sport and fitness

sport and fitness
The British are very fond of sport, but many people prefer to watch rather than take part. Many go to watch football, cricket, etc. at the ground, but many more sit at home and watch sport on television.
  Most people today take relatively little general exercise. Over the last 30 or 40 years lifestyles have changed considerably and many people now travel even the shortest distances by car or bus. Lack of exercise combined with eating too many fatty and sugary foods has meant that many people are becoming too fat. Experts are particularly concerned that children spend a lot of their free time watching television or playing computer games instead of being physically active. In recent years, however, there has been a growing interest in fitness among young adults and many belong to a sports club or gym.
  In Britain most towns have an amateur football and cricket team, and people also have opportunities to play sports such as tennis and golf. Older people may play bowls. Some people go regularly to a sports centre or leisure centre where there are facilities for playing badminton and squash, and also a swimming pool. Some sports centres arrange classes in aerobics, step and keep-fit. Some people work out (= train hard) regularly at a local gym and do weight training and circuit training. A few people do judo or other martial arts. Others go running or jogging in their local area. For enthusiastic runners there are opportunities to take part in long-distance runs, such as the London marathon. Other people keep themselves fit by walking or cycling. Many people go abroad on a skiing holiday each year and there are several dry slopes in Britain where they can practise.
  Membership of a sports club or gym can be expensive and not everyone can afford the subscription. Local sports centres are generally cheaper. Evening classes are also cheap and offer a wide variety of fitness activities ranging from yoga to jazz dancing. Some companies now provide sports facilities for their employees or contribute to the cost of joining a gym.
  Sports play an important part in American life. Professional baseball and football games attract large crowds, and many people watch games on television. Although many parents complain about their children being couch potatoes (= people who spend a lot of time watching television), there are sports sessions at school for all ages. College students are usually also required to take physical education classes to complete their studies.
  Many popular keep-fit activities began in the US. Charles Atlas, Arnold Schwarzenegger and others inspired people to take up body-building (= strengthening and shaping the muscles). Many women joined the ‘fitness craze’ as a result of video workouts produced by stars such as Jane Fonda and Cindy Crawford which they could watch and take part in at home. New fitness books are continually being published and these create fashions for new types of exercise, such as wave aerobics, which is done in a swimming pool, and cardio kick-boxing, a form of aerobics which involves punching and kicking a punchbag. There is even a ‘dancing through pregnancy’ programme. Many richer Americans employ their own personal trainer, either at home or at a fitness centre, to direct their exercise programme. Local YMCAs offer programmes which include aerobics, gym, running, weights, treadmills and rowing machines, as well as steam rooms and swimming. But many people just walk or jog in the local park or play informal games of baseball or football.

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Universalium. 2010.

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