Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Activities For The Young (and Young at Heart)

When we talk about most exercise programs, we are giving tips and techniques to the seemingly healthy adult population (ages 16-65). What about the ages before and after? We often neglect two of the most important populations: children and older adults. With increased television and video game usage, keeping out children active is more important than ever. Exercise is important in a child’s healthy physical and mental development. People are also living longer and as the Baby Boomers continue to age, there are more adults over 65 than ever before. Older adults need to keep moving to stay strong and mobile. Physical fitness is important at any age and is it easy to incorporate into a daily routine. Remember that you are dealing with different abilities and limitations that vary from age to age. If you are not sure, just ask! Most children and adults alike would be happy to tell you what they are able to do and what activities that they might enjoy. Please consult a doctor before beginning any new exercise program. A few easy activities are all you need to get them moving and healthy in no time:

For Kids
Fitness Classes
Kid’s fitness classes are becoming more and more popular. You can look for these at your local recreation centre or fitness club. They focus on body awareness and easy to follow activities.
Do It As A Team
Team sports are a great way to encourage socialization. Does you child love to kick a soccer ball? Sign him up on a team and let him play with his friends. Maybe she likes gymnastics. Find out where she can take some lessons.
Take It Outside
Encourage you children to play outside with their friends. Kids can be very creative and come up with all sorts of wonderful activities. They are exercising without even knowing it

Join Em’
Lead by example and make it a family affair! Take your kids cycling or go for a hike. Plan a family fitness day once a week. Your kids will love the time you spend with them and have fun getting fit!

For Older Adults
Stretch it Out!
Yoga has been around for thousands of year and is a great way to keep the body active and the joints mobile. It is gentle enough for all abilities and can be practiced anywhere.
Move and Groove
Do you like to mambo, salsa or chase? Maybe you like to jitter bug or waltz. Many different kinds of dance classes are available for all levels and are a fun way to keep moving and interact with peers.
Lift Some Weights
Weight bearing activities keep bones strong! Many fitness classes incorporate weight training for older adults or you can find a personal trainer to get the basics to make sure that you don’t overdo it.
Get Wet!
Swimming is easy on the joints and a great cardiovascular activity. There are also aqua fitness classes that help you use the resistance of the water to maximize your workout.

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