A Life of Fitness

Sun, 19 Feb. 2012 - 9:41 p.m. MT
Credit: ARA Staff - American Running Association

Physical activity is important and necessary at every age. Whether you are presently incorporating a weight-loss plan, maintaining an ideal weight, or simply reaping the rewards of muscle strength and tone, bone mass, or heart health, physical activity is the linchpin in the plan. Thirty minutes per day of moderate-intensity aerobic exercise will keep you aerobically fit, contribute to prolonged cardiovascular health, and lower blood pressure and cholesterol levels. In addition, strength training two to three times a week ensures a greater percentage of lean body mass, which in turn contributes to a higher resting metabolism.
 
For most adults, the issue is finding the time to exercise. But physical activity is where you find it. The chart below puts in perspective each life phase, and will help you and your children find ways to increase activity. It also serves as an age-appropriate guide to healthful body moving—for life. The recommendations are not comprehensive and in many ways conservative; there are legions of marathoners over the age of 50, and merely one goal of fitness at 40 is to maintain healthy joints, to cite just two examples.

 

 
AGE
birth
3-5
8-10
15-18
20-25
30-35
GOAL
Motor skills
Hand-eye coordination
Learning rules /sportsmanship
Teamwork /building bone
Stress reduction /healthy pregnancies
Maintaining muscle /cardiovascular fitness
ACTIVITY
Crawling, walking, floating
Catch, kickball, biking
Little League, soccer, basketball, karate, skiing
Intramurals, running, swimming, gymnastics
Running, rock climbing, canoeing, dancing, volleyball, touch football
Running, hiking, circuit training, aerobics
AGE
40
45
50
60
70-80
90-100
GOAL
Stress-free joints
Cardiovascular fitness
Balance and flexibility /weight control
Social interaction
Maintaining independence /quality of life
 
ACTIVITY
Yoga, pilates, cycling
Walking, golfing, yardwork
Stairs, water aerobics, sports with grandchildren
Square dancing, gardening
Tai chi, walking, swimming
 
 
(Phys. & Sportsmed., 2005, Vol. 33, No. 9, pp. 36iv-36vii)

(RUNNING & FITNEWS® September/October 2005 • Volume 23, Number 5)

 



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