By the num­bers: How to de­ter­mine your work­out de­pend­ing on your age

The Hamilton Spectator - - HEALTH - LIND­SEY METRUS Byrdie

Let’s face it: as we get older, our me­tab­o­lism takes a huge hit.

Ac­cord­ing to Dr. Peter LePort, med­i­cal di­rec­tor of the Me­mo­ri­alCare Cen­ter for Obe­sity at Orange Coast Me­mo­rial Med­i­cal Cen­ter in South­ern Cal­i­for­nia, it gen­er­ally starts to slow down af­ter age 30.

But for the es­pe­cially un­lucky, it hits a wall well be­fore that, which means fewer pizza binges and mind­less snack­ing and more mind­ful eat­ing and ex­er­cise.

Which brings us to our next point: be­ing ac­tive at ev­ery age is im­por­tant, how­ever, as our bod­ies change, the types of ex­er­cises we should be do­ing change, too. The ex­tent that you push your­self at age 20 shouldn’t be the same ex­er­tion level at age 40, and your chang­ing body com­po­si­tion re­quires dif­fer­ent shifts in ex­er­cise.

That’s why we reached out to two fit­ness ex­perts: Strong by Zumba in­struc­tor Anna Bald­win, and Lacee La­zoff, trainer at the Fhit­ting Room, to find out the best ex­er­cises for your 20s and be­yond.

Want to learn more? Let’s get to it.

In your 20s

“In your 20s, you want to be lean, fit, and mus­cu­lar, so the best types of work­outs you can do are strength train­ing, specif­i­cally body-weight cir­cuits or lift­ing heavy weights,” Bald­win says.

She ex­plains that do­ing th­ese types of ex­er­cises in­creases lean mus­cle, sheds stub­born fat, helps you sleep bet­ter, torches calo­ries, boosts me­tab­o­lism and cre­ates a good habit for a healthy lifestyle.

Along with weight lift­ing, Bald­win rec­om­mends car­dio as a stress-re­lease from school and work. We also tend to eat poorly, so be­ing phys­i­cal will help burn those ex­tra late-night calo­ries.

La­zoff rec­om­mends be­ing more ex­plo­rative (es­pe­cially for Gen Z/Y who are deep in the age of In­sta­gram-able fit­ness stu­dios and classes).

“This is the best time to stay ac­tive con­sis­tently, but mix it up: this could mean train­ing for a half marathon, learn­ing how to box, learn­ing to surf, prac­tis­ing yoga, or sweat­ing with friends in group fit­ness classes,” she ex­plains.

“Your 20s is also a great time to in­cor­po­rate strength train­ing into your weekly rou­tine two to three times per week with weights or your own body weight.”

In your 30s

“The 30s are all about con­sis­tency,” La­zoff ex­plains. “This is when ca­reer and fam­ily life typ­i­cally take off, so time is at a pre­mium. Find a time-ef­fi­cient work­out you love that in­cor­po­rates strength train­ing or car­dio and func­tional move­ments.”

She rec­om­mends high-in­ten­sity in­ter­val train­ing (HIIT), which pro­vides an ef­fec­tive blend of car­dio and strength train­ing in a 50-minute time frame. She’s also a fan of self-led yoga prac­tice (for schedul­ing ease and to es­tab­lish your own rhythm) or another form of flex­i­bil­ity/ med­i­ta­tion train­ing.

Ac­cord­ing to Bald­win, “the main dif­fer­ence be­tween your 20s ver­sus your 30s is that your me­tab­o­lism starts to stall and mus­cles start to slowly shrink, so it can be harder to lose weight.”

Echo­ing La­zoff’s sen­ti­ments about fa­mil­ial stress, Bald­win says the best work­outs you can do dur­ing this decade are those that make you push your lim­its (and re­lease ten­sion).

She also rec­om­mends tak­ing high-in­ten­sity train­ing (HIIT) classes like Strong by Zumba, where you use your body weight in­stead of heavy weights, which can put a strain on your body.

In your 40s

“The need for strength train­ing doesn’t end in your 40s, and there is no need to slow down,” La­zoff says. “This is the time to fo­cus on main­tain­ing mus­cle mass and tak­ing care of your body.”

She sug­gests prac­tis­ing the same ac­tiv­i­ties you love while be­ing mind­ful to re­cover prop­erly through rest and sleep, as well as fo­cus­ing on func­tional move­ment.

“Ket­tle bell train­ing, yoga and low-im­pact car­dio (swim­ming, hik­ing, bik­ing) are great op­tions. As you age, mov­ing more is es­sen­tial,” she ex­plains.

Bald­win agrees that main­tain­ing mus­cle mass is paramount in your 40s and be­yond, be­ing sure to tai­lor the weight amount and level of in­ten­sity to your com­fort level as you hit each fol­low­ing decade.

She rec­om­mends yoga, Pi­lates and dance classes (like Zumba), say­ing, “Yoga helps with flex­i­bil­ity, stress man­age­ment, and emo­tional balance. Pi­lates builds strength and is a great way to main­tain mus­cle def­i­ni­tion. Also, Zumba helps main­tain op­ti­mal bone den­sity and is a great way to get in an hour of car­dio.”

In your 50s and be­yond

Pi­lates, yoga and weight train­ing are all ex­cel­lent forms of ex­er­cise to carry out in your 50s and be­yond. A spokesper­son for Zumba says that they see in­di­vid­u­als in their 90s take part in their classes, too, so go ahead and dance to your heart’s con­tent (at your own pace and speed, of course).

As men­tioned pre­vi­ously, as you age, main­tain­ing mus­cle mass is ex­tremely im­por­tant, so long as you aren’t overex­ert­ing your­self (work­ing with a trainer or speak­ing to a physi­cian will serve you well, es­pe­cially as your bones be­come more brit­tle and pain be­gins to man­i­fest it­self more eas­ily). In­creas­ing flex­i­bil­ity is also cru­cial as you age, so tak­ing Pi­lates and yoga classes will do won­ders for your body — one 85-year-old wo­man even cor­rected her hunch­back with yoga.


As you age, main­tain­ing mus­cle mass is ex­tremely im­por­tant.

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