The best workouts for every age
Generally speaking, the older we get, the less we feel like the lean, mean, dynamic machines we once were. That creaking sound when we rise up from our beds in the morning is not a loose headboard, it’s an ageing set of limbs! The reality though is staying fit as we get older is as achievable and realistic as it ever was. The secret to reaching and preserving good health simply comes through careful exercise selection.
This is the reason footballers tend to hang up their boots in their late thirties, and gymnasts quit even earlier – the body just can’t cope with the hard, crunching or relentless demands of some activities; yet switching up lower impact pursuits, such as cycling, swimming, even walking, can and will preserve and extend health well beyond the years many of us believe possible.
Here’s our guide to appropriate exercise types for your age – see if you can get inspired.
You have time and energy, so this is when you want to get out there, explore different sports, try a variety of workouts and figure out what you really love. This decade is a time of freedom, with fewer people than ever in the 20-30 age group weighed down by childcare. What’s more, in the modern era, people can enjoy almost unrestricted access to the widest array of leisure pursuits.
Think team games, rock climbing, surfing, plus anything that is challenging and also offers a social aspect.
In career and relationships, your twenties are regarded as the decade of discovery, and that goes for fitness and health too.
The body’s metabolism begins to slow down in your thirties, so start including interval training into your workouts to burn fat effectively. You also begin to lose muscle mass – around a third of a pound per year – so lifting heavy weights once a week is a good way to build back what you’ve lost.
Also consider yoga and meditation for relaxion, as this decade is thought to be one of life’s most stressful, with job and family pressures beginning to build.
Your forties represent a vital time for exercise, and they’ll really determine how your body ages over the second half of your life. Cardio is vital to keep fat from settling on your abdomen (a leading cause of heart of disease), and weightbearing activities like hiking and jogging are particularly good for building bone density. Strength training is also a worthy investment for later on.
What you do in this decade is essential where building a platform for good health in later life is concerned.
They say life begins at 50, so make the most of your free time by taking up a hobby that inspires and challenges you, like tennis, dancing or hiking.
In this decade it’s also vital to maintain suppleness and flexibility, so consider attending a Pilates or yoga class to refine joint movement and build muscle memory.
Sixties and beyond
You may not think you need to focus too much on strength training in your sixties, but the opposite is true. Movement and energy at any age is essential, and studies have shown that physical activity can prevent a decline in the brain’s white matter, warding off strokes, as well as conditions such as dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Along with lifting moderate weights once a week, try to do 30 minutes of gentle aerobic activities like walking or gardening. Your body and brain will thank you.