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What Exercise Can Do For Different Age Groups

By: Mike Kiely BA (hons) - Updated: 3 Jan 2013 | comments*Discuss
Exercise Fitness Health Pregnancy

Exercise is not just for the body conscious twenty- or thirtysomething who wants to look good in the latest high-street fashion. So often gym classes appear to be populated by individuals who are there to become thinner rather than for fitness or to become healthier, and this can be a disincentive for others who feel that perhaps they are either too young or too old to fit in. Or in the case of pregnant women, sometimes just too big.

However, this couldn’t be further from the truth. Exercise will improve both the health and happiness of everyone, so get over the feeling of self-consciousness, or the mistaken idea you have to invest in an expensive leotard. Lose those inhibitions and get moving.

Let’s start with the last people many would expect to see in class: children. Surely all that running around and mucking about keeps those young bodies fit. Well, not if you look at the latest figures for child obesity and check out the some of the questionable food they are stuffing into their mouths. So much of what children do and consume in their formative years has a knock-on effect later in life, so they should definitely be looking to get involved in exercise activities that increase cardiovascular efficiency and flexibility, and contribute to both physical and psychological development. In short, getting fit, becoming healthier and having fun, all at the same time.

Exercise Assessments

Mums-to be need to be fit, too. Carrying a baby around is no mean feat, but that doesn’t mean that pregnancy constitutes a daily workout in itself. Pregnancy means there will be extra pressure on the back, for example, so an exercise programme that involves non-weight bearing exercises will be just the ticket for stretching and relaxing the whole body. It will make mum happier and more confident, too, because she will feel more in touch with her pregnant body and less self-conscious. Each stage of pregnancy will require separate exercise assessments, to reflect the physical effect on mum as her little bundle becomes bigger and bigger.

So on to those two mainstream gym exercise groups: men and women in the 20-35, and 40-50 age brackets. Everyone is different, so, for example, some younger women may find that they have more cellulite on their hips and thighs than other individuals entering middle age; similarly the thickness of an individual man’s waist can be less about age, more to do with lifestyle and intensity of exercise. However, there is no doubt that as we age, our metabolism slows down, so shifting that self-indulgent cake will naturally become harder for those nearing 40, than people 10 years younger.

Increasing Stamina And Endurance Through Exercise

Therefore, for both of these age groups, the accent should be on all round fitness, health and toning using a programme that accentuates strength, stamina and endurance. Obviously the earlier in life a person makes exercise an integral part of their routine, the less work they will have to do to get up to speed than a person in their thirties who has led a more sedentary existence. But it shouldn’t be forgotten that we are talking about people in the prime of their lives. The challenge for them is to exercise to make the most of their vitality, maintain their natural toning and flexibility, and ensure their body has the foundations for countering the aging process and potential hazards such as raised blood pressure as successfully as possible.

Healthier lifestyles and medical advances mean people are living longer, leading to a corresponding increase in the population classified as seniors. Exercise can have a major influence on prevention of disease and quality of life for this group. Of course, some seniors may be more mobile than others, but it isn’t just those still capable of bouncing around on their own two feet who should be working out. There will still be benefits to be gained in well designed programmes for those with conditions such as heart disease, diabetes and arthritis.Whatever your age, there will be fitness goals that are attainable. Reaching these targets will not only make you healthier but give you more confidence. So what are you waiting for?

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