2013-05-03 / Sports

Rockaway Walks Fitness Column

Physical Literacy for Health
By Steven C. McCartney IPO, HSW MS

This goes out to everyone that was affected by Hurricane Sandy.

Are you Physically Literate? If you are the benefits from being physically literate will help you “Stay ready from getting ready.” This is my way of saying start a routine that includes a variety of activities that will help you stay flexible and resilient, like recovering from a natural disaster (review The Wave article on Form a Support Team).

Physical Literacy is an emerging concept, which is applied to physical activities that are an integral part of one’s lifestyle across one’s lifespan (most studies only focus on children). However, in order to develop Physical Literacy you must learn fundamental movement skills and sport skills in four basic environments.

The first environment is on the ground. These activities include most games, sports, dance and physical activities. The second environment is in the water which includes all types of aquatic activities. The third environment is on snow and ice (winter sliding activities) and the fourth environment is in the air, such as gymnastic, diving and other aerial activities. How often do you practice physical literacy (total fitness) within the four environments?

Well if you are physically skilled and practice physical literacy, you probably enjoy vigorous healthy play. Meanwhile, less skilled persons are often left out which can result in lack of effort and eventual decline in physical activities leading to detriment towards your health and fitness (your range of personal, social, economic factors, that influence health status).

Yes, let’s quickly review the four cycles to gain total fitness and effectively stay physically active for healthy lifestyle. The total fitness cycle refers to four categories (they overlap). 1. Basic Training Principles: Overload,

Progression, Specificity, Regularity, and Individuality; 2. Fitness Guidelines: Frequency, Intensity, Time, Type; 3. Health Related Components: Aerobic

Fitness, Muscular Strength, Muscular Endurance, Flexibility, and Body

Composition, and 4. Skill Related Components: Agility,

Balance, Coordination, Power, Reaction Time and Speed.

The four categories to Total Fitness are important gateways to achieving and learning about your health according to the World Health Organization (WHO), mental, physical, and social well-being, and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity (physical and mental weakness).

Everyone needs to know how and be willing to stay physically literate over one’s lifespan. Getting involved and staying active is our best offense towards physical literacy and overall health. Start today putting together your action plan to help you achieve and maintain a wide range of settings (in sports, recreation and leisure time activities), and learn from many different people (trainers, coaches, teachers, and health professionals). Always start off with what you can do. Remember the responsibility for developing physical literacy starts with you. Everyone’s journey towards physically literacy is unique; born from the pleasure, motivation, commitment and satisfaction. One gains physical literacy from participation and being active. You can measure physical literacy by your achievements (activities) and not merely a national benchmark. Make sure you’re having fun as you enter this domain of physical literacy: Self Actualization (Review The Wave article “Leisure Time and Recreation Perception and Goal Setting for the New Year”).

This article is dedicated to the supporters of Rockaway Walks 12 week fitness program. Special thanks go out to Senator James Sanders Jr., Donovan Richards, St. John’s Episcopal Hospital, Joseph Addabbo Health Center, Stop N Shop, Modell’s Sporting Goods, CUNY University Student Senate, VESID, York College, The Wave newspaper, NYC Parks and Recreation, Department of Environmental Protection and Healthy Lifestyle Changes, Inc. For questions or concerns contact me at steven_ mccartney@walkprograms.com.

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