The importance of exercise at all ages
By Mike Manfro, Performance Coach and Director of Fitness at 360 Health and Fitness
The way I see it, there are three reasons to work out. The first is for your health and longevity. The second is to be able to save your own life if you need to. For instance, if you fell in a lake, would you have the strength and endurance to pull yourself back in the boat and survive? And the third reason is to be able to save someone else’s life in a similar situation. For most people, the main benefit of exercise is good health as they go through all of life’s stages. It enables them to live a life with less joint pain, more flexibility and strength, and a real sense of well being. So exercising through all life stages is really important to your health.
How to get motivated? Motivation comes from inside yourself. It’s not all me as a trainer who motivates. My job is to put people in an environment where they can be successful and also relaxed and having fun. The fun is important, because if you’re not having fun, what are you doing here? Time flies when you really move for an hour. My clients say, “Oh, it’s already been 45 minutes?” What they want is to feel successful and get the high-fives after a workout.
An hour of exercise is 4 percent of your day. Make the rest good. Kick ass and adjust the other 96 percent positively.
Kids get exercise by running around while they’re playing and between the ages of 5-7 years old, you can start educating them about fitness. Just be sure to make it fun. Make it a game. They’re still learning about motor skills, body recognition, and body awareness. For instance, they need to understand what their feet are doing and where they are when they are running. When I work with younger kids, I have them play a game like tag, where they’re working on change of direction and running and they’re not realizing that they’re working on their agility per se. In terms of using weights, some kids can start in their early teens, but you need to be sure your kid is ready and be sure they’re not going through a growth spurt.
High School and College
This is a time in which some kids play a lot of sports, and they can work out harder, which will carry them through their early adult years. But even if your child doesn’t play a sport, regular exercise can improve his or her sleep, brain processes, and more. It produces a snowball effect that starts with getting better sleep, which leads to feeling better, which increases confidence, which ultimately positively impacts the student’s performance in the classroom. Encouraging your student to establish solid, healthy habits during their teen and college years will lead to healthy habits as an adult.
This is the time when you should be working out, because that’s where you start seeing a decline in health. People start careers, which means they go from being active to sitting 16 hours a day. Sitting is just terrible for you. Everyone needs to take 10-15 thousand steps a day, and some people barely take that many in a week.
Seniors are a group that is coming in to exercise more and more, and the reasons are usually declining strength, health, and doctor recommendation. But a lot of them recognize it for themselves and say to me, “I’m losing my balance, I have to hold the handrail when I go down stairs, and I never used to have to do that,” or “I really want to keep up with my grandchildren.” Balance is hugely important so we work on motor skills and strength and do a lot of core work; if you haven’t exercised in 30 years, and you’ve been sitting, you have no core strength. Sometimes for the first 30 minutes of the class we stay on the ground, working on standing up and sitting down and holding a plank and getting into a seated position without falling back over. Then on the other hand, I do see older people who are thin and strong and have been working on strength into their sixties and seventies, and their heart can handle more exercise.