So many aspects of life are dependent upon maintaining the best possible physical fitness, from performing one’s job at maximum efficiency to completing the myriad of other tasks faced each day.

In order to maximize efficiency and promote optimum health, attention must be paid to the requirements of sustaining good physical conditioning. It is imperative that those good habits that promote fitness are instilled early on and practiced from childhood onward.

Of course, the regimens for maintaining optimum physical fitness are different for those of different ages. What is appropriate for a child with boundless energy and an adult nearing retirement can differ significantly.

The basic needs remain the same – strong heart and lungs, and lean muscle, said Carey Long, a trainer at Spectrum Fitness in Baton Rouge and the author of “Real Life Fitness.”

“What needs to be factored in between the 20- and 60-plus groups is the volume of wear and tear on your body at 20 compared to 60 or more,” Long said.

Long noted that the typical 60-year-old has been exposed to more and, as a result, finds it harder to recover from extreme fitness bouts or high volumes of training through which the average 20-year-old can breeze.

“Joint wear and tear, and lower back, knee and shoulder pains are common as we age,” Long said. “These therefore should be factored into the individual’s workout plan.”

Also, a high percentage of 20- to 30-year-olds are still competing in recreational sports and some professional sports, Long said.

“When we age through our 30s to 60s, we should focus our programs toward controlling and improving body composition and improving our general fitness with a more balanced approach between strength and cardiovascular training,” Long explained.

Flexibility and stability become prime components when we start getting to the 50 to 60-plus age group, Long said.

“We wake up stiffer in the morning than our younger counterparts,” Long said.

“Aging does not have to mean getting old,” he added, “and it won’t if readers start to take some responsibility for their future health and longevity.”