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What are the potential benefits of regular exercise and what can be done to encourage more people to undertake it? What are the hazards of exercise and what can be done to avoid them ?

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PSY 3820 - Health Psychology What are the potential benefits of regular exercise and what can be done to encourage more people to undertake it? What are the hazards of exercise and what can be done to avoid them ? Student Number - 2117411 Tutor - Brian Evans Date of Submission - 6/5/05 Ancient man has evolved as a hunter-gatherer. In other words, his metabolism is designed to allow for a physically active mode of existence and to obtain nutrition and sustenance from a mainly vegetarian diet. Hunting animals required a certain degree of social organisation, together with the necessary weapons, and living was generally quite dangerous. Both hunting and gathering demanded a certain level of physical activity and so, mans survival depended so much on his remaining mobile, that a broken limb could well have had catastrophic consequences. Exercise was not, therefore, a question of choice, but a necessity to survive (1). In terms of man's basic diet, and the extent to which physical activity remained an integral part of his everyday existence, little has changed until very recent times. The 20th century epidemics have been called the diseases of 'civilisation' since they are generally rare in Third World and developing countries. Coronary heart disease (CHD) and cancer are the major causes of premature disability and death in our own society, and deaths from infections are rare in comparison. To a large extent the burden of disease which Western society suffers at present is self-inflicted. ...read more.


Access to educational information that is online could be given, and the management could organise special charity runs or negotiate special deals with local gymnasiums if an agreed number of employees sign up (4) Ogden. J, Health Psychology: A textbook (Open University Press, 2004) (5) Doyle. J. A. Dr, Health benefits of exercise and physical activity - Accessed on 23/4/05 (Georgia State University, 1997) http://www2.gsu.edu/~wwwfit/benefits.html through the company. The incentive for them would also be that the cost would be less than the usual membership fee. For the school/child centred strategy, a number of methods could be tried. The first and most obvious is education. Children could be talked to about the reasons behind the need to be more active. Enjoyable/fun activities could be organised which children really enjoy. It is worth noting that forcing children to exercise in ways in which they hate will only discourage them from engaging in any activity at all. In schools, teachers could encourage parents to organise some adventurous or challenging activities that children could take part in on weekends. Schools could also organise after school clubs and exercise classes. In a sense, children are a lot more vulnerable and impressionable than adults. This is both good and bad. For the purposes of encouraging exercise however, although encouraging exercise in the workplace is a good idea, it can be argued that adults are a lot less impressionable than children and it would be more beneficial to focus more on children so that they are better educated and have more of an incentive to exercise from a young age. ...read more.


On balance, exercise is incredibly beneficial for our health and general well-being. It can help reduce blood pressure levels, reduce overall body weight and obesity, be of benefit to sufferers of diabetes, protect against diseases such as osteoporosis and thinning of the bones, and an overall reduction in coronary heart disease. In the process of increasing muscle strength, endurance and improving flexibility and general posture, regular exercise is successful in preventing back pain. Psychological well-being is also an added benefit of regular exercise, as is an increased level of self-esteem. In order to encourage a greater number of individuals to exercise more regularly though, the workplace and schools need to be targeted with the aim of providing a better level of health education and competency. Incentives and assistance at work would be beneficial, as would after school clubs and exercise classes for children in schools. If we focus on the issue of the hazards of exercise, then we can see that there is potential for quite a serious problem in the future. If over-exercising really is some form of addiction, then it stands to reason that solving this problem will not simply be a case of trying to encourage people to stop, but rather a prolonged, sustained effort to outline the risks involved and convince people to cut down. There is the possibility however, that this approach will not prove productive and other more drastic measures may need to be investigated. Whatever approaches are taken, the fact will remain that exercise is a necessary phenomenon and if handled in the right way, is the key to a healthy life. ...read more.

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