Fitness: How to find the perfect workout at every age

Fitness giant Les Mills has found that Generation Z (under 25) are looking to improve their fitness (Image: nc)

The study by fitness giant Les Mills found that Generation Z (under 25) are looking to improve their fitness, Millennials (26-40) are motivated by weight loss, while Gen X (41-55) and Baby Boomers (56-76) are looking to reduce stress , to improve mental health and to build strength.

Experts also agree that the type of exercise that is most beneficial to us changes from decade to decade, be it weight loading in our 20s or balance boosters in our 70s and beyond.

So, at our age, is it time to act when it comes to fitness?

We ask the experts how to do it.

YOUR 20’S …


“Use this decade to establish good habits,” advises Bryce Hastings, research director at Les Mills (

What you do now can prevent osteoporosis, diabetes, and weight gain in the future.

“The aim should be to build up bone density and muscle mass, as this slowly decreases from the age of 30,” he advises.

‘”Move in a varied and interesting way – aim for a” Strength exercises in particular are necessary for bone health – that is, run, jump and hop. “


“Keep the exercise varied and interesting, but regular – aim for three times a week,” suggests Nicola Addison-Newland, personal trainer and wellness expert at Healthspan (

“Fitness is fun with experimentation.” Find something you like – those who enjoy it in later life are most likely to get involved in sports.


Take a pose … Yoga and Pilates can help improve posture (Image: nc)


Develop movement, coordination, and agility, says Bryce. “Think of multiplayer sports and even join a team – soccer or netball, for example.

“In a team game, you will run backwards and sideways, which you just wouldn’t do if you were training on your own.”


Push yourself while you are “timely,” suggests Ruth Stone, personal trainer at

“And if you’re up for a challenge, this is the decade to train for marathons and triathlons.”

YOUR 30’s …


Muscle mass will decrease in this decade, so you should exercise regularly – alternating cardio and resistance.

“Think little and often when you can cope with the demands of parenting and work,” advises Ruth.

High intensity workouts (HIIT) with sharp bursts of energy and movement are good for lack of time, as they can be done in 20 minutes.


“The body of pregnant women and after pregnancy needs nurturing exercises,” explains Ruth, who recommends yoga and Pilates to build strength and pelvic floor tone again.

Surveys show that many women are aware of the importance of their pelvic floor, even though 40 percent of women surveyed suffer from urinary incontinence after giving birth.

Download the NHS Squeezy app (£ 2.99) for easy exercise.


“Yes, you are busy, but use your diary and exercise,” suggests Nicola. “Daily exercise is critical. Use a FitBit or equivalent activity tracker to focus on taking 10,000 steps a day.”

Now is the time to incorporate good fitness into everyday life.

YOUR 40’S …


This is the sandwich generation – juggling kids, aging parents, and job demands while the combination of hormones and a slowed metabolism are working.

“An inactive lifestyle is catching up with you this decade,” says Bryce.

Nicola says, “Create a goal that may require a new skill, such as learning to play golf or starting a 5k schedule on the couch.”

Couple goes for a walk with dog

Owning a pet can increase your fitness regime (Image: nc)


You know yourself better than anyone, so exercise when you are most likely to exercise – and do it. If you’re a night owl, try an evening run.

If you can find an activity that fits your lifestyle at a time that is convenient for you, the more likely you will stick with it.

“It could be a boot camp course, a park run on a Saturday morning, or a hike to meet friends,” says Nicola.


Sitting at a desk or driving a car for years can put strain on your shoulders, and by the age of 40 it can create discomfort and improve the way you look and feel for years. So why not take your local Pilates class to improve strength, tone and posture?

There are also plenty of free tutorials online.

YOUR 50s …


According to Sport England, 37 percent of people over 55 years old did less exercise during the pandemic – making them the age group most likely to have lost strength.

This is important because strength protects the body from age-related deterioration.

“Weight training is important,” explains Bryce.

Make sure that you train every area of ​​your body by doing push moves (pushups, shoulder presses with weights), pull moves (back row, biceps curls), squats (if possible with weights), hinges (kettle bell swings, deadlifts) including) and carrying (carrying heavy purchases)


The good news is that it’s never too late to get more active, says Bryce.

Studies show that people who started exercising in their 40s and 50s had a 43 percent decrease in death rate from heart disease compared to people who never exercised. In addition, the cancer mortality rate fell by 16 percent.


“Consider engaging in sports that require different levels of movement, agility, and coordination, such as tennis and golf,” suggests Bryce.

“If you haven’t already, include postural deficiency activities like yoga. In addition to stabilizing the muscles, the aspects of breathing and mindfulness combat stress. “

YOUR 60s …


For many, this is the decade in which they become “timely” again. “Take advantage of the extra time in retirement by joining a walking club or playing bocce,” advises Bryce. “And consider getting a dog if you don’t already have one.”

Countless studies show that this is an effective way to increase fitness and combat loneliness.


Strength not only keeps muscles, bones and joints strong, enables better mobility and reduces the risk of osteoporosis, but is also associated with a better quality of life and the ability to perform everyday functional tasks.

The use of resistance bands increases strength, flexibility and endurance. Try Strength and Flex, a five-week NHS exercise plan for beginners.


Don’t be afraid to adjust your usual workout to avoid joint strain – replace long runs with shorter joggings or ride a stationary bike. Don’t be tempted to bring in a gardener, do it yourself and go for a walk with family and friends instead of making inactive visits.

a couple in the garden

Garden party … taking care of your plants will help you stay strong (Image: nc)



“With every passing year, the phrase ‘use it or lose’ becomes more and more important in terms of fitness,” warns Bryce.

In later life there is a natural slowdown in the connection between the mind and muscles, but challenging the body with various activities can keep these nerve pathways going. Try Zumba and fitness classes that involve coordination skills and strengthen the mind.


“Stretch and balance boosters are a must to avoid falling,” explains Bryce.

Start the day with gentle stretches to wake up the muscles, reduce the risk of pain and injury, and increase blood flow. Work on your balance while brushing your teeth. Stand on tiptoe and hold this position. Then stand on one foot before taking turns with the other.


Research suggests that a lack of significant social relationships can be just as harmful to health as smoking 15 cigarettes a day.

“Social training is the key,” says Nicola.

“Dancing is a perfect way to combine activity with socializing,” adds Bryce.

“Not only does it increase your heart rate, but it also involves coordination and learning choreographies that train the hippocampal area of ​​the brain to fight off dementia.”

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