People can improve their health by participating in an exercise regiment tailored to their own age.
"You are never too old to start and the benefits can be seen very quickly," said Jeff Queer (pronounced Kwar), fitness director at the Chambers YMCA in Wheeling.
He said if a person began an exercise program on his or her 80th birthday , that person's health would improve dramatically within three months.
Photo by Fred Connors
People of all ages can improve their health by exercising properly, according to Jeff Queer (pronounced Kwar), fitness director at the Chambers YMCA.
When you're in your 40s, physical fitness is especially important, as it can help keep your heart healthy and stress down.
"Exercise becomes more important as people age," Queer said.
"It can result in significant improvements in strength, range of motion, balance, bone density and mental clarity."
He said a person should consult with a physician before starting an exercise program to define health risks or other limitations.
"After you get medical clearance, you might want to consider having a few sessions with a personal trainer who can guide you toward a proper exercise program suited to your individual needs," he said.
Queer said people new to exercising should become acquainted with the various cardiovascular machines available.
"A trainer will give you a good overview of the machines and make sure you are using them properly and for the right amount of time," he said.
"He will also teach you to warm up properly before beginning.
"Warm-up is critical because it can reduce incidents of injuries in older people."
Queer suggests people not be overwhelmed by the process.
He said, "You should start slowly, work at your own pace and never compare yourself to others around you."
An ideal fitness program begins with simple walking for 20 to 30 minutes, three or four days each week. Exercise should be progressed gradually with plenty of rest time between sessions.
"As you age, your body requires more time to recuperate," he said.
Queer said you can determine your intensity level by listening to your body.
"I tell people to continue until they become winded," he said.
"You should be able to speak in your normal voice and tone during your exercise session. If you are winded and unable to speak normally, then you need to lower your intensity by slowing down."
Another big key for those in their 40s, particularly people who have not exercised or lifted weights since high school or college, is to take it easy - in essence, realize you're not 20 anymore.