Getting fit should be far from a one-size-fits-all approach; least because a) people have different goals and b) even if our aims aren't dissimilar, our body compositions certainly are - so how we should train is something very unique. When it comes to age, the aforementioned becomes even more valid. As you grow older, change appears at every corner: your career progresses, your outlook evolves and your responsibilities increase - so why should your workouts remain the same?
These early years should be about having as much fun as possible because life is only going to get busier from here on in! We recommend joining a variety of sports teams to learn essential life skills such as, effective communication and what good sportsmanship looks like. These years are also important for laying solid foundations, both aerobically and in terms of strength. By focusing on repeatedly and correctly executing motor patterns such as hinging, squatting, pushing, pulling, lunging and rotating, you'll put yourself in good stead for better mobility and flexibility in the future
For most of us, this period marks the beginning of our adult lives as it usually involves the transition from school or university into the working world. As a lot of our free time begins to disappear, it’s not easy to find time to exercise, let alone get involved with team sports. Our advice? Encourage your colleagues to help you create a work sports team and play weekly matches. At the start of your professional life it's crucial to establish a 2-3 times a week routine which you are committed to stick to. Socialising will always get in the way, but if you start good habits now they will only be cemented as time goes on. Resistance training should also not be forgotten; the muscles you build now will play a huge role in how your body develops going forward.
Often referred to as the most chaotic decade as we struggle to juggle kids, a job, a social life, exercising and sleeping! We're big believers in adapting your workouts to suit your routine: e.g. squeeze in sprints while on long family walks; lunge or squat while playing with the kids.
2-3 strength training sessions a week to focus on maintaining strength, flexibility and cardio fitness is also recommended and here’s why: between the ages of 30-35 both men and women reach the peak of their bone density. This means that bones are weaker, increasing the risk of breaks from a sudden bump or fall. Bones can become less dense as we age for a number of reasons, including: an inactive lifestyle which causes bone wastage or hormonal changes – e.g. in women, menopause triggers the loss of minerals in bone tissue.
More bad news…your 30s is also the decade in which your muscle mass begins to decrease by approximately 5% every 5-10 years. (A total of 35-40% of strength will be lost throughout an individual’s lifetime). However, this can be counteracted by strength training.
As bone density further declines it’s now more important than ever to exercise in a smart and structured way. Some may start to experience discomfort or pain in their hips, knees or shoulders which are areas most affected by working conditions, bad posture, previous injuries or sport. This might be the ideal time to invest in the expertise of a personal trainer, especially if you are lacking motivation and structure.
Especially if suffering from injuries, at this stage it can be too tempting to start using your age as an excuse to exercise less. But remember, that decline you're feeling in strength, flexibility and energy will only decrease further if you don't do something about it!
As you enter your fifties, the problem areas that caused discomfort in your forties might be worsening and there are a few figures to be aware of: 45-64 year olds are at the highest risk of developing diabetes; 54-64 year olds are the age group with the worst statistics for obesity - with only 27% falling into the healthy weight category. These statistics can be scary, but we want to share them with you and reassure you that while your previous years of hard work do play a vital part, it’s never too late to become more health conscious. Don’t set unrealistic and drastic weight loss targets! Instead, dedicate time towards consuming more nutritious food and keeping active - weight loss will be a bi-product of this. It can be easy to feel reluctant to exercise, but this decade really will make a tremendous difference to the following 20+ years of your life.
For many, our sixties mean retirement: less work and more free time. But there is also a fundamental change of routine which can take time adapting to. We suggest low impact activities such a cycling, golfing, swimming and hiking; all fantastic ways to exercise the heart, maintain strength and remain as mobile and pain-free as possible. Let’s quickly touch upon heart rate: as we age, the maximum heart rate we can push to when exercising decreases dramatically – in our sixties we shouldn’t be striving for higher than 150-160bpm.
Until this point you have been enjoying the mobility and flexibility that you were born with (to some extent), now, you finally get the body that you deserve. While this fact is scary, it can also be incredibly rewarding proof of how committed you have been to your health throughout your lifetime. Think of it like a pension: the more you commit to putting in, the more you get when you really need it.
While your strength is now around 40% less than when you were at your peak, the reward for your dedication will be stronger, less dense bones to help you avoid falls and also aid faster recovery if you do have an accident. It’s not all over yet though – you’re never too old to exercise and keep active: gardening, walking and mobility/low impact exercise classes are all encouraged.