Fit For All Ages
June 13, 2012 § Leave a comment
You’ve might have heard me say this before, fitness is a life long thing like a marriage for which there is no divorce. There are times your relationship with fitness might suffer, you’re bored with your fitness, or you just don’t give your fitness enough attention. Your fitness might get put on the back burner after a surgery, or a pregnancy, or if work demands pile up. Sometimes the romance is gone, but if you’re dedicated to making the relationship work, fitness will have your back ‘til the end.
“Youth is wasted on the young,” you’ll hear a mother say as she bends down to grab a rushing toddler. “If I had one ounce of his energy…” Yup, I think we’d all agree. Besides the broken record of benefits (improves mood, fights weight gain, combats disease, boosts energy, increases sex drive), exercising consistently on a long enough timeline can improve your quality of life and help you age gracefully.
I wanted to share some discoveries with you about maintaining an active lifestyle through out the decades of your life. Working out isn’t just to keep your ass from drooping, or your arms from jiggling… this is about your health!
0-10: Once you loose the baby fat and gain some muscle, your dexterity will improve. Nothing can stop you, not even your parents. Well maybe, but only because they’re twice your size.
10-20: Growing though spurts to your adult body can be scary at times and slow you down. The key here is to use the new hormones to get into an active routine. Sports, dance, cheer, even laser tag can help you form the lifelong habit of fitness. Show me a video game that can do that.
20-30: Hello metabolism, nice to meet you. If you escaped the freshmen 15, you might get introduced to them now. Still your body is full of resilience, if you get into a destructive routine, you can easily pop out of it. However, forget the fads. Strong and healthy will never go out of style. While you’re in your 20s, see what your body can do. Explore strength training from weights to Pilates, and all kinds of cardio to boot. Try every workout you can, collect them all, but beware of over-training and injuries. You only get one body. Make sure you’re recovering and stretching. While you’re out there trying things, try some yoga for recuperation.
30-40: If you haven’t been living an active lifestyle, you could see the biggest weight gain during these years. Time speeds up, life starts flying, and your workout could fly right out the window. Maximize your time by doing interval or circuit training. You’ll burn more calories in shorter duration. Not to mention, switching up your routine fights flab and boredom. Make sure to add weight training; your future bone density depends on it. Increased strength has other benefits too. The more muscle, the more efficient the metabolism. Don’t let it get lazy on you. Pilates is one of the best workouts for this age range, pulling everything back together after a pregnancy, a workout hiatus, or even if you’ve never lifted a dumbbell in your life. In addition, start incorporating invisible workouts: take the stairs, stand while on the phone, park in the rear of the parking lot, walk an extra block with the dog. This doesn’t replace workouts, but it forms great habits for decades down the road.
40-50: Just because you’re “over the hill” doesn’t mean you can coast down the other side. Being active now is more important than ever. As estrogen levels decline, fat settles in the abdomen. Aside from the obvious esthetic downfall, it also puts fat circulating close to your heart, a leading cause of heart disease. Pilates can help with your midsection as well as getting the heart in working order. Increasing strength training will help fight the gravitational pull and changes in body composition, but make sure you are lifting properly. Technique is king, a ruler above all injuries for years to come.
50-60: Gravity and metabolism are frienemies now. Women gain an average of 12lbs post menopause and everything else droops. Posture is key, it can certainly age you one way or another. If you haven’t started strength training by now, get right on it. Keep a set of dumbbells around if you can’t get to a class, conscious of proper technique. Activity will require more recovery time. Stretch after every workout no matter what. Pilates and yoga will help you recover and stretch while maintaining strength and increasing flexibility. Strength and flexibility become synonymous with health.
60s-70s: Joint health becomes a focus, so don’t give up on fitness. I’m not saying run a marathon, but don’t let aches and pains hinder working out. Adapt your workout, low impact rules. Enjoy long walks. Resistance training is still important, but using lighter weight will relieve joint pain while lifting. This isn’t the time to max-out on your bench press. Stretching and practicing balance postures are also essential. If you don’t stretch now, the flexibly in your joints when you’re 80 will be completely lost. Pilates can aid in flexibility as well as balance, both of which will carry you through the golden years with grace.
Truth is, “age ain’t nothing but a number.” If you want to act your shoe size if you’re ever older than your IQ, now is the time to start working on your fitness. And never is the time to quit.