UNIT 2- Improve your health and physical fitness



All humans are born with attributes that help them develop as people, some are intellectual while others are physical.

The basic attributes (stamina, flexibility, strength and speed) make simple movements possible. As a person grows, these attributes also develop, and little by little the person has more stamina and becomes faster and stronger.

Doing regular physical exercise and sports helps to develop these attributes and this is beneficial for everyday life and for playing sports.


Stamina is the body´s ability to do a physical exercise for an extended period of time. It also helps the body recover more quickly after exercising.

Not all types of sports are the same. Some are done for a long period of time at a gentle rhythm, such as a 20Km race or 1.500 m swim. Other sports are short exercises at an intense rhythm, such as 200 m sprint or ski slalom. The different duration and rhythm of each exercise means that our muscles need more or less oxygen to complete the exercise. This is the main characteristic that distinguishes the two types of stamina:

  • Aerobic stamina: This is a continuous exercise over a long period of time at a gentle rhythm in which the muscles receive enough oxygen to do the exercise. These activities last more than 4 minutes.
  • Anaerobic stamina: These are short exercises at an intense rhythm in which the muscles receive less oxygen. These activities last 2 to 3 minutes at the most.


Flexibility is the ability to perform movements with the greatest range of motion possible.

Two important body structures are used in these movements: joints and muscles. You can develop your flexibility by doing stretching exercises and joint mobility.


Strength is the body´s ability to oppose or overcome a resistance.

Everybody needs some strength in order to perform daily tasks such as carrying shopping bags, going up the stairs or moving a table.

Some exercises that you can  use to develop your strength are: Sit-ups, press-ups, jumps or wall push.

2.1.4 SPEED

Speed is the ability to complete one or several movements in the shortest time possible.

From ancient times to the present day, some men and women have worked hard to be the strongest, to have the most stamina and, above all, to be the fastest.

Lots of movements have to be performed at the appropriate speed in order to be successful. For example: Catching a falling object so that it does not break, stepping on a piece of paper if it is being blown by the wind or raising your hand to stop a passing taxi.

You can develop your speed by playing chasing games or running in a relay race.

There are different types of speed:

  • Reaction speed: This is the ability to respond to a specific stimulus in the shortest possible time. Examples: A goalkeeper stopping a ball or the start of a race.
  • Movement speed: The ability to move one part of the body in the shortest time possible. Examples: Throwing the ball at the goal or hitting a ball with a baseball bat.
  • Travel speed: This is the ability to cover a distance in the shortest time possible. Example: 50 m race.



  1. What does it means to be in good physical shape?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. Which are the main physical attributes? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. What is the difference between aerobic and anaerobic stamina?________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  1. What are the main factors the flexibility depends on? ________________________________________________________________________________________________________________
  2. Write 3 movements that depend on each physical attribute: ___________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________



Have a look on the following daily situations and say which physical attribute you need on each one:

  1. The bus stop is 30m away and it is almost leaving, you need to catch it………………………………………………….
  2. You try to open a door that offers a big resistance………………………………
  3. When you get home, the elevator is broken and you have to go upstairs. You live on the tenth floor…………………
  4. We went out sightseeing around the city and have been walking for three hours ..………………………………………….
  5. We are trying to fasten a costume, which has the buttons on the back.………………………………………………….
  6. The car is broken and we must push it to start it again.………………………………………………….


Now is the time to know what our physical shape is. You have done different physical fitness tests in order to evaluate it.  Write an essay and explain the physical attributes you should work out and which are the ones you are good at. At the end of course we will repeat the test in order to reflect about your improvements.



What is a heart rate?: It is the number of heart beats in one minute. You can take your pulse with any finger except for your thumb.

Where can you take your pulse?: neck, wrist, etc.

We can use a couple of different ways to calculate a one-minute pulse:

  • Count how many heart beats you have in 6 seconds and multiply by 10.
  • C ount how many heart beats you have in 15 seconds and multiply by 4.
  • Count heart beats for 30 seconds and multiply by 2

Keep in mind:

  • The heart rate is never constant, it can change during the time of day, during exercise, etc.
  • A pulse will rise during exercise and fall during leisure periods.
  • A pulse is higher in sedentary people than in athletes.
  • High intensity exercise results in a higher pulse.
  • After exercise, people with the lowest pulse are the ones in the best physical shape.


My resting pulse is:


My maximum pulse is______p.p.m, I calculated it in the following way: __________________________________________________


My Healthy Activity Zone (HAZ) is between _____ and _____ p.m , this means that ________________________________________________ _____________________________________________________________.

I know this is my Healthy Activity Zone because I calculated it in the following manner: _______________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________


I have taken my pulse during different kinds of physical activity and these are my results:





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