Factors Affecting Physical Fitness & Performance

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  • 0:01 What is Physical Fitness?
  • 1:19 Factors Affecting…
  • 2:57 Strategies for…
  • 5:18 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Sharon Linde

Sharon has a Masters of Science in Mathematics

What kinds of things impact physical fitness and performance, and how can teachers make the most of them? This lesson outlines factors impacting fitness and provides strategies to use in classrooms.

What Is Physical Fitness?

Being physically fit is important to all of us. Physical fitness is a combination of many factors, including muscle strength, endurance, and coordination. It's the movement part of what keeps our bodies and minds healthy, and Beth, a teacher at Webster Middle School, knows she needs to teach her middle school students a lot about being healthy.

There are various ways to measure specific aspects of physical fitness, like running times, number of pull-ups, and weight lifting capability, but there is no one test that can fully tell you how fit someone is.

To confuse matters even more, general physical fitness, sport-specific fitness, and daily fitness can all fluctuate. For example, a runner who takes a summer off to be a mountain guide might come back in better overall shape but is likely to have lost ground in his/her specific discipline, running. After a few months of training to get back her running fitness, they may find a day of poor sleep or dehydration will have very negative effects on her performance in competition.

How can Beth use all this information to teach students about fitness? First she needs to look at what kind of things affect physical fitness in her students.

Factors Affecting Physical Fitness

Beth has heard that kids today are less physically fit than ever, but why is this? Both long term and short term physical fitness are affected by a great number of factors, such as:

  • Injury - Any serious injury will have an adverse effect on a student's physical fitness. When the body takes time to heal, it takes away opportunities to move and build strength, stamina and coordination.
  • Lack of physical activity - When Beth's students show up at the gym, she can tell they've been spending more time in front of screens than they do on their feet. Increasing school demands, families with both parents working, neighborhoods with fewer parks, and cuts in school recess all mean that kids spend less time outside and moving, which results in overall lower fitness.
  • Poor diet/nutrition - The amount of fast food and quick options kids can grab has increased over the years. They seem to be eating more junk and fewer whole foods, which means they don't get as much nutrition as they could. This results in an overall lower level of physical fitness. Beth knows its super important to teach her students about making healthy food choices.
  • Poor and inconsistent rest/sleep - Although it may seem contrary, rest is just as important to physical fitness as physical activity. The body needs to replenish and rebuild when resting.
  • Dehydration - Although there is no expert consensus definition of dehydration, being dehydrated will decrease both physical and mental performance. The body needs water to survive and thrive.

Strategies for Creating Healthy Students

Now that Beth understands why her students lack fitness, she can begin to find ways to help them create healthy habits to improve their health. What can she teach her students about? She needs to focus on the basics.

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