Objectives of Physical Fitness – Ultimate Aims

Filed in Uncategorized by on July 26, 2008 0 Comments

There is a difference of opinion in physical education about how best to bring about the improvement of the human body in structure and function.


In some areas, it is thought that the general use of sports, games, and recreational activities is all that the body requires to bring it to a state of high efficiency and good development. For the past many years, this concept has been the basis for most of our physical education.


Only recently has education become aware of the fact that the desired results in physical fitness have not been brought about by such activities. The results of sports, games and recreational activities have not been adequate to make up for the diminishing activities of daily life for the general population.


There is increasing recognition in education for the necessity of a return to more formal exercise, specifically to improve the body, than our sports program has been able to offer. It is now evident that only specific training methods will decrease the number of sub strength children and adults in our country, and give us the physical strength and power to be adequate for the demands the future will make upon us all.


The general public has been led to believe and does believe that as long as the individual indulges in some activity, whether it be a sport, a game, or a recreational activity such as gardening, hunting, fishing or other activity, his physical fitness needs are well met. He refuses to face the issue and determine what his physical fitness index really is!


If he has occasion to look into the mirror to evaluate himself, he does not see what the mirror reflects. He sees what he wants to see in it. If a profile photo is taken of his posture and shown to him, he invariably says: “I didn’t know that I look like that!” Only then does he become aware of the most evident sign of poor physical condition . . . poor body mechanics.


Then he is confronted with difficulty in meeting general demands of effort, it is easy for him to think the cause is something other than his poor physical condition. Dr. Cureton of the University of Illinois has said that our men of today at twenty-six years of age are middle aged!


That is a terrible indictment of our physical condition! It could be said another way: When we are in our forties, we are old men physically and in our fifties we are deteriorating rapidly. There is no lack of medical evidence to support this statement.


Why have our activities of sports, games and recreation failed to keep us in good physical condition? This question needs an answer, and might best be answered by a consideration of some of the more popular activities in the light of fitness requirements. Obviously, an analysis of all activities is out of the question so we will consider one of the most popular ones.




This activity can be termed either a sport, a game or a recreation. It is by far the most popular physical activity with the general public. Many times has it been said “I am in fine physical condition, I play golf every day!” Many medical prescriptions for exercise are filled out “You need more exercise, you should play more golf.”


From the viewpoint of body mechanics, it is quite evident that golf meets none of the requirements. The muscular action of striking the ball is completely one sided, unless you find a golfer who plays an equal number of holes right and left handed. The use of the muscles is governed by the requirements of directing the ball to the cup, not by the needs of good body structure.


The body adapts itself to the demands of the required effort of the game, not to the demands of good body mechanics. In the right handed golfer, the principal muscles involved are the left deltoid of the shoulder, the muscles of the left arm and both wrists, and the muscles on the left side of the spine.


Other muscles are involved, too, but not so extensively. At one time a lady came to the author with this remark: “Mr. Peebler, my back is deformed! I just noticed it today, What can I do about it?” She was quite perturbed by the discovery. Her back was not deformed at all, but the muscles of the upper back were noticeably thicker and heavier on the left side than the right.


The lady is an ardent and accomplished golfer and the easy prescription to correct her problem was to suggest that she play golf left handed instead of right handed. Such a suggestion would not be followed, so she was given special exercises to develop the muscles on the right side of the upper back to bring the two areas in balance.


Not everyone who plays golf will get such a condition, but those whose muscular systems respond easily to exercise are most apt to show the effects of such habitual use of the body. An individual could undertake the game of golf with “round shoulders” and a “pot belly” and could practice till he became a regional champion and still he would be “round shouldered” and “pot bellied!”


In viewing its effect on the physiology of the body, we find it equally disappointing. The demand of effort involved in the game is a relatively constant thing and is seldom vigorous enough to be a factor in maintaining any reasonable level of fitness. The thought that “Surely the walking is good exercise!” is very universal. Many have the opinion that walking is the best possible exercise. Walking-can be of considerable benefit to most of us, but there are different kinds of walking. The walking on the golf course cannot be compared to the walking up a mountain side. Walking to be of benefit must cause vigorous use of the heart and lungs, which is not required in a round of golf. The simple act of walking has no appreciable value in improving the mechanics of the body.


Golfing does not place any controlled, progressive demands on body function so that the body will become more able to meet the demands of tomorrow, and its degree of effort is not adequate to maintain any satisfactory degree of fitness for most of us.

The game does involve some exercise, for it is a physical activity, but it does not meet any of the requirements to either build or maintain good physical condition! True, it is better than nothing, as is all physical activity better than nothing. Golf is a recreation, not a physical conditioning activity. As a recreation it fills a tremendous need which we endorse heartily, but it has no measurable effect on physical fitness.



For more in depth fitness, read my article: Which Exercise Burns the Most Fat


If you want a lower impact workout, you should read about

Fitness through Yoga


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