Fit At Every Age

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Here’s how to stay strong through the decades

150 minutes. That’s how much time the World Health Organisation (WHO) recommends any adult should dedicate to moderate-intensity physical activity on a weekly basis. Proof that we need to be active, no matter the age. However, getting older translates to shifts in your body composition and energy levels. So, how should you modify your exercise conduct as you age?

20s: The fitness base

Ah, the wonder years. You easily get away with all those punishing late nights, bad food decisions, crazy fad diets and extreme fitness regimes. Forgetting that you will age at some point! For a banging body in your 30s, have a balanced mix of cardio and weight training. Not only does this provide some muscle definition, but it also helps stave off osteoporosis. Make sure you challenge your muscles by using weights that require some effort on your part. Rope in some body-weight training to build up resistance.

30s: Diversify your routine

As soon as you turn thirty, your metabolism begins to drop by at least 1% each decade. That’s why it’s much harder to shed fat. You won’t notice a huge difference between the ages of 31 and 39 if you exercise consistently and eat the right calorie-amounts for your age. Exercise variety prevents overuse-injury and imbalances from doing the same thing repeatedly. This age group also needs to maintain their flexibility and balance to preserve their range of motions and prevent falls.

40s: Preserve strength

The forties hit you with hormones, gravity, and a slower metabolism. Until now, your sex hormones have been protecting you from too much visceral fat. But as the hormones begin to decrease, the stress hormone -cortisol – can pretty much run wild. So instead of the fat landing on your buttocks, thighs or hips, it builds up in your tummy area, as well as, your arms, back and just below your bra. If that’s not bad enough, this fat sneaks up on you, so you should exercise religiously. Thus, the focus is on preserving muscle mass, burning calories and keeping your metabolic-rate high. Resistance training, such as working with weights, is your go-to regime; coupled with some cardio and stretching.

50s: Protect your core and heart

It’s been proven that the average woman puts on around five kilograms after menopause. Your body is also going to start dropping in some areas, posture-wise it curves forward and a potbelly is probable. Did we mention everything will begin to ache? Therefore, you are encouraged to strengthen your back and abs to prevent chronic back pain and the “dowager’s hump”.
This can be achieved by adding more activity in your life; with regular 30-minute cardio sessions of mild to moderate exertion, five times a week. Plus, an emphasis on intense stretching. Nevertheless, your exercise routine should work around these new-fangled pains. For example, if your knees are sore from running, hit the pool instead.

60s+: Prevention emphasis

Regular exercise is important to prevent chronic conditions, in addition to avoiding premature death. Falls at this age won’t be detrimental if you have strong bones and muscles, besides, great balance. A typical exercise regime could look like a 30-minute resistance regime, three times a week. Remember, at this age, it should challenge you, not exhaust you. Use much lighter weights in controlled, slower movements. Note: It’s highly recommended that you work with certified fitness professionals who have specialised in geriatric exercise. Since your ligaments and tendons are drier, they would be there to modify and monitor your movements to prevent injury.

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