21 Oct Fitness For Each Life Stage – What’s Right For You?
No matter what age, everyone can exercise. The type of exercise though, will depend on the limits of your body. Just as you would change your wardrobe for the seasons, you should also adapt your exercise routine to accommodate the significant changes in your life cycle.
The good news? Whatever stage in life you’re in, there are exercise routines to suit you. The key is getting to understand your body and ensuring you’re doing the right physical activity that doesn’t overstep your body’s limits.
In your 20’s, when anything is possible
Ahhh, the 20’s when you’re carefree with a limited amount of responsibility. This is also the best time to get into exercise and form good habits that will hopefully last a lifetime.
Physiologically, you have the ability to easily strengthen bone, and build muscle and connective tissue. You’ll also recover from high intensity works reasonably quickly so will be able to push yourself harder than any other stage in life. Biologically, your metabolic rate is pretty high meaning you can get away with eating the ‘not so healthy foods’ without having to spend all day in the gym!
Although this is the case, it’s the perfect time to create a blueprint of healthy eating and regular exercise.
Exercises to try: Find anything active you love. Go to a boxing class, a HIIT session or join a boot camp. Pick up a social sport and spend your weekends doing fun physical activities like bushwalking, surfing or bike riding with friends.
When life begins to get serious in your 30’s
When you hit your 30’s things start to get a little complicated as you take on more responsibility in both your personal and professional life. You may have notice that your body has also changed, excess kilos have become a little harder to loose, and you may find yourself puffing as you run up the stairs.
This is greatly due to the biological changes you will be beginning to experience. Your metabolic rate starts to slow a little, your recovery time increases, and you’re probably feeling the aches and pains the day after your workout.
As these changes occur, it’s a good time to adjust your caloric intake by taking in account your activity level and slower metabolic rate. Ensure you’re eating a nutrient dense diet that has a good variety to keep you healthy and prepare your body for the next stages in life.
Exercises to try: Short high intensity exercises will help you ensure you remain fit and be able to squeeze a workout into your busy schedule. Strength training will also help you continue to build lean muscle; and yoga, tai chi or meditation can help reduce your stress.
During pregnancy when you have to think about someone else
Pregnancy is not the time to join a boot camp and flex your muscles if you’ve never been active before. Exercising is important for maintaining a healthy pregnancy and ensuring you don’t pile on the weight, and consistency is key. This is not just important for you, but also for your baby as research shows, pregnant mothers who are active are less likely to have obese children.
If you’re planning to get into an exercise routine while pregnant, it’s important to speak with a specialised personal trainer who is aware of what exercises you should be performing during each trimester. The key is to listen to your body!
Exercises to try: any pelvic floor exercises are going to be helpful both during pregnancy and post-natally, so try a preggie yoga or pilates. Squats are great for building up the strength in both your legs and butt, essential for labour, and any breathing exercises will help connect your diaphragm and pelvic floor.
Post-natal stage – when life is a juggle
This is the time when you can really be thankful you developed healthy habits in your 20’s as life becomes a juggle in the post-natal stage. Between a lack of sleep, motherly duties and household chores going to the gym might seem impossible.
The beauty is there are plenty of workouts you can do from home or with your baby. Putting your baby in the pram for a good work every day will do wonders for you. The key is to again, listen to your body, and ease back into it. Regardless of how easy your labour was, you’ll have some soft tissue damage and your hormones are still up and down, so you need to be careful not to overdo it.
Exercises to try: continue working your pelvic floor and squats, as well as some transversus ab and rowing exercises. Light weights and low intensity workouts like swimming and walking are great to build up your fitness slowly.
When menopause comes around
The hot flushes, excess weight gain, mood swings and reduced libido are all common symptoms as you enter the perimenopause stage. Your metabolic rate has reduced to an all-time low and your hormone levels, like oestrogen, have also dropped.
You start to store fat in areas you haven’t before, it seems harder to build muscle and those after workout aches and pains are probably becoming more evident and persistent.
During this time, you’re more susceptible to injuries, quick fix diets take a toll on your body and you’re at a greater risk of developing chronic diseases.
But it’s not all bad if you continue to maintain that healthy lifestyle! Eating a healthy diet which has adjusted to accommodate your slow metabolic rate and your changes in hormone levels will help prevent weight gain. And exercise is just as important as ever to remain fit and healthy.
Exercises to try: keep working on that pelvic floor ladies! Social exercises are great like group fitness classes, swimming or a walking club. If you’re accustomed to intense training, continue to listen to your body and engage in the same fitness activities, but just be mindful of recovery. Destressing exercises like yoga and meditation are advised and any strength training to improve bone density is fantastic.
Now everyone is off course very different and I certainly know many people who are doing intense workouts no matter what their age is. The key here is that no matter what you listen to your body and keep it moving and find the appropriate exercise that makes you thrive no matter what your age and stage of life is.