Spring is in the air. And, many of us are craving the urge to really kick-start our fitness routines. When it is saying lighter outside a little longer and the weather is getting a little warmer, our bodies may want to start moving a bit more. Which is so good for improving our health, not only our physical health, but our mental and emotional health. Staying fit and healthy is important at all ages.
Fitness doesn’t need to be defined as running miles every day or lifting weights, as those do not appeal to all, nor does work for many. Finding fitness that you enjoy is what matters. It could be group classes, walking, yoga, hiking and biking, or whatever can raise your heartrate and give you muscles and mind the workout they need to keep you at your best.
Here, let’s explore the benefits of fitness at all ages and provide tips on how to maintain a healthy lifestyle at different stages of life.
Fitness in Childhood:
Childhood is a time of growth and development, and physical activity plays a crucial role in this process. Regular exercise helps children develop strong bones and muscles, maintain a healthy weight, and improve their coordination and balance. Fitness also helps children develop good habits that can last a lifetime. By encouraging children to participate in sports, dance classes, or other physical activities they enjoy, they are also building skills of teamwork, socializing and sharing, and quick thinking. As parents, for the younger children, keep the activities as fun games. I know there are days that limiting screen time is difficult (I’m a mom – I get it!), but always encourage outdoor play or find some fun activities that encourage movement indoors, during those rainy days or long winter months.
Fitness in Teenage:
The teenage years! This is a major time of transition, and it’s important to establish healthy habits during this phase. Exercise can help teens manage stress, improve mood, and boost self-esteem. Regular physical activity can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, and diabetes. Regular fitness also helps teens with clearer thinking, assisting them in achieving better grades and making smarter life choices. Encourage teens to find physical activities they enjoy, such as team sports, running and swimming, or dance or other forms of exploring the outdoors. It’s important to remember that teenagers need plenty of sleep and healthy nutrition to support their growing bodies.
Fitness in Adulthood:
Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is essential in adulthood. Like with teenagers, regular exercise can help manage stress, improve mood and focus, and increase energy levels. As with teens, fitness also reduces the risk of chronic diseases, such as obesity, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. According to the National Association for Sports Medicine, the recommendation is for adults to aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking, cycling, or swimming, five days of the week and include two to three days of strength training. It’s also important to eat a balanced diet and get enough sleep.
Fitness in Middle Age:
As we age, the reasons to stay active become more important to stay active. Regular exercise can help prevent age-related muscle loss and maintain mobility and flexibility, as well improve brain function. It can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers and help manage mental and emotional health, such as depression and anxiety. Aim for a combination of aerobic exercise, strength training, and flexibility exercises, such as yoga or Pilates. It is important to keep with the recommendation of getting 30 minutes of exercise per day, five days a week, followed by good nutrition and plenty of rest.
Exercise is essential for older adults to maintain independence and quality of life. Regular exercise can improve balance, reduce the risk of falls, and increase muscle strength and endurance. It can also reduce the risk of chronic diseases, such as osteoporosis, heart disease, diabetes and certain cancers. Belonging to an exercise group is key to older adults’ health, as it gives a sense of belonging and community, which is essential for mental and emotional well-being. Aim for at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise, such as brisk walking or swimming, most days of the week. Consider activities that improve flexibility, such as yoga or tai chi and stability movements found in strength training.
Fitness is important at all stages of life. Fitting in any movement during the day is so very beneficial for keeping the body strong, but it is vital for our mental and emotional health. Regular exercise can improve our quality of life.
By encouraging children to be active, making it fun, so that those good habit are already established as they enter their teen years, which will flow into maintaining a healthy lifestyle into adulthood. Continuing an active lifestyle into middle age will lead to regular movement into our golden years. It is never too late to start, and every little bit counts.