Essay on Social Nature of Man and Physical Activity

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Both the terms are interdependent. If one lacks any one of these, he weakens his quality related to other one. Understanding the many factors that influence physical activity may help improve the effectiveness of physical activity intervention programs.

Research suggests that the effectiveness of programs should be maximized when participant’s confidence about their ability to continue physical activities is nurtured, they enjoy the activities they have chosen, receive encouragement and assistance from other people in their lives, and reside in a supportive environment that provides convenient, attractive, and safe places for physical activity.

The behaviour of others and factors in the external environment can also play a role in influencing physical activity. Social cognitive theory (Bandura, 1986) emphasizes multiple influences from within the person, the social environment, and the physical environment.

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A person becomes active on a regular basis. Social influences on physical activity are strong for people of all ages, but the nature of the support varies with developmental level. Social support for adults can come from friends, co-workers, or family members and the main types of support are encouragement, participating in physical activities and providing assistance, such as child care (Dishman & Sallis, 1994). For adolescents, the influence of peers is paramount.

If a given adolescent identifies with a peer group that values and participates in physical activity, the group creates a supportive environment for its members. If the main peer group devalues physical activity, this is an effective deterrent.

Parents are more influential for their younger child. Studies of children aged 9 to 13 years have shown there are several ways that parents can support children’s physical activity. Serving as active role models and providing encouragement may have limited influence, but two studies show that parents can have the most impact by directly helping children be active. Parents who participate in activities with their children (Stucky-Ropp & Dilorenzo, 1993), organize activities (Anderssen & Wold, 1992), or transport, children to places where they can be active are the most effective supporters (Sallis, Alcaraz, etal., 1992). For preschool children, prompts and encouragement to be active can be helpful.

Physical environmental factors such as climate and weather can have a major effect on physical activities, but few of many possible environmental factors have been documented in research. The is probable that changes in the environment have made it necessary to focus attention on increasing physical activity.

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Automobiles, television, computers, labour-saving devices, and sedentary jobs have created an environment that makes possible a profoundly sedentary lifestyle for large numbers of people, may be for the first time in history. Thus it is critical to be aware of the effect of our artificial environments on physical activity levels.

Environment and Adults

Environment has great effect on adults. A supportive environment for adults might consist of a safe and attractive space for outdoor activities, exercise equipment or supplies in or near the home, and convenient access to exercise facilities and programmes. One study showed that adults were more likely to be active if they had a number of exercise facilities within a short distance from their homes, (Sallis, et al., 1990). For adolescents, it may be especially important to have organized activities in convenient, locations, such as afterschool intramural teams.

Environment and Children

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A child has quality of quick adaptation. Therefore, supportive environment is essential for younger children. It is difficult for children to be active indoors; time spent outdoors is highly correlated with physical activity levels. Many parents are concerned about the safety of the neighborhoods and prohibit children from going outside to play.

Unfortunately, the more parental rules that limit children’s play, the less physically active young children are. The more places the child can play that are within walking distance from home, the more active the child is. Balancing safety concerns with the need to let children play outdoors is a serious challenge.

Media and Man

Media is a ubiquitous part of the environment of children, adolescents, and adults that encourages sedentary behaviour. However, there is little indication that children or adults who watch the most television are the least active. There is reason to limit the hours per week children watch television, because of associations between amount of television viewing and obesity.

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