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What Does Age Have to Do with Fitness?

September 21, 2010 Print This ArticleShare

Author: Michael Greeves

The short answer about the relationship of age to fitness is that everyone, no matter what age they are, needs to be fit. That being said, there are certain differences in fitness programs depending on age and stage of life. The true question about age is not if fitness is needed, but how it should be achieved.


Children have special fitness needs due to their age. Children should have some planned physical exercise every day. For young children, this might be movement games or simple exercises. Older children up to 12 years old need more vigorous activity each day. Sometimes that can come from an organized sport, if it is active enough.

Children also need periods of free play, at least one hour per day. During this time, they should move around and play imagination-oriented games or socially-based games that keep them fairly active. In any case, children should not be completely inactive for long periods of time. If your child sits or lies around for more than two hours outside of sleep time, it is time to take action.


Many teens rebel against fitness routines imposed on them by adults. They need to be active, but it is better to encourage them to find ways of getting exercise throughout their day than enforcing a strict workout routine. Walking or riding a bike to school may help. Socially-motivated exercise such as going to a beach party where everyone swims can improve fitness for teens.

When children get to be teens, they can really begin to benefit from weight training if they are so inclined. With the help of a coach or skilled parent, they can learn and increase their fitness. If teens are interested in sports, they may not want to only do the mandatory, at-school practice and games. They can also be encouraged to train for the sport in their off time to improve their performance. Again, as with younger children, teens should not be allowed to be totally inactive for long periods of time.


Healthy adults have many choices in how to pursue their fitness goals. They can do circuit training, interval training, play organized sports, play sports on an informal basis such as rounds of golf or sets of tennis, or do straight cardio or weight training. It helps to mix it up a bit to get a well-rounded workout, but the important thing is to be active every day. All during your young and middle adult years, you have the opportunity to put yourself in a position for a healthy older adulthood.


The elderly have fitness needs too. They will be healthier and live longer if they stay active to the best of their abilities. Yet, the activities they can do might be more limited. Instead of kick-boxing, a seventy-year-old might be better off doing tai chi. Instead of doing a high impact aerobics routine, the same person might prefer doing water aerobics. The main emphasis at all ages should be on being active.

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