Keeping fit means maintaining good health. Looking at history in the West, the activities connected with keeping fit first started in Greece where the Olympic Games were born. In those days these activities were pursued for sportsmanship. The Chinese have their unique form of exercises for keeping fit. These have been developed from methods used a thousand years ago. Examples are Taiji, Gongfu and Waidangong which are among the most popular in Singapore.
Many people here began to take an interest in physical fitness exercises in the early sixties. By 1970 it became so popular that today we can see hundreds of people taking part in these exercises in every park and any available open space. People from all walks of life, male and female, young and old do these exercises under the instructions of professional instructors. There are many factors which may account for this popular involvement. Technology has made a lot of improvements in the last few decades. As a result, machines are used extensively at work and also at home. Machines save time and effort. This means that man not only does less manual work, but also has more free time. Hobbies are pursued, pastimes are created, and too much leisure leads to sloth. People who develop a habit of laziness normally find that it affects their ability to work effectively. As a result the past competitive decades have woken up men from their sleep of indolence. Men have learnt to fill up their free time with activities to keep fit.
Science has both curse and blessing with various new diseases and cures. Some of these diseases are different in that they affect even those who eat nutritious food, live in a clean environment and have access to health facilities. Previously diseases resulted from lack of hygiene and nutrition deficiency. These normally affected the poor and under-privileged. Doctors say that the present life style has in some ways created a new range of diseases like “heart attacks”, cancer and diabetes. Large intake of junk food and preservatives, air pollution and insufficient physical activity have been identified as some of the causes of the new range of diseases. A new awareness to change our way of life and the realization that health is more important than wealth has taken place.
We are presently in the midst of a craze to keep fit. The media has been very successful in informing the public of the importance of physical fitness. Physical fitness has been described as a factor that can bring about a long life, free from diseases. Men, women, children and the old are encouraged to sweat it out in fitness activities.
However, we must not forget that physical fitness programs have their limits. An overdose of anything can be lethal. Over exertion may cause serious injuries. Injuries may result from improper and incorrect application of techniques of fitness. So a person embarking on a physical fitness program to become healthy may end up being seriously injured.
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