Games and SportsHealth and Medical

To stay in shape, what sport to practice and at what age?

Physical activity has important health effects: it can stay in shape protect against a wide range of conditions, including heart disease , type 2 diabetes and certain cancers . But we don’t practice the same sports at 20 and at 60, nor do we train with the same intensity.

Childhood and adolescence

During childhood, physical activity helps control weight , build healthy bones , increase self-confidence and improve the quality and duration of sleep . For all these reasons, it is recommended that children engage in physical activity for at least one hour a day .

  • It is good to encourage children to try out sports that allow them to develop their abilities, such as ball sports or swimming;
  • Many unscheduled activities, such as those on playgrounds, are also suitable.
  • During adolescence, the habit of exercising tends to gradually decrease, especially in girls .
  • However, practicing a physical activity allows you to maintain a good image of your own body, which helps to better manage stress and anxiety . So don’t hesitate to:
  • Encourage teenagers to continue playing at least one team sport;
  • Explaining to teenagers who don’t like this kind of sport that swimming or practicing athletics is also a good way to keep in shape.

During your twenties

It is around the age of 25 that our physical condition is at its best, which translates into minimum reaction times and a VO 2 max (this represents the stay in shape maximum volume of oxygen consumed by the muscles during a physical effort) at its highest level. After this age, our VO 2 max decreases (a decline that can reach up to 1% per year ) and our reaction time slows down a little more each year .

boy running

  • The good news is that regular physical activity can halt this decline . Also, building muscle mass and bone density during your twenties helps maintain them later. For it :
  • Vary your workouts, and have fun doing it. For example, try rugby, rowing or boot camp type training (inspired by military training)
  • If you exercise regularly, take advice from a professional trainer to define a periodicity. This involves dividing your training into progressive cycles intended to deepen different facets (intensity, volume or type of physical activity, etc.) in order to optimize your performance.
  • If you have to participate in a planned sporting event, such as a triathlon, this approach can allow you to peak in performance before the big day.

During the thirties

Generally during this period, career and family life intensify. In order to slow physical decline, it is important to maintain good cardiovascular condition and sufficient physical strength.

If your job is sedentary, make sure your workstation allows you to stand in the correct posture. Break up long periods of sitting by forcing yourself to do some activity during the day. It could be simply putting your printer in the next room to force you to get up, or going up the stairs to use the toilet on another floor rather than yours, or even just getting up to pass your Phone calls. The ideal is to move every 30 minutes, if possible.

  • Exercise smart. Try high -intensity interval training (HIIT ). This involves interspersing high-intensity activities such as cycling or sprinting, which can bring your heart rate up to 80% of its capacity, with low-intensity exercises. This type of training is interesting when you have little time, because it can be practiced in 20 minutes;
  • For women, especially those who have had children, exercises to strengthen the pelvic floor muscles , sometimes called Kegel exercises, are a daily practice to help prevent urinary incontinence  ;
  • Diversifying your exercise programs can make them more interesting. For example, try boot camp, yoga, or indoor cycling (such as a spin class ).

The quarantine is coming, and with it the overweight

By midlife, most people begin to gain weight . Resistance exercises are then the best way to burn calories in an optimized way, to limit the accumulation of fat and stay in shape reverse the loss of muscle mass that begins from this period and can reach 3 to 8% per decade. Ten weeks of this type of training can increase muscle mass and resting metabolic rate (up to 1.4kg and 7% respectively), and decrease the proportion of body weight due to fat (by 1.8kg). To achieve these results, you can:

Your strength and fitness could indeed decline rapidly if you find yourself forced to stay in bed or become completely inactive. Then regaining your previous level of fitness can be complicated.

  • Practice muscle building with “kettlebells”, or start a weight training program in the gym;
  • Start running, if you don’t already run, and if so, start a more intensive exercise program. Running will give you a better return on investment than walking;
  • Pilates can also be helpful in strengthening core muscles, which can help prevent back pain, which often begins in this decade of life .

During the fifties

From the age of fifty, pain can appear and chronic diseases , such as type 2 diabetes and cardiovascular disease, manifest themselves. In women, as estrogen declines after menopause, the risk of heart disease increases. At this age, you can:

  • Strength training twice a week to maintain your muscle mass;
  • Practice exercises that involve bearing your own weight, such as walking (walk fast enough to increase your breathing rate and sweat);
  • Try new activities. For example, tai chi can be excellent for balance and relaxation.

During the sixties

In general, chronic diseases accumulate as we age, and age is one of the main risks for the occurrence of cancer . Maintaining a high level of physical stay in shape activity can help prevent some of them, such as postmenopausal breast cancer, colon cancer, or uterine cancer. Exercise also reduces the risk of developing certain chronic diseases like heart disease and type 2 diabetes.

men doing exercise for biceps

  • Physical activity tends to decrease with age, so stay active and try to go against this inclination:
  • Take up ballroom dancing, or other kinds of dancing: dancing is a fun (and social) way to exercise.
  • Practice exercises to build strength and flexibility twice a week. Water aerobics can be a good way to gain strength, thanks to the resistance of water.
  • Do not give up exercises with cardiovascular aims, especially brisk walking.

70 years and after

After the age of 70, exercising can prevent the fragility that accompanies old age as well as the risk of falls . It is also important for cognitive abilities .

Generally during this period, career and family life intensify. In order to slow physical decline, it is important to maintain good cardiovascular condition and sufficient physical strength.

If you go through a period of illness, try not to become sedentary, as much as possible. Your strength and fitness could indeed decline stay in shape rapidly if you find yourself muscarinic receptors forced to stay in bed or become completely inactive. Then regaining your previous level of fitness can be complicated.

  • Walk, talk. Rather than passively receiving visits from family members or friends, suggest that they go out for a walk together. Thus you will preserve your motivation, and will strengthen your health more effectively than by practicing solitary exercises.
  • Incorporate exercises into your training aimed at maintaining your strength, balance and cardiovascular capacity. However, take advice from a massage therapist or other professionals, especially if you suffer from chronic illnesses.

In the end, if we had to retain only one message, it would be this: never stop moving. Sustained physical activity is essential for maintaining good health.

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