Fitness At Any Age!

1 Aug

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An active lifestyle is important at any age – helping boost energy and immunity, manage symptoms of illness, pain and stress, as well as helping your memory, mind and mood. Exercise is key to healthy aging, but what do you need to focus on during the different stages of your life?  Follow this guide and be consistent!

During Your 20’s
Create your fitness foundation!  As we get older, we naturally lose muscle mass and bone density.  Starting a strength-training routine (such as pilates) now will help your body cope with the losses later on in life.   Keep it up 2-3 times a week.  Add a few cardio workouts in between and you’ll reap additional benefits – keeping your heart healthy and keeping extra weight off!

It also key to establishing good coping skills – shedding life’s stressors in a healthy manner with exercise instead of sitting on the couch with a bottle of wine.  These skills will make it easier in the long run to stick with your fitness routine.

During Your 30’s
Round out your exercise routine!  Cross-training is a great way to prevent imbalance and injuries.  For example, a swimmer might add cycling and running to the lineup, which will ensure a good mix of upper and lower body workouts. It’s critical that your fitness regimen also include balance and flexibility exercises to loosen tight muscles, preserve range of motion, and prevent falls—which is important now and as you age, says the National Institute on Aging.

Stretching is a simple way to maintain flexibility, and exercises such as heel-to-toe walks and standing on one foot will boost your balance. Activities like yoga, tai chi, or dancing are also good options.

During Your 40’s
Preserve muscle strength and fight the fat!  In our 40’s, both men and women start to lose muscle mass and start seeing a decline in metabolic rates  – resulting in a much slower calorie burn.  Settling into a job with extended desk time and with kids mostly grown, adults tend to decrease their amount of exercise and some stop all together, when it should be just the opposite.  A consistent exercise regimen  will help you keep fat gain, stress, and stress-eating in check.

During Your 50’s
Protect your core, protect your heart!  At this point, no matter how healthy or active your lifestyle has been, aches and pains will begin to crop up.   You will need to adapt your exercise routine to account for this.  For example, pain in your knees?  Stop running and find a pool or another exercise with less joint impact.   Our spine also begins to naturally start curving forward at this age, which can cause chronic back pain and also lead to that forward leaning hump.   Maintaining your pilates and yoga routine will help keep your core (including your back muscles) in check and your spine in alignment.

The American Heart Association (AHA) recommends 30 minutes of aerobic activity five times per week (with mild to moderate exertion) to preserve heart health as you age. It is just as effective and you can do it every day of the week without the fear of muscle fatigue or soreness.

During your 60’s
Let’s talk about prevention!  According to the AHA, by exercising regularly, you’re less likely to die prematurely from a chronic condition such as diabetes or heart disease. Staying strong through your 60’s will also improve your odds of surviving a fall, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention identifies as a high risk once you hit 65.  Also, your bones become more fragile and your tendons and ligaments become drier.

You need to be lifting weights at least once, but ideally two to three times per week for 30 minutes, alternating sessions of upper body exercises and lower body exercises. A simple resistance regimen can be enough – such as with pilates (either on a mat or on a reformer). Working in a private session with a certified trainer can help you maintain your routine and keep you from getting hurt.  Group class sessions are also recommended – the supervision from the instructor makes it safe and you may find working out with others more enjoyable!

During your 70’s and Beyond
Sustain, Sustain, Sustain!  You must continue to work on flexibility, balance, and strength. Vigorous activities are not necessary and the focus should be on simplicity and consistency.  Your routine might consist of arm raises with resistance bands and leg lifts, then some light aerobic exercises around a chair, followed by stretching.  Take it slow and always check to make sure your form is correct.

You are never too old to benefit from exercise!

Find the activities you love enough to do every day and a lifetime of exercise will seem like a gift, not a burden!  

~Dayna
PX Studio

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