Age-Appropriate Goals Are A Big Part Of Effective Exercise Routines
© Doug Champigny, http://flirtingwithfitness.com
All Rights Reserved Worldwide.
When planning exercise routines, age plays a big role in effectively designing workouts. What many don’t realize though is that age doesn’t affect the actual exercises to be included as much as it does the goals that should be set. While age will affect the poundage used or distances covered, of and by itself age does not include or preclude specific exercises.
What does change with age is the reasons why people are working out, and what they should expect from their continuing fitness efforts. Exercise routines for pre-teens and early teen years should be aimed at general fitness and some muscle mass gains, with less emphasis on strength training. At that tender an age the bones are still growing, so best not to make the muscles sufficiently strong to possibly inhibit that growth.
By their mid-teens and throughout their twenties, people have the optimum physiology for strength gains and building lean muscle mass. Their body’s ability to produce testosterone and human growth hormone will never be greater, and those are two of the most powerful muscle-building hormones available. During these years bodies recover faster from workouts too, allowing the athletes to train that much more intensely and more frequently. That being said, it’s important to counter their ego to stop them from going overboard – they need to focus on learning proper exercise form to prevent injuries that can plague them for life or injuries they might never recover from.
For those exercising in their 30’s, 40’s and beyond, the first issue is whether they’re still exercising and have been all along, are in reasonably good shape and looking to better it or are simply out of shape and looking to get back some of the fitness they’ve foregone over the years. While the top bodybuilders in the world currently are in their late 30’s and early forties, it’s important to realize that they have, for the most part, been building their bodies non-stop since their teenage years with few or no breaks along the way. Already gifted with amazing genetics, the Phil Heaths and Jay Cutlers of bodybuilding fame are extreme cases and the bulk of the population can never, and could never have, achieved their level of lean muscle mass.
By your thirties your body has started slowing down its production and release of the hormones you want, meaning you’ll need longer to recover from intense workouts and may need to try different exercise routines than those you may have used when you were younger, varying the sets, reps and weights being performed at each workout. Proper nutrition and rest become more important as you age as well, so these too need to be factored into your exercise programs. Obesity and Type 2 diabetes have both become plagues in today’s society and if either affliction has caught you in its net then you’ll need to watch your nutrition even more closely.
As you get into your 50’s, 60’s and the so-called ‘golden years’ there’s both good news and bad news… The good news is that your body will, in the absence of most serious conditions, respond much the same way to a proper exercise routine as it did when you were much younger. Your workouts will break down the muscles causing ‘micro tears’ in the cells and their attached stem cells will repair the damage making them stronger and eventually larger, and your energy levels should begin to rise again. The bad news is that these changes will happen much more slowly and you’ll need longer to work your way up to the level of exercise you may think you’re already capable of performing. Use the wisdom and patience of age to set reasonable age-related timeframes when planning your exercise routines.
There are even very good reasons for people in their 70’s, 80’s and 90’s to exercise with weights – progressive-resistance exercise can increase bone density, while increased flexibility and strength can go a long way towards avoiding falls and injuries and help you recover faster and more fully when they do occur. And at any age being more fit can aid your digestion and other internal bodily functions. Yes, you’ll have to start off with very light weights and be very gradual in working your way to heavier poundage, but most people will find the extra energy, strength and better health will make their life much more enjoyable.
One thing is constant when creating exercise routines for people of any age – never even design the workout for yourself or a client without the person having a full medical checkup with a doctor. Many of the underlying causes of heart attacks and strokes have no outward signs, and any form of exercise routine can exacerbate those conditions and hasten injury, disability or even death if allowances aren’t made when designing their workouts. Don’t take anything for granted – insist on the checkup first before designing exercise routines for people of ANY age.
Keeping the above in mind, from pre-teens to centurial athletes, everyone deserves to live the best, healthiest and happiest life they can – aid them by creating age-appropriate exercise routines designed to further those lofty goals!