Health

Best workouts for every age

We break down the best fitness options based on age - whether you are in your 20s, 30s or 40s

Our bodies and lifestyles change as we age, and so should our exercise routines. Here is a decade-by-decade guide on exercise regimens that will help keep you feeling healthy.

In your 20s

You are working your way up the career ladder but still have loads of energy. When it comes to working out, you can push - really hard. The trick in this decade is to not abuse your body.

TRY: RESISTANCE TRAINING

Combat long hours at the office by strengthening your shoulders to improve your posture. Prevent chronic upper body pain and tension headaches by strengthening your trapezius, the muscle group that stabilises your shoulders.

Physiotherapists suggest simple weighted exercises such as bent dumbbell rows.

TRY: YOGA

Yoga stretches and strengthens the body while helping to balance your emotional state.

Ms Amanda Chee, a yoga teacher at Yoga Lab, said: "Depending on how you are feeling, doing yoga can help regulate emotional states - various styles of yoga can either help you feel energised or help in winding down after a long day."

TRY: HIGH-INTENSITY INTERVAL TRAINING (HIIT)

Take advantage of your body while it is at its peak. Challenge yourself to intense workout classes that push your body to its maximum. Make sure to pencil in rest days and do not subject your body to constant abuse.

In your 30s

During this decade, you do not shed weight as easily as you used to since metabolism begins to drop.

Start to look at routine exercise as a form of preventative medicine - one that can keep you strong and healthy for life. Always allow for one day of rest in between workouts.

TRY: CIRCUIT TRAINING

To keep your metabolism thriving, introduce circuit training into your regimen. The combination of resistance and cardio keeps your fat-burning mechanisms going for a longer period.

If you are too busy to hit the gym, there are plenty of home-friendly circuit workouts you can find on the Internet.

TRY: PILATES

If you just had a baby, pilates is a great exercise for postnatal recovery. Many studios have started offering pilates classes tailored to new mums to help strengthen the core and pelvic floor, areas that may have weakened during pregnancy. Some classes are even baby-friendly.

TRY: WEIGHTLIFTING

A study conducted by Harvard Medical School showed that aerobic exercise alone is not enough to keep your body in good shape.

According to Dr Robert Schreiber, "unless you are doing strength training, you will become weaker and less functional" over time.

You do not have to go with high repetitions or weights. Switch it up so that your body does not get used to a routine.

In your 40s

Your 40s are a crucial time as hormones change, metabolism slows and lean muscle mass decreases. Your entire body composition begins to change, and you will probably see it first in the midsection.

It is a time to focus on strength and bone health. You may find that you have to slow down and that is okay. Focus on holding positions in exercise for longer and with more intensity.

TRY: WEIGHT-BEARING EXERCISES

Weight-bearing exercises make you move against gravity while staying upright. Some of the best exercises include hiking, training on the elliptical and using resistance bands.

According to the National Osteoporosis Foundation in the US, about half of women over 50 will break a bone as a result of the disease. Because of this, prevention is the best medicine.

TRY: LOW-INTENSITY CARDIOVASCULAR ACTIVITIES

Keep up with the cardio to keep your heart healthy, but go easy on your joints. Try doing lower impact activities for a longer period of time, such as going for long power walks, rather than short, high-intensity ones like sprints. If you have access to a pool, then opt for doing a few laps each morning.

TRY: PLANKING

While planks and plank modifications are great exercises to do at any age, they become extra important when you are fending off early signs of back pains.

Strengthen your abs, back and glutes to protect your back. While exercises such as crunches or Russian twists target specific parts of the midsection, planks engage your entire core.

This article first appeared in Shape (www.shape.com.sg)

MEDICAL & HEALTH