Staying Fit As You Age

Children (0-12 year olds)

The importance of crawling
The cross crawl is the correct form of crawling. The baby needs to move both extremities opposite of each other. This allows the motor nerve impulses, which begin on one side of the brain, and cross over the brain stem to supply the motor activity to the opposite extremity. This uses both the right and left sides of the brain and enhances neurological coordination.

Get your kids outside as much as possible!
It is the best way for them to get exercise. Playing with siblings and friends outside makes it fun and creative. Encourage jump roping. Kids’ endurance is extensive compared to adults. Encourage activities such as jump roping for as long as possible as they age.

Music and the connection to math abilities late in life
Babies are more attracted to sounds that are melodic and rhythmic and have bold tones. When babies get a bit older, they make noise with anything they can get their hands on: pans, pianos, clapping hands, etc. This love for music and rhythm is an innate drive within us to find patterns and rhythms. Training the brain to detect rhythms and patterns is transferred over into math as they enter school-age. Research shows that students who participate in musical activities perform better in math later in life. 

Teens (13-20)

* Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Don’t skip it * 

Staying active is important! 
This is the time period when children get involved in more competitive team sports and activities. Allowing children to lead sedentary lifestyles (sitting inside watching TV or playing video/computer games) teaches them that it is ok to stay sedentary and not take an initiative in caring for their health and fitness.

Traumatic Brain Injuries
Traumatic brain injuries (TBI) are caused by an external mechanical force and are either “closed” or “penetrating” (opens skull). Concussions are a type of closed traumatic brain injury and are the most common form of TBI among teens. You can only protect kids and teens from TBI so much but they do occur. It is very important if your child suffers a TBI to seek medical help and do everything possible to prevent a second one. After a TBI, you will never be 100% but you can get as close as possible. Multiple TBI’s can be very serious if not deadly! Pulling your child out of a favorite sport after a TBI can be a “dream killer” for them but it can save their life.

Diet Soda
Diet soda, especially in females, leeches magnesium and calcium from the bones and can initiate the beginning of chronic migraines and low bone density. In addition, the human body does not recognize the artificial sweeteners used in diet sodas as a sugar. Because of this, these sweeteners are not broken down properly and are stored in the body. Over time, these storages contribute to weight gain not loss.

20’s + 30’s

* Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Don’t skip it *

Pre-workout and post-workout nutrition
It is important to have a balanced exercise program incorporating strength training, cardio, stretching, and proper nutrition. A large part of taking control of your body weight and fitness is timing your eating habits with your exercise.

Pre-workout: It is fact that your body needs glycogen (the stored form of glucose in your body) in order to burn fat. If no glycogen is present, your body will burn muscle for energy. Therefore, it is important to eat some sort of carbohydrate (bananas, Ezekiel bread, apples, and berries are great option) within 2 hours of the start of your workout.

Post-workout: Protein, protein, protein! When you workout and exercise, your body breaks down muscles in order for them to get stronger and larger. It is important to supply your body with protein after your workout. This enables your body to rebuild those muscles you just worked out. Lean meats (chicken, turkey, and wild fish) are great but a low-sugar protein shake is a quick and easy option too. Just add a scoop of protein powder to a liquid (water, almond milk, non-GMO soymilk, unsweetened fruit juice, etc.) and shake it up!

40’s + 50’s

* Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Don’t skip it *

Keep your muscle!
Similar to your 20’s + 30’s, it is very important to maintain a balance of strength training, cardio exercise, stretching, and nutrition. Muscle burns fat. Therefore, it is important to constantly be doing exercises that increase strength, simply so you don’t lose it. A slower metabolism is tightly linked to loss of muscle mass.

Lower Impact Exercises
Be aware of your knees and joints! Repetitive high impact exercise (i.e. running) can irritate and injure knees, hips, and other joints.

60’s +

* Breakfast is the most important meal of the day! Don’t skip it *

Staying Active
It is very important to stay active, even if it does not feel as easy as it once did. Daily walks, pool aquatics, and low impact weight training are good activities to keep up. Try exercises that are seated rather than standing if balance is difficult. Keeping a sedentary lifestyle is one of the worst things you can do for your health. Talk to your health care provider or a personal trainer for some great ideas that would compliment your abilities well.
Be a constant learner
Daily Sudoku puzzles, mind games, and crossword puzzles are great for keeping the mind sharp. Research has linked these fun activities with a decrease in Alzheimer’s occurrences. The brain is a true example of the phrase, “if you don’t use it, you lose it”. These games reinforce the brain’s logical thought processes, enhance problem solving abilities, improve concentration, and boosts mental sharpness.