S.H.E.: Getting fit at all ages

By Stacie Smith • Last Updated 12:05 pm on Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Being active is important in having a high quality of life, but maintaining activity is imperative to staying healthy for a lifetime.

Al Guilfoyle, owner of Club Fitness, offers tips for people to become active at any stage in life.

* Make exercising fun. Find an activity that will hold interest and get the heart pumping.

* Make working out relevant to experience and age appropriate. Begin with small steps and work up to more challenging exercise.

* Make it easy. Working out shouldn’t require a degree in exercise physiology and it should be accessible.

*Make it painless. The old adage of, “No pain, no gain” is not a necessary evil in becoming and staying active and healthy.

*Make it effective. Though reaching certain goals does require patience, improvement must be seen and felt in order to remain motivational.

It’s important for a person seeking a healthier life to take the time and sit down and speak with a fitness professional in order to assess goals and implement a plan. The plan should continue in increments and progress checked monthly to attain and see benefits.

Another component of being and staying active is starting at an early age. By getting kids active and making fitness a family event, parents, children and siblings can work as a team and motivate one another to stay on track.

Tiffany Duffield, fitness manager at Snap Fitness, offers advice for parents to get and keep their children moving.

Duffield’s children run the kids’ run at the Grand Rapids Marathon as pictured. Picture are seven-year-old Chloe Duffield (left) and nine-year-old Aspen Duffield (right). Courtesy photo

*When exercising to a DVD at home, invite the kids to join in. Duffields’ children enjoy knowing they can more easily perform and hold a yoga pose than she can.

*Take advantage of the amenities within the community. Montcalm County has a trail system that rivals much larger cities. Duffield’s children enjoy racing across the various bridges along the Fred Meijer Flat River Trail.

*Sign children up for local “Fun Run” events. Many area races offer this as an option and if Mom and/or Dad are running the longer event, it gets the entire family involved.

*Incorporate electronic devices with an active lifestyle. Duffield acknowledges video games are a part of childrens’ lives and chooses to have her children play along with the Nintendo Wii Nick Jr Fit edition in order to avoid lack of activity that is usually the case with video game systems.

*If sports or other physical activities do not hold children’s interest purchase a hula hoop or sidewalk chalk and play a game of hopscotch.

Duffield believes living a healthy lifestyle is easier to achieve and maintain when it begins in childhood.

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