Exercise has no age limit. This slogan of the mass sports a long, long time ago, in the 1980’s, revives increasingly nowadays. Bad living conditions, poor diet, stress and smoking, and working long hours as well, find an outlet in exercise of any kind.
What we see in Athens’ gyms is very common nowadays. People of all ages exercising at different paces according to their own individual needs and abilities. Avid fans of exercise stress that exercise really has no age limit; since everyone can exercise from a young age to their ripe senior years, as long as they follow specialised programs following the advice of the experts.
Mr. Giorgos Xiros, a trainer and group exercise specialist in seven of the biggest gyms in Athens, explains that the period between the ages of 20 and 30 is “the crucial period to acquire what we call ‘physical fitness awareness’. In other words, at this age people fully understand the benefits of exercise, and either they include it in their everyday life, or, most unfortunately, they reject it”. The period between 20 and 30 is also important, because “all the biological adjustments in the human body are performed at this age. The proper use and allotment of the training program sets the foundations for a good and healthy life”.
Since ‘physical fitness awareness’ has been acquired between 30 and 50, exercise for these people becomes “part of everyday life”, he notes. “The people in this age group are, in their majority, hard working people with “heavy heads” and “weak bodies”; that is they have many responsibilities and fast paces in their work and their personal lives in general. Exercise is the antidote to sedentary work, a poor diet and extreme amount of stress”.
Exercise after the age of 50 has certain particularities. “Stamina, strength and perception are gradually decreasing, while, on the other hand, the feelings of loneliness and marginalisation are increasing, particularly between 60-65”, asserts Mr.
Xiros. “What we are after at this age is to acquire a sense of well-being combined with mild exercise to avoid injuries”.
Physical trainers also note that people who are at the age of 50 or older should reduce high-intensity workouts. “As we grow older, we should lessen the intensity of our workout program, and we should always include the cool down period, i.e. with stretches etc”.
The proper warm up and cool down are an essential part of any exercise program. “It’s unthinkable to exercise without first warming up all muscle groups, otherwise we are at risk of injury”, notes Mr. Xiros, owner of “Studio One”, the biggest fitness education institute in Greece. “10-30 minutes warm-up, especially with aerobic exercise, raises the body temperature and promotes joint flexibility”.
Stretching after exercise and recovery techniques have the same purpose. “They release the lactic acid of the muscles, they relax and restore their minor injuries, to avoid more severe problems”.