Here’s how to get fit – and stay fit – as you age
As your metabolism slows down with age, it’s important to maintain a healthy weight and active lifestyle. However, the level of activity may change from your 20s to your 50s.
Steve Gasser, fitness specialist at Advocate Good Samaritan Hospital’s Health and Wellness Center in Downers Grove, Ill., says staying active at any age helps boost energy, maintain a healthy weight and can lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, heart disease and even dementia.
“It’s never too late to start a fitness routine. Believe it or not, light – meaning easy – cardio can be very helpful for the bones and can improve movement. If you haven’t worked out in years, take long walks if you can. Start out three or four times a week. As you become more mobile, try a fitness class that fits your workout level,” says Gasser.
Exercise also improves strength, flexibility and posture, which helps with balance, coordination and can reduce risk of falls.
So what’s the right fitness routine for your age?
- 20s – Focus on activities such as cardio exercise and strength training to increase lean muscle and shed fat.
- 30s – As metabolism starts to decrease, the best workouts include high intensity interval training (HIIT) or kettlebell for cardio and strength training in addition to yoga or pilates for flexibility and stress relief.
- 40s – Continue to build muscle mass through kettlebell, yoga, pilates, biking and swimming.
- 50s and above – Stay active and continue resistance training in order to maintain muscle mass. Also work on flexibility through yoga or chair yoga.
“It’s all about adding more activity to your daily routine. Regardless of age and physical condition, it’s never too late to get moving. And don’t discount walking or hiking on your off days, especially if you don’t have issues with your knees, hips or feet,” says Gasser.
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About the Author
Johnna Kelly, healthe news contributor, is a manager of public affairs and marketing at Good Samaritan Hospital in Downers Grove. She is a former newspaper reporter and spent nearly 10 years as a public relations professional working for state and county government. During her time as a communications staffer for the Illinois General Assembly, she was integral in drafting and passing legislation creating Andrea's Law, the nation's first murderer registry. In her spare time, she volunteers at a local homeless shelter, enjoys traveling, photography and watching the Chicago Bulls.