How to Stay Active Throughout Your Life
Staying active throughout every stage of your life is extremely important. Exercise can protect you from conditions such as heart disease, type 2 diabetes, and even some cancers. The official US physical guidelines say adults need to do two types of physical activity each week to improve their health and strengthen their muscles. At a minimum, this should be 150 minutes a week of physical activity.
We all know we should be doing more, but how do we keep moving when our motivation slips, the weather takes a turn for the worse, or our bodies just can’t keep up with the 150 minutes of recommended physical activity? Whether you’re working out as a family, or as an individual, here are a few ways to stay active throughout each stage of your life.
Depending on the age of your child, the US government recommends pre-school-aged children to be active throughout the day (ages 3–5), and school-aged children (ages 6–17) to be active for 60 minutes or more. Here are some tips to get your children active:
- Non-scheduled physical activity, such as playing in playgrounds, is a great way to stay active.
- Let them try different sports to hone their fine motor skills.
- Encourage teenagers to join a team sport.
- If they’re not into team sports, recommend swimming classes or other solo activities.
The US government provides a list of activities and examples to keep you healthy and active each week. Overall, their mantra is for individuals to “move more and sit less.” For example, in your 20s you are at your physical peak. Building lean muscle mass and bone density at this age helps you retain them in later years, and slows the decline of your VO2 max—the maximum rate at which the body can pump oxygen to muscles.
Your ability to be physically active throughout your 20s to 50s varies. Try a few of these activities to stay active:
- Try rugby, rowing, or boot camp with friends.
- Join a high-intensity interval training class.
- Make sure to diversify your exercise program to keep it interesting.
- Take up running.
- Tai-Chi can be excellent for balance and relaxation.
As you age, staying active might become harder, but it is one of the most important things you can do for your health. Some physical activity is better than none at all. Similar to individuals in the “adult” range, the idea is to “move more and sit less” no matter your age.
Older adults with chronic conditions know what their physical limitations are. If they cannot do 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity, they should continue to be as physically active as their abilities and conditions allow.
Here are some examples of moderate-intensity aerobic activities to keep you active as you age:
- Go for a brisk walk (or try your hand at jogging or running).
- Work on major muscle groups such as legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms.
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