Fitness for Life- Young & Old
Most of us associate playing sports and keeping fit as something we do only in school, through scheduled physical ed classes, or clubs. After leaving school, chances are that a large percentage of us will stop being involved in sports activities, citing reasons of work or family commitments. I am guilty as well, but it is just as important to stay fit throughout the various stages of our life as it is in childhood and in our golden ages. Regular physical activity helps to improve our overall health and fitness as well as to reduce the risks of chronic disease. Staying healthy and fit is fard (obligatory) on us as Muslims and being fit and healthy facilitates our daily activities, our Ibadah.
But what are age appropriate activities? No time to exercise due to family – how about taking up sports together as a family?
Children aged 6 to 17+ should be doing at least 60 minutes (1 hour) of physical activity a day. This should include aerobic activities, such as moderate intensity aerobics, brisk walking, and vigorous intensity aerobics (jogging) at least 3 times/wk.
As adolescents they will also need muscle strengthening (gymnastics, push ups) activities 3 times/wk and bone building (jump rope, running) activities too.
Gymnastics is great example of vigorous aerobic, muscle strengthening as well as a bone building activity.
Encourage your child to be physically active by being a positive role model when you walk or jog together as a family, or take up a sport together, get them equipment which encourages physical activity, take them to outdoor parks, and bring them to games to develop their interests. Make activities fun.
Adults, age 18 to 64
To attain important health benefits adults need at least 2 1/2 hrs (150 mins) of moderate intensity aerobic exercise (brisk walking) a week, PLUS muscle strengthening activities at least 2 days a week that works ALL major muscle groups (legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders and arms) OR 75 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity (running, jogging) per week and muscle strengthening activities on 2 or more days a week that works all major muscle group as above. OR adults can do a mix of moderate and vigorous aerobic activity and muscle strengthening activities.
150 minutes each week sounds like a lot of time, but it’s not. The good news is that you can spread your activity out during the week so you don’t have to do it all at once. You can even break it up into smaller chunks of time during the day. It’s about what works best for you, as long as you’re doing physical activity at a moderate or vigorous effort for at least 10 minutes at a time.
For even greater health benefit, older adults should exercise more. 5 hours (300 minutes) moderate intensity aerobic exercise plus muscle strengthening activity OR 150 minutes of vigorous intensity aerobic activity plus muscle strengthening activity. More time implies better health.
Some examples of moderate aerobic activities are:
If you go beyond 300 minutes a week of moderate-intensity activity, or 150 minutes a week of vigorous-intensity activity, you’ll gain even more health benefits.
- Walking fast
- Doing water aerobics
- Riding a bike on level ground or with few hills
- Playing doubles tennis
- Pushing a lawn mower
Examples of vigorous intensity aerobic activities:
- Jogging or running
- Swimming laps
- Riding a bike fast or on hills
- Playing singles tennis
- Playing basketball
Muscle strengthening activities include:
- Lifting weights
- Working with resistance bands
- Doing exercises that use your bodyweight for resistance (i.e., push ups, sit ups)
- Heavy gardening (i.e., digging, shoveling)
For adults over 65 who are generally fit and free from any limiting health conditions may follow the same guidelines as above.
Lets keep fit and stay healthy all through our lives.