The Relationship Between Physical Activity and Health

TASK 2 Part A
Discuss the relationship between physical activity and health.

People??™s definition of health varies due to education, cultural and social influences.
But the main definition known worldwide is in order to be completely healthy a person must be socially, mentally, emotionally and spiritually healthy as well as physically. I have been taught this through high school in the form of Hauora a Maori philosophy of health and well being unique to New Zealand.

All five aspects deal with different areas. The physical aspect of hauora does not just mean whether or not someone exercises regularly and is fit; it is also about how our bodies move and how we look after ourselves. The mental and emotional health aspect looks at how we think and feel about things. The social aspect is about friends and family and spiritual is about what we think is important in life.

Physical activity can be lots of different things, sports, fitness, outdoor activities such as rock climbing etc. But physical exercise is more specific and is based more on activities that you do in order to improve in a certain area for instance your fitness through running or your strength by doing weights.

Physical activity and exercise definitely have a role in whether or not someone is healthy, but it isn??™t the only thing. Physical activity and exercise can also contribute to a person??™s health and a lot of the time being physically active and fit can also affect the social mental, emotional and spiritual aspects of health. Being involved in a sports team or group for example can influence your social health by making new friends and having a sense of teamwork. It can influence a person mentally and emotionally because of the team??™s performance and feelings when the team is doing well as well as if the person has played well.

This can also work the other way, if nothing is going right and the person
is doing poorly then it will have a negative effect on their health. If this is the
case then physical activity does not equal health. Some of our top athletes
do a lot of physical activities but get injured all the time or some people spend
too much time exercising at gyms and don??™t have time for friends or family.
Health is more than just being physical. A person might eat well and look
after their bodies but not be physically active. They might have a positive outlook on life, have lots of friends, enjoy family life and have good ideas about what is important to them but may not do a lot of physical activity. Does this mean they are not healthy Physical activity and physical exercise can be an important part of health but not the only part.

TASK 2 Part B
What does this mean for me

I see health as a complete state of wellbeing; this includes being physically fit,
eating well, being socially happy mentally and emotionally stable and feeling
good about all of these aspects.

Most of my physical activity comes from the sport I am involved in. Because I am a loose forward in rugby at 1st xv level which is a reasonably high level in my sport my physical needs and requirements are a different to the average person. The sport that I play requires me to be stronger, faster and fitter than my opposition who if being trained and prepared correctly will be thinking the same thing as me, so a lot of my spare time before and after school and work is spent training with my team to improve my abilities within the game, or going to the gym to improve my strength or going for runs to improve my fitness. Although I am doing most of this for my sport it all contributes to what I want for my wellbeing. But sometimes the amount of activities I am involved in has negative effects on my wellbeing. It makes me tired and therefore I do not complete school work. Also as you can see from my activity log most of my spare time during the week is taken up by training and exercising and this has resulted in me not having time to socialise after school and do stuff with my friends. But not only does this affect the social aspect negatively it also affects it positively because I am making other friendships closer, as the season progresses our rugby team builds stronger bonds and we become an impenetrable family. When we have a team like this it affects other aspects to such as mentally and emotionally. This is shown on the field where we help each other out and encourage one another when we make mistakes, this makes the game far more enjoyable.

TASK 2 Part C
What does this mean for society

I think that a majority of society realises and understands how important physical activity is to a good lifestyle and health. People in society need to be aware of how physical activity
can contribute to health, that it can contribute positively and that it can contribute
physically, mentally, emotionally, socially and spiritually. People also need to
know that physical activity and physical exercise can be different and that you
do not always have to go hard out and that physical activity can be a part of their everyday
life. This is a message that push play gives when it shows different people doing
everyday type activities like walking or dancing. The media is doing all they can to put out the message that physical activity and exercise play an important role in becoming or being healthy. Because at the moment our health systems and hospitals are having to pay a lot for health especially for people with heart failure and disease.

SPARC did some research about why people did or did not take part in physical activity. They identified the following barriers to physical activity; time, lack of encouragement or support from others and difficulty in sticking to a routine. As a result they have come up with
programmes and advertising that try to look at how people can overcome these barriers.

At the moment there are lots of messages about physical activity and health. Most of them are in the newspapers and on the television about children and adults being overweight because they are not eating right and are not doing enough activity. There seem to be lots of people making suggestions about what to do about it. For instance there should be a ban on junk food, advertising, no more fizzy drinks, more physical education in primary schools, push play at least 30minutes a day and so on.

Maybe with all the advertising people will see a need to eat well and be more active but I don??™t think the answer is as simple as that. Most people in society are not properly educated about their health and its only through media messages that they have a basic understanding of physical activity and exercise and how it relates to health.

By Scott Booth

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