Fitness pros may want to put more emphasis on kids’ fitness to ensure that more adults choose an active lifestyle and become fitness enthusiasts.

A research review of 574 studies of physical activity behavior patterns over a lifetime shows that, for many people, an inactive lifestyle begins as early as 7–10 years old. While most of the studies showed that inactive individuals tended to remain inactive, a few studies found subgroups of adults and older adults who increased their activity levels.

“Despite the common declining tendency of physical activity throughout the life course, being physically active in childhood and adolescence may be of high importance since it can postpone the time of becoming inactive later on,” said Irinja Lounassalo, lead study author and PhD student at the University of Jyv├ñskyl├ñ in Finland. “Since physical activity behavior stabilizes with age and inactivity is [a] more persistent behavior than activity, interventions should be targeted at children early in life before their habits become stable.” More research is needed to help us understand how groups of formerly inactive adults become active in later life.

Look for the study in BMC Public Health (2019; 19 [1]).

Shirley Archer, JD, MA

Shirley Archer, JD, MA, is an internationally acknowledged integrative health and mindfulness specialist, best-selling author of 16 fitness and wellness books translated into multiple languages and sold worldwide, award-winning health journalist, contributing editor to Fitness Journal, media spokesperson, and IDEA's 2008 Fitness Instructor of the Year. She's a 25-year industry veteran and former health and fitness educator at the Stanford Prevention Research Center, who has served on multiple industry committees and co-authored trade books and manuals for ACE, ACSM and YMCA of the USA. She has appeared on TV worldwide and was a featured trainer on America's Next Top Model.

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