Regular physical activity can offer many health benefits for people of all ages, shapes, sizes and abilities. Being physically active increases the amount of calories burned.
As we age, our metabolism slows down, so maintaining our energy balance requires moving more and eating less.
Physical activity simply means the movement of the body that uses energy. Walking, running, gardening, swimming, climbing the stairs, hiking, playing soccer, or dancing the night away are all good examples of being physically active. For health benefits, your physical activity should be moderate or of vigorous intensity.
Physical activities help you to;
- Increase your chances of living longer
- Sleep well at night
- Have stronger bones and muscles
- Stay at or get a healthy weight
- Move around more easily
- Decrease your chances of becoming depressed
- Feel better about yourself
If you are not physically active, you are at risk of;
- Heart disease
- Type2 diabetes
- High blood cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Physical activities for all ages
Every mature person is aware of the importance of exercise to maintain optimum health. But a lot of people don’t know how much physical activity is appropriate for them at their age. Additionally, many people wonder what kind of physical activity is a healthy exercise.
If you do not know how much or what kind of physical activity you should engage in for your individual health and fitness level, you should discuss concerns with your health care provider before starting a new exercise schedule.
- Physical activities for children
Physical activities are necessary for children to keep their mind sharp, keep them active, prevent obesity and it is good for their overall health.
Do encourage your children to participate in activities that are age-appropriate, enjoyable and offer variety.
Make sure they are doing three types of physical activity:
Aerobic activities should make up most of your children’s 60 or more minutes of physical activity daily.
These activities can include either moderate-intensity aerobic activity like brisk walking, or vigorous-intensity activity, like running. Make sure you include vigorous-intensity aerobic activity on at least three days every week.
Bone strengthening exercise
Bone strengthening activities, such as jumping rope or running, should be included at least 3 days every week as part of your children’s exercise for 60 or more minutes.
Muscle strengthening exercise
Make sure muscle strengthening activities like gymnastics or push-ups is included at least 3 days per week as part of your children’s exercise for 60 or more minutes.
- Physical activities for adults 18 t0 64 years old
To stay healthy or to improve overall health, adults need to do two types of physical activity every week: aerobic and strength exercises.
As you grow older, physical activities becomes more important than ever to your health. Exercising your body can help you boost your energy, maintain independence, protect your heart, and manage symptoms of illness or pain and your weight.
Exercising regularly is also important for your mind, your mood, and memory. No matter how old you are or your current physical condition, these exercises are enjoyable ways to become more active physically and improve your health and overall outlook.
To gain the health benefits of these activities, adults should perform at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity aerobic activity every week, 75 minutes of vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise weekly, or an equivalent combination of both moderate and vigorous-intensity aerobic exercise.
You should perform aerobic activity for at least 3 days every week so as to avoid excessive fatigue and reduce the risk of injury. This counts so far the aerobic activity you are performing is being performed at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.
Types of moderate aerobic activities are:
- Water aerobics
- Ballroom dancing
- Ballroom and line dancing
- Brisk walking
- Bicycling on level grounds or with few hills
- Using hand cyclers
- Sports where you catch and throw
Examples of vigorous aerobics are:
- Jogging, running or race walking
- Swimming laps
- Aerobic dancing
- Fast dancing
- Jumping ropes
- Heavy gardening
- Bicycling 10 miles per hour or faster
- Martial arts
- Sports with a lot of running
Although flexibility does not have any recommended guidelines to follow, it is also an important part of physical fitness. It plays an integral part in certain types of physical activities, dancing for example. Adults should perform stretching exercises in order to increase flexibility.
Activities that needs greater flexibility is much easier for adults who perform stretching exercises.
Muscle strengthening activities offer two benefits which are increased bone strength and muscular fitness. Adults should perform muscle-strengthening exercises at least 2 days weekly while including all major muscle groups which are the hips, back, legs, abdomen, shoulders, chest and arms.
One set of 8 to 12 reps of each activity is effective, but doing two or therr sets of 8 to 12 reps may be even more effective. Stronger muscles form after increasing the amount of weight or the number of days each week of exercising.
Muscle strengthening activities include;
Carrying heavy loads and
- Physical activities for older adults 65 above
Being physically active is especially important for the seniors’ health because regular exercise can help prevent heart disease, diabetes, and certain kinds of cancer, and it can also reduce pain associated with arthritis.
Improving balance, flexibility, endurance, and strength can help older adults to stay healthier longer.
Cardiovascular exercise combined with weight training and flexibility practice is the key to a well-balanced fitness program.
Any physical activity that increases your heart rate and sustains it for the amount of time you wish can be used to meet your heart and lung exercise requirements.
The body responds to strength training at any age. Strength training helps reduce symptoms of some common problems we encounter as we age, this includes arthritis, back pain, diabetes, osteoporosis, obesity, and depression.
Strength does not only involve building large muscles. Lifting weights only two or three times every week can increase strength by building lean muscle mass.
Studies has reported that even this small an amount of strength training can help increase bone density, overall strength, and balance and it can also reduce the risk of falls which can lead to fractures.
Strength training also strengthens muscles and helps strengthen bones.
Regular cardio exercise is important for every age group, but older adults may have more to gain from starting or continuing an exercise program.
Cardio does not only strengthen your heart and lungs, it also gives you more energy, sharpens your mind and helps you manage your weight.
Cardio can reduce the symptoms of anxiety and depression, and may even keep you looking and feeling young.
Do, moderate intensity cardio for 30 minutes, 5 days in a week
Vigorous cardio for 3 days in a week
A mix of both cardio 3-5 days weekly.
Being active physically offers the body a whole lot of benefits and it is essential for people of all ages.
However, in most cases it is important that you contact your health care provider to know which suits you best, especially if you have a medical condition. See more about us here.