Issues of Health-Related Physical Fitness of the Adult Learner

Issues of Health-Related Physical Fitness of the Adult Learner

Donatus Udochukwu Chukwudo (University of Nigeria, Nsukka, Nigeria)
Copyright: © 2020 |Pages: 22
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-7998-1306-4.ch008
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This chapter discussed the importance of physical fitness concerning adult learners' readiness to participate meaningfully in academia. Despite the importance of health-related physical fitness, not many adults seem to have given the issue (physical fitness) the needed attention. The chapter focused on the issues associated with a reduced level of physical activity participation, and the changing modes of transportation, and how the issues could interfere with learning if not addressed — suggestions on how to improve physical fitness while learning constitutes parts of the discussion.
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Concerns of physical fitness are very critical in every sphere of life all over the world. This is because of the paramount importance of physical fitness of the individual. Mana Medical Associates (2019) identified improved health, staying active, improved quality of life reduced risk of injury and increase in life expectancy as some of the advantages of physical fitness. Excelling in any area of life requires optimum physical fitness. That is why fitness of the adult learner is crucial when it comes to adult learning. Being physically fit is associated with mental fitness because less uneasiness could help reduce stress (Checkrout, 2018). Mental fitness of the learner is a prerequisite for effective adult learning. Mental fitness helps one to be cognitively alert for serious academic activity which is demanded in higher education. The question is: What is physical fitness?

Physical fitness has been defined differently by various authors. According to Kent (2006), physical fitness is the ability to function efficiently and effectively, to enjoy leisure, to be healthy, to resist disease and to cope with emergency situations. Farnsword (2019) views physical fitness as being made up of cardiovascular endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition. Physical fitness has been defined also as the ability to carry out daily activities with vigor and alertness without undue fatigue and with ample energy to enjoy leisure pursuit and meet emergencies (Caspersen, Powell and Christenson,1985). The authors categorized physical fitness into two- the health-related and skill related. The health-related such as cardiorespiratory endurance, muscular strength, muscular endurance, flexibility and body composition are components of physical fitness important to public health as they concern every individual. Aniodo (2011) in his classification recognized heart rate and blood pressure as health-related fitness. The skill related physical fitness is made up of agility, balance, coordination, speed power and reaction time (Aniodo, 2011). This chapter however is concern with the health-related components which are of great importance to the adult learner.

The health-related components of the individual have a lot of issues surrounding them. One of the issues is the reduced level of physical activity participation. There are evidences to show that there is decline in level of physical activity participation in different parts of the world. According to Paudel, Owen, Owusu-Addo, and Smith (2018), the number of times people now involve themselves in physical activities has declined despite global evidences that it reduces the risk of having chronic diseases. This is consistent with the findings of Dai, Wang and Morrison, (2014) who found marriage, overweight, regular smoking and constant body pain as predictors of decline in physical activity participation among adult men and women. Another issue that is of concern in this chapter is the changing mode of transportation in the contemporary society. Mode of transport affects to a great extent the physical fitness of the individual. The assumption is that those who rely on automobile or other types of transportation without participation in any type of physical exercise may become be less fit than those who walk or use bicycle for mobility. Before now, people do a lot of journey using active transport modes when distances are within walkable range.

Many students who enroll in higher education in Africa are besieged with a lot of issues which affect health and fitness. However, unless attention is given to the health-related fitness of adult learners in higher education, achieving adult education objectives may be difficult. Therefore, the focus of this chapter is to address the issues that may impact the fitness of the adult learner. The general assumption is that students who are fit perform better in academics than the unfit students (California Dept. of Education, 2012).

Key Terms in this Chapter

Screen Time: It refers to the time spent on viewing programs on a television, cell phone, computer and any other use of electronic screen for non-educational purposes.

Physical Activity: This refers to any form of activity anywhere that requires physical exertion of energy.

Passive Transport: This mode of transport that is powered by motorized engines such as in a car, train ship aircraft.

Flexibility: This is the ability of the joint to move freely around its axis without causing any crack in the joint.

Health Related Physical Fitness: This refers to the components of physical fitness that are required by all human beings irrespective of the field of endeavor.

Heart Rate: This is the number of heart beats per minute.

Cardiorespiratory Endurance: This refers to the ability of the cardiovascular and respiratory systems to sufficiently support a prolonged activity with excessive fatigue.

Muscle Strength: This is a force exerted by a muscle against resistance in one maximum effort.

Blood Pressure: This is the pressure exerted by the blood against the walls of its containing vessel.

Muscle Endurance: This refers to the ability of a muscle or muscle group to resist fatigue or the ability of a muscle group to perform an activity repeatedly without much fatigue in a set time.

Active Transport: This is defined as modes of transport that are driven by physical exerted energy such as is the case with walking and bicycling.

Body Composition: This refers to the ratio of leans and fats that make up the human body.

Isometric: It means the same length. It stands for the strength generated when muscles contract without a change in muscle length.

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