Note from Your Instructor

Greetings and welcome to your Fitness and Exercise Program! You’ve chosen to explore an exciting field, one that is growing by leaps and bounds. The training you will receive through this program is the key to helping you unlock opportunities in the fitness profession.

This is a good time to set some goals for yourself. The saying “The journey of a thousand miles begins with the first step” applies particularly well to those embarking on careers in the fitness industry. It’s always a bit scary to begin a new training experience, but you’ve taken a major step. You’ve made the decision to improve your level of knowledge about your chosen profession. You may not be exactly clear today about which one of the many areas of this great industry you will pursue. However, you can set one clear goal for yourself: to complete this program, staying with it to the very last lesson. If you commit to that goal, you will open yourself to all the positive opportunities that can come your way once you receive your diploma.

I am very excited about this course because fitness and wellness are two of the most—if not the most—empowering subjects you can study. As you read the textbook, you will see that physical activity and health:

  • Are fundamentally necessary for an effective, efficient, long, and happy lifestyle.
  • Can be achieved by anyone, regardless of age, gender, physical abilities, or disabilities.

The Surgeon General’s Report on Physical Activity and Health states that a healthy lifestyle, more than any other single factor, is responsible for optimal wellness. Unfortunately, however, too many people today live sedentary lifestyles and promote them with numerous inappropriate excuses. Personally, I felt a little uneasy seeing some of my own former rationalizations listed in the textbook!

But this lesson will enable you to counter negativity and promote positive ideas and solutions to overcome excuses for not exercising. For instance, people often claim that poor health, bad weather, age, and the like prevent them from participating in physical activity. But these rationalizations just don’t hold water. Individuals who suffer joint problems, for example, may be able to participate in a swimming or water aerobics program. When the weather is inclement, people can walk the malls, use an aerobics DVD, or follow exercise programs on TV. Senior citizens have a wide range of community-organized programs to choose from. So, you can see that there’s just no excuse these days for not becoming active.

In this first lesson, you will be asked to learn information in the Vocabulary Builder, the Achievement Examination, and the Check Your Learning exercises that will permit you to help yourself and others find forms of exercise that are suitable to the needs of each individual. In the first chapter, you will become acquainted with a variety of easy-to-remember facts and terms about subjects such as:

  1. Physical activity, fitness, and wellness
  2. Optimal health and lifestyles
  3. Reasons people give for exercising or not exercising
  4. A physical fitness test you can use to assess needs and abilities

In addition, you will begin learning about nationwide goals put forth in Healthy People 2020: National Health Promotion and Disease Prevention Objectives. Experts across the country have outlined health-related objectives that Americans should strive to achieve, and your text centers its instruction around these goals.

Chapter 1 is also a vitally important section because it underscores just how dangerous sedentary living can be. Even though recent advances in medicine have reduced or eliminated many infectious diseases, “take-it-easy” living is killing more and more people every year—especially those who are overweight and do little or no exercise.

Consequently, I would like draw your attention to two truths emphasized in your text:

  1. Numerous cardiovascular, peripheral vascular, and hypokinetic diseases and conditions can arise with too little exercise.
  2. Altering lifestyles and environmental factors can improve quality of life.

To illustrate these points, your book discusses the three most important benefits of exercise: It plays an important role in the prevention of disease and illness, the treatment of disease and illness, and the promotion of health and wellness.

In closing, I want to welcome you again to the program. I have completed a few self-paced programs myself, and I am very aware of the problems that can occur in poorly written instructional materials. The objectives and exercises, therefore, have been created to be as straightforward as possible so that you will know exactly what to do and how to do it. I hope that you find learning how to achieve optimal health and wellness as interesting and beneficial as I have.

P.S.: Here’s a helpful tip. Get a couple of index cards and write on each one: “KEEP YOUR EYES ON THE GOAL!” Tape one of those cards to your refrigerator door and the other to your bathroom mirror. Let this motto serve as a daily reminder of why you are making the physical and mental effort and the financial sacrifice required to complete this program successfully.

So enjoy Lesson 1—You’re on your way to learning all you can about the Fitness and Exercise field!