Part of why we exercise is so we can continue to stay active later in life and stave off any health problems we can potentially prevent. However, we can’t assume that we’ll always be able to lift a certain amount of weight, or that we’ll have the ability to run as fast as we could as a teenager. What’s worked for our overall health in our 20s may not work during our middle-ages or our senior years. Here are some fitness tips by the decade that can assist adults in their quest to stay healthy and active, no matter your age.
In Your 20s
The good news about being in your 20s is that your body is likely to be as strong as it will ever be. Our bodies can endure a lot of positive physical activity, while building muscle along the way. Yet, those of us in our 20s tend to stay out later at night and make poorer diet choices more than any other demographic, which can be tough on our bodies. It takes discipline to set the course for steady activity during this decade, as every decade after will only add roadblocks to your routine, be they physical or mental.
Fitness Tips: Unless you suffer from a medical condition or a specific challenge, you should be able to exercise however you like. Think of it as laying out a roadmap for the coming years with muscle strength, flexibility, balance, bone density and cardiovascular movement. In general, approximately three days each of cardio and weight training per week is ideal, with one day of rest in between.
In Your 30s
The average age of first-time mothers in the United States has been on the rise since 2000. By the time you enter your 30s, you may be full-on into parenthood, which many would agree is its own form of exercise! Our careers may also play a part, as working out may often take a back seat to the demands of our jobs and our families. By age 35, if you’re lacking physical activity, you may start to encounter a loss of muscle mass and a decline in cardiovascular efficiency, increasing your chances of heart disease. Men in their late 30s also experience a loss of testosterone.
Fitness Tips: Cardio training is still an important piece of the puzzle, and dedicating high-intensity cardio at least 45-60 minutes per week is suggested. Exercises that strengthen your core are recommended too, as the belly can collect unwanted fat as we get closer to middle-age.
In Your 40s
The demands of life only increase as we get older, so the career and family experiences that started in our 30s will likely become more demanding. Recovery time from injuries or high-intensity workouts increases during this time span, so keeping strong is one way to combat these issues.
Fitness Tips: As our metabolism slows and hormones begin to change, weight training becomes increasingly important to maintain strong muscle mass and decrease the risk of thinning bones, also known as osteoporosis. Dedicating approximately 45 minutes to cardio five days a week – though with less intensity and impact as you did in your 30s – is recommended, along with 60 minutes of weight training about three times per week.
In Your 50s
The hormonal changes mentioned in the previous decade are now in full swing. Women can experience menopausal symptoms such as weight change, high blood pressure, hot flashes and mood swings. Men can expect a further decrease in testosterone, potentially leading to similar side effects as menopause in women.
Fitness Tips: Continuing to eat right can offset a myriad of oncoming problems, as can figuring out the correct supplements with your doctor. Stretching more often and for longer periods can make the most of any workout, and diversifying your routine by adding some fun classes will also keep things exciting. Lighter weight training and shorter bursts of cardio are also recommended.
In Your 60s
At retirement age, the potential for a sedentary lifestyle is greater than ever. The extra time you have on your hands should be put to good, healthy use. If grandchildren are in the picture, it’s likely that you will not be lifting them with the consistency of their parents, but keeping up with them is going to be a priority.
Fitness Tips: Resistance training with bands or light weights, light cardio, and chair workouts to increase balance and leg strength are all encouraged.
In Your 70s
At this stage of the game, maintaining functional independence should be a major factor in advocating for consistent physical activity. Reducing impact on your joints should also be a consideration, along with being in tune with your body in general. If an activity is hurting you or causing undue pressure, it’s best to consult your physician before you aggravate a limb or do more damage.
Fitness Tips: Attempting activities in the pool is an easy way to create a simple, resistance-based workout. Group activities that can get you moving yourself in every direction but at a measured pace – like yoga – will keep you not only social but also flexible.