by JOE GOLD | Trainer and Owner of The Training Club

Fitness Through The Ages

Last year I attended my first family reunion. Five different generations were represented – just about every age range was there. Conversations with various relatives often gravitated towards my work as a trainer. This experience got me thinking about exercise as we age and how the focus of our exercise goals must change accordingly.

Nataly (Niece, Age 7)
Kids and exercise are at a complex crossroads in today’s society. The nature of kids to play lends itself to a naturally active lifestyle. Unfortunately, we live in a culture in which kids would rather pick up a Wii controller than a baseball bat. The strongest emphasis in childhood is to develop good exercise habits by ensuring that there is a balance in their activity level. Kids should be encouraged to participate in physical activities. The goal at that age should be increased body awareness and coordination.

Eddy (Nephew, Age 20)
Teens and early adults don’t need a lot of coaxing with regards to exercise. This age group is so preoccupied with self-image that they are likely to exercise and play sports in order to attract the opposite sex or stand out among their peers. At this age, both biological function and physical performance are at their peak. This is the best time to establish sound exercise habits. Making gym visits part of a daily routine and learning how to make sound nutrition decisions will establish a solid fitness foundation that can continue into adulthood and middle age.

 David (Brother, Age 46)
As family responsibilities increase, physical activity tends to decrease. The natural tendency is for a person’s strength to plateau at this stage. As a sedentary lifestyle develops, wasting of lean tissue and accumulation of body fat become more predominant. Increases in cardiovascular training will help reverse these tendencies. It will also reduce risk of chronic conditions such as diabetes and heart disease.

 Perla (Grandma, Age 82)
Growing old is considered a taboo in our society. Nonetheless it is a reality. Retirement often brings a small increase in physical activity – it is crucial for seniors to remain active. Lack of mobility can be onset by injuries or fractures as our bones tend to become less dense and our tendons and ligaments weaken. A balanced fitness program for this age group should include light resistance training as well as flexibility.

Regardless of age, one thing is for certain: we must all look at our current fitness program and asses where we want to be five, ten, or twenty years from now. Establishing healthy habits early on will help ensure many happy and healthy family reunions to come.