We all know we should be active and exercise throughout all decades of our life, but sometimes it can be hard to know what we should be doing when and how much. And what if it's too late for us to even bother starting? Read on to find out a basic guideline for what you need to do to maximise your health and increase your life expectancy.
Is It Too Late?
Firstly, rest assured, that whatever your age, it is never too late to start exercising, and your body will benefit from physical activity, whatever your age. Admittedly, the sooner you start, the better, but improvements can be made, whatever your age and ability.
When you're a kid, it is relatively easy to get your recommended activity levels through park trips, dancing, football, and just being generally a young, active, average child. As we progress into our teens, it can get slightly tougher, but by the time we reach our 20s, often careers and adult life can get in the way of an exercise program. It's pretty easy to get away with not much exercise in our 20s and not suffer from too much weight gain, however this isn't to say that we should take advantage of this.
In our 20s, we build our fitness foundation. Making our bones and muscles as strong as possible during these early years means that when we lose muscle mass and bone density through ageing, we'll still be strong for years to come. Both cardio and strengthening exercises are important at this stage of our life.
During our 30s, it's important to ensure we are getting a well rounded exercise program. Instead of focusing on one sport, expand the selection, to prevent joint and postural problems in later life. Stretching, yoga or tai chi are great additions to any exercise regime.
Once we reach our 40s, hormones start to change the way our bodies work, and we often see muscle mass rapidly decreasing and visceral fat increasing. This puts our body under a lot of stress and puts us at risk of heart disease, diabetes and more. By ensuring we continue with both cardio and weight training workouts, we can keep our body younger and healthier.
Aches and pains are likely to start occurring in your 50s, so we need to concentrate on keeping your core strong throughout this decade in your life, as well as focusing on balancing (standing on one leg), and keep focusing on heart health. Yoga and pilates is a great option for overall health when you get to this stage in your life, and can also help to balance hormones, which can be especially beneficial in women.
30 minutes of aerobic exercise, 5 times per week of a moderate intensity is ideal. Adapt your regime to suit your changing body, for example, if you run and get sore knees, why not take up swimming instead!
Keeping your bones and heart strong through lifting and cardio workouts is still important. You don't need to be lifting heavy, nor working at a high intensity, just keep moving to prevent falls, injury and weakness.
When you reach your 70s and beyond, it is easy to lose flexibility and freedom of movement in your joints. By frequent stretching and frequent movement, you can limit these restrictions. Workouts on chairs can be great for people who are late to exercise and need adaptions, and don't be afraid to use a professional to make sure you are doing the right thing for you, and in the right way. A bad workout can be worse than none at all for injuries.
Exercise is a requirement for a long and healthy life. It shouldn't be a chore, more of a pleasure. So find something that works for your mind, as well as your body. You know your own likes and dislikes, there is something out there that you will love