The importance of movement at any age
Tests have shown that people at any age, regardless of prior physical ability, can improve their health and Wellness by taking up some gentle, regular exercise.
Everyone knows that moving about, getting your heart going and burning up energy is great, full stop. Tests have shown that people at any age, regardless of prior physical ability, can improve their health and well-being by taking up some gentle, regular exercise.
Even people at 80 years old and beyond can add years to their lives if they become more active.
Waiting until you are 80 years old might not be the best idea, however, as exercise plays particular roles in our health at all stages of the human life cycle, many of which are crucial to our development.
Here is why movement is so important at any age:
It is vital that babies receive some form of exercise for their muscle development and strength, so that they can eventually learn to roll, sit, crawl and walk.
Movement also helps make babies feel calmer and promotes important, restful sleep. Exercise is crucial in healthy development for later life too.
Young children's brains are still growing, but by doing physical exercise at this young age it's possible they'll make brain-muscle connections that allow them to enjoy activity and maybe even excel at it.
Those children who enjoy regular exercise will be less likely to become overweight.
Exercise during childhood also improves bone-strength, the immune system and reduces the chances of type 2 diabetes. Movement provides psychological benefits for children as well. It can also improve their attention/concentration span in class, boost self-esteem and reduce anxiety.
Aside from the obvious weight-control and fitness benefits, exercising in early adulthood boosts energy levels, increases confidence, maintains bone strength and develops a healthy heart and lungs, which will work better, for longer.
While at this stage, your lifestyle might comprise more sitting than moving, it's essential to make the effort to go to the gym, swim or run.
A sedentary existence - which largely starts here - is one which can very quickly get us into negative, lazy habits.
Exercise during your 20s and 30s is about getting into good habits, ones that can promote tough, strong bones and lower cholesterol - reducing the risk of a heart attack in later life.
By this point, your body will have changed and so too does your exercise focus. It's now as much about protecting bones and muscles, maintaining weight and flexibility as it is about preventing disease.
Your free time might be scarce, split between work and the family, but physical movement is vital.
You might be moving around less but consuming the same amounts of food, thus finding ways to incorporate exercise into every day life is key for the prevention of weight gain.
Exercise during this busy time also helps to alleviate stress, provides more energy and makes you feel better about yourself.
Walking to the station, playing with the kids in the park, shunning the lift for the stairs are all little ways in which you can keep active when life demands too much.
Those that have led an active life should find that they can continue exercising regularly, though perhaps not with quite the same intensity.
The phrase 'use it or lose it' definitely applies to exercising at 60 years plus.
The psychological benefits of exercising later in life are huge, keeping the mind active when you are retired is very important, not to mention the feel-good endorphins that flow through the body. Exercise is often a social activity, helping those who live alone to maintain relationships and have fun. Exercise can in many ways help maintain independence.
As you can see, exercise provides different benefits depending on where you are in the life cycle - assisting in both the development and protection of your body. Ultimately, keeping your heart going is a life or death decision and that's why movement is important at any age.