It’s no mystery that exercise improves health, mood and makes for a more desirable physique. For most individuals, 30 minutes three to five times a week is effective in maintaining their health. When weight loss is the target, we need to up the amount of exercise and intensity to get our body into a state of deficit- where the calories we expend are greater than the calories we consume. Moderate-intensity exercises should leave you feeling like you can talk, but with an extra need for breath so that the conversation is limited. When talking is difficult, the exercise is considered high-intensity. Consider these general guidelines for your age:
For your 20s
- Maintain a healthy weight. That metabolism won’t last forever and obesity brings consequences- high blood pressure, diabetes, infertility. Achieving and keeping a healthy weight now will make it easier for the future and can help you keep your joints happy for years to come.
- Build bone. This is the last decade of your life where you are increasing your bone mass. Consider weight training, walking and running. Many sport that are considered high impact are beneficial to the bones, but can cause increased stress on joints- decide what activities are best for you given your health and your family history.
- Balance mood. Get moving to increase endorphins and improve sleep.
For your 30s
- Mix it up. If you’ve been set in a routine, try to find new challenges by starting a new activity, working out with a partner or using a personal trainer.
- Enjoy the season and get outside. Most of us spend much of our time indoors. Let your exercise routine take you outside- hiking, cross-country skiing, kayaking.
- Reduce stress. Begin incorporating stress reducing routines into your regimen. A yoga class may be just what you need or perhaps begin with 5 minutes of deep breathing post workout. Taking the time to relax now will serve you through all your decades.
For your 40s
- Maintain bone. Keep that bone you built in your 20′s by lifting weights and lighter impact sports- walking, Zumba.
- Be good to your back. Core work is a must to keep your back happy. We’re not talking six pack, we’re talking a strong foundation to prevent injury. Consider a Pilates class to introduce you to some of the principles involved in training your core effectively.
- Stretch. This goes along the lines of injury prevention, but can also double as a relaxation technique. It may be just what you need to relieve those aching muscles.
- Move for your mood. When we feel down exercise can be one of the last things we want to do. Regular exercise can help minimize those “down” days and can improve mood.
For your 50s
- Balance. Not just the routines, but literally, balance. Find a way to challenge your equilibrium with dance, tai chi, yoga or other activities.
- Protect your heart. Keep up a good cardio routine. If considering starting up a cardio program, meet with a professional- have a screening physical or make an appointment with personal trainer specialized in cardiac health. You want to work at the best level for your heart’s health.
- Maintain muscle. Keep strength training and work to correct muscle imbalances (weaker versus stronger muscles).
For the 60s and beyond
- Movement everywhere. Maintain the full range of motion in your joints and try to get everything moving every day. Focus on countering routine positions- sitting, looking down, etc.
- Socialize & Exercise. Walking groups, dance classes, tai chi- group activities can provide a social outlet and make you feel a sense of community. Who better to hang out with than those who share your common love (or hate) for exercise.
- Strengthen your legs. Strong legs have been shown to result in fewer falls. Squats, lunges, bicycling can be a good place to start.
If you aren’t sure where to start because of specific health concerns, talk with your primary care physician about what would be best for you.
What are you doing to stay fit? I’d love to hear what works for you and what keeps you motivated.