suspended. Any undigested food in the gut will just stagnate, and may even make you feel sick.
As protein takes longer to digest than other nutrients, any meal taken before exercise should be rich In carbohydrate and low in protein. However, make sure that this is balanced by taking in more protein in the meal eaten after your exercise.
As the muscles burn energy during activity, so the body gets hotter and sweats in order to cool itself down. If adequate fluid is unavailable, the body overheats and its performance deteriorates. Fluid is thus especially important in the diet, and extra fluid should be taken to provide for any extra activity and to replace what is used.
To do this the daily fluid intake should be increased gradually and a little fluid, like fruit juice with water, can be taken about half an hour before exercising and if possible sipped during exercise.
• Fresh fruit and vegetables, eaten either raw or lightly cooked, are an excellent source of vitamins, minerals and fibre.
ObesityObesity comes from the Latin word obesus meaning 'having made oneself fat by overeating'. This does not always strictly apply in adolescence though; fatness is often due to 'puppy fat' that disappears with maturity.
There are also some individuals who are prone to obesity through the misguided nutritional values of their household. True obesity is actually a form of malnutrition caused mainly by the eating of fatty, sugary, high-energy foods that are converted to body fat due to the lack of physical exercise.
The health hazards of obesity are numerous, and some of them are serious. They include poor respiration, fatigue, bronchitis, and serious heart and circulatory diseases.
Obesity has reached such proportions in the Western world that every year some one-third of its population goes on a diet. Every school has its share of overweight students and it is not uncommon to find amongst them individuals who eat merely to relieve their emotional anxiety rather than their hunger.
Quite often this instigates a situation where the more obese the individual gets the more anxious they get about their appearance and the more they stuff themselves. This is often accelerated for the unhappy few by the taunts and remarks of their colleagues.
Sometimes obesity can extend from adolescence to adult life–fat children tend to grow into fat adults– and in extreme cases professional advice and reassurance is well worthwhile.
Obesity is a major public health problem and experts in medicine, biochemistry, nutrition, psychiatry and public health all agree that it should be dealt with in adolescence through proper exercise and nutritional advice.
Changing to better eating habits can prevent and curb obesity. If this is coupled with a programme of consistent exercise that slowly increases the level of attainment, this will help to give a regular reduction in weight.