Fitness is the Goal

Admin@ | May 5, 2018 | 0 | Health

Fitness for all

Fitness improves health and quality of life for everyone, no matter our age or ability. It’s as important for seniors as it is for children, as vital for people with physical disabilities or chronic illnesses as it is for those in shape.

It’s prime time: fitness for adults

You are living the best years of your life. The growing pains of adolescence are over, and you are not yet subject to the infirmities of age. Now is the time to get up and get moving. Use the vigor of your middle years to develop habits you can keep for a lifetime.

Be sure to build some kind of activity into every day. It need not take a lot of time, but it may mean trading some less active pursuits for those that enhance fitness.

Your goal should be 30 minutes of activity a day, but if that seems hard to schedule, start with 15. Chances are you will quickly feel the benefits and want to do more, not less.

The trick is to find something that suits your interests and feels like fun. You don’t have to join a gym, but you might consider ballroom dancing. You don’t have to take a morning run, but how about a lunchtime stroll? You don’t have to buy fancy exercise equipment, but what about dusting off that bicycle in the garage and taking it for a spin? The possibilities are limitless.

Make it a family affair

If you have children or teens, do them and yourself a favor by making fitness part of your family values.

According to, not a single state in the country mandates daily physical education in schools. The most recent figures show that less than one quarter of American high school students spend 30 minutes one or more times a week in gym class. Among elementary and secondary schools, fewer than 36 percent offer daily physical classes of any sort. Is it any wonder that young people are more overweight and less fit today than in previous generations?

Don’t rely on schools to provide enough physical activity for your children.

Habits formed in childhood will last a lifetime: If you raise your children to be physically active, the chances are good that they will grow up to be active, and fit, adults. One of the best ways to ensure this is to be a good role model yourself. If you follow an active lifestyle and make fitness the goal, your children are more likely to do the same. On the other hand, it will be hard to sell them on fitness if they see you sitting around all day.

You’re never too old

My mother is comfortably into her 80s. Every morning before breakfast, she does 20 minutes of stretching exercise. Before dinner she swims 10 laps. Twice a week she goes to an exercise or yoga class, and on off days she takes a brisk walk. She can touch her toes, climb a flight of stairs without panting, and she passes her annual physicals with flying colors. More important, though, she has all her marbles and a positive outlook on life. There is no question that her years ¬≠long habit of regular physical activity is responsible. But even older people who are not blessed with my mother’s vigor and good health, or who did not get her head start on fitness, can make physical activity part of their daily lives.

As we grow older, we naturally lose muscle mass. Hormonal and other age-related body changes mean the muscle-building days are over.

Don’t stop exercising as you age, it’s important to keep the muscles you have in good tone.

If you are an active older person, keep it up. If activity is not a regular part of your day, it’s not too late to make a change. And if you have used your age as an excuse for inactivity, consider this:

  1. Weight-bearing exercise, such as walking, slows the bone loss that leads to osteoporosis.
  2. Stretching exercise relieves stiffness and increases flexibility.
  3. Strength training exercise, even with very light weights, improves posture and balance. It also strengthens muscles, which takes the stress off arthritic joints.
  4. Aerobic exercise preserves heart health and endurance.
  5. For older people, fitness = independence. Regular exercise will benefit both mind and body, keeping you alert and able.

Focus on the abled part

There is no question that among the challenges faced by people with physical disabilities is how they can be active and stay fit. It is not impossible, but it takes an extra effort and often assistance from others to find accessible and appropriate activities.

Depending on the disability, some parts of the body may be more able than others to lift, bend, stretch, and move. Achieving aerobic intensity mayor may not be possible, but strengthening some muscle groups may be a reasonable aim. Maintaining good flexibility is another benefit worth striving for.

People with disabilities should consult with their doctor or visit about what they can and should be doing to stay fit. They may benefit from the help of a physical therapist, personal trainer, or special equipment, and they may be eligible for assistance in covering the cost.

Fitness is a lifestyle choice

Do you want to know the real weight-loss “secret”? It’s not a special diet. It’s not a supplement or pill. It’s not a device or medical procedure. The real secret of achieving and maintaining a healthy weight is to get and stay fit. Without any doubt, you will find that an active lifestyle will help you lose weight. It will also keep you focused in a positive and energetic way that will make everything you do easier.

Leading an active life is a habit, just as being a sedentary stay-at-home is. And like any habit, ‘you tend to do it without thinking or planning. It just comes naturally. And you miss it when you don’t do it. But how wonderful to form a habit that is good for you.

The trick is simply to replace bad habits with good ones.

  1. If you spend the first hour of your day watching a morning news program while dunking a donut in your coffee, why not watch the news while stretching instead? Or don your headphones and listen to the news while you take a morning walk or run?
  2. If you take a midday break by snacking while phoning a friend, why not arrange to meet your friend and go for a walk instead?
  3. If your idea of “quality time” with your kids is to pick them up in the car after school, swing by the local fast food emporium, and then spend a few hours watching television with them, why not meet them with bikes or skates and take the long way home?
  4. If you spend your weekends at the mall, why not try going for a walk in the woods or spend a day at the gym instead?

Can you think of other habits you can change so they spell FIT instead of SIT?


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