Growing older shouldn’t be a reason not to maintain, if not improve, our fitness, though, and it doesn’t have to be. There’s something for everyone within the range from high-intensity to low-impact workouts that can serve to achieve your goals. To help you continue on your fitness journey, we’ve compiled a guide of great advice from Bellevue Club’s personal trainers, with “get fit” tips for everyone, young and old.
20s Healthy Habits
Personal trainers Melanie Baker and Shannon Treybig agree that your 20s are the time to start forming healthy habits to last through life. According to Treybig, “You might think this is the decade to push your limits,” but, really, it is the time to “focus on developing functional fitness.” Here are some tips to keep in mind while getting fit:
Aim for at least 30 minutes of cardio per day. It doesn’t have to be training for a marathon—just walking the dog will do—but get in the habit of getting moving.
Start strength training. Women start losing bone density in their late 20s and, as Baker notes, “strength training is the only way to prevent bone density loss.”
Change your diet. It can be hard to resist the college diet of pizza and beer, but it’s important to make an effort to reduce portion sizes, eat more vegetables and drink enough water to start eating more healthfully before metabolism dwindles.
Tips for the 20s
“You might think this is the decade to push your limits,” but, really, it is the time to “focus on developing functional fitness.”
–Shannon treybig, BC Personal Trainer
30s Maximize Your Time
By the time year 30 rolls around, Treybig and Baker note, it can feel like “real adult life has set in” and it’s impossible to find time for fitness when “juggling kids, a career, and life.” Your 30s can be the fittest time of your life, however, if you can manage to make time for yourself and your health, which doesn’t have to be as impossible as it sounds:
Find what you love to do. Between yoga, rock climbing, trail running, golf and more, there’s an enormous variety of things you can do to stay fit. If you enjoy your exercise, you’re more likely to keep up with it—and that’s more than half the battle.
Try new things. Doing the same workout every time can be monotonous, and doing a variety of exercises and activities will work new muscle groups, leading to better overall fitness.
Do high-intensity interval training twice a week, alternating between cardio and weights. The intervals’ high intensity will burn a ton of calories, but be careful not to overdo it, as Treybig notes that “too much high intensity can easily lead to injury.”
40s Use It or Lose It
It’s around age 40 that our metabolism starts to really slow down, which can lead to seemingly inexplicable weight gain. At this critical juncture in life, it’s important to continue to commit to being fit, while also being understanding with your body and making proper adjustments:
Lower your impact. Baker observes that, in your 40s, “activities like running or step aerobics don’t feel as good as they used to on your joints.” Instead, try lower impact activities like swimming, biking or even Zumba.
Work on your core. Keeping your core and stabilizer muscles strong will help with balance and stability, in addition to helping stave off belly fat. Commit to five minutes of abdominal mat work each night and you’ll see (and feel) the benefits.
“Commit to be fit.”
–Ramses Chmait, BC Personal Trainer
50s Listen to Your Body
There’s nothing wrong with not being twenty anymore, but it’s critical to pay more attention to what your body needs. According to Baker, “At this age, exercise has never been more important to decrease risk of heart disease and obesity, raise good cholesterol levels, keep balance, reduce risk of injury and support higher levels of energy.” That said, don’t push too hard:
Warm up. Doing some dynamic movements and static stretches will not only reduce the risk of injuring yourself during your workout but also increase overall flexibility, which will help in the day to day.
Cross train. By switching up your exercise routine, you’ll work different muscle groups and have more fun. Plus, you’ll likely find new favorites to add to your regular routine.
Lift weights. Now, more than ever, it’s important to do load-bearing exercises in order to preserve strength and bone density.
Tips for the 50s
“At this age, exercise has never been more important to decrease risk of heart disease and obesity, raise good cholesterol levels, keep balance, reduce risk of injury and support higher levels of energy.”
–Melanie Baker, BC Personal Trainer
60s + Keep Moving
Age ain’t nothing but a number—unless you allow it to be. There are plenty of healthy, active retirees. More free time means more time to dedicate to staying healthy and active, so take advantage:
Lengthen your workouts. Switching to low-impact exercise can sometimes mean sacrificing intensity and health benefits. What 20 minutes of running used to offer now means at least 45 minutes of walking, but the time investment is well worth it.
Decrease weight, increase reps. Strength training continues to be important at older ages, but heavy weights can put undue stress on joints. Try increasing your number of reps to between 12 and 15 with a lighter but challenging weight.
No matter your age, achieving your fitness goals won’t be easy, but it doesn’t have to be hard. The most difficult and important tip we can offer is to, as trainer Ramses Chmait says, “commit to be fit.” Make small adjustments to your lifestyle and make being healthy a habit. It’s a new year and the next opportunity for you to become the best you can be, whether you’re 24 or 75.