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The Best Workouts for Women in Their 20s, 30s, 40s, and 50s

 

The truth is I've never been the most athletically inclined person. That might be shocking to read as I'm someone who writes about health, wellness, and fitness for a living, but it's true. But don't get me wrong. I'm not writing about training methods or new york fitness while staying immobile on my sofa. I do work out and try to stay active, but it was never a huge part of my life the way that it may be for some people.

In grade school, friends would be going to soccer games on the weekends, and I would be heading to sewing lessons (still a hobby I'm proud of!). In high school, I'd have friends heading to after-class cross-country practices, and I'd be in student council meetings. That's not to say I didn't dabble in team sports. I played volleyball, basketball, and ran track in middle school (mostly so I could hang out with my friends after school). And I did one season of swimming in high school to get out of an extra semester of PE.

How to Exercise at Every Age Group

 

But okay, yes, for many of my 31 years, I was not the most active-minded person. It all started to change in my mid-20s with the boutique fitness craze. I went all in trying out new competitive workout classes like SoulCycle, Flywheel, barre, HIIT, rowing, boxing, etc.—all of that made exercise fun for me for the first time. I've never been a gym person, so ClassPass became my thing.

Now that I'm in my 30s and starting to think more about how I can live a healthy lifestyle that will keep me going for years to come, I've started to wonder what, if any, changes I should be making to my fitness routine as I get a little bit older. So to investigate (and maybe provide you with some helpful intel as well), I reached out to two kinesiologists for their thoughts on workout best practices for every age group.

How to Exercise at Every Age Group: Boxing

 

"A complete exercise program for all adults includes aerobic activity three to five days per week, muscle strengthening activity two to three days per week, and flexibility exercises two to three days per week (or for greatest flexibility gains, daily)," says Barbara Bushman, Ph.D., FACSM, a professor at Missouri State University Department of Kinesiology. "In addition, neuromotor exercise training can be included. This reflects 'functional fitness' with aspects of balance, agility, reaction time, and proprioception (sense of the body in space)."

While that may seem like a lot of activity, if you can't follow all of these recommendations to a T, you shouldn't feel guilty or that your life will be shortened. Making an effort to stay active every day, with even a walk around the neighborhood, can make a difference. And if you are committed to following these guidelines, more power to you. The bottom line: You've got to do what's best for your current lifestyle. Sometimes you're so busy you can only work out for 15 minutes, and other times you have more time to try new things. Stay active whatever way that works for you.

How to Exercise at Every Age Group

 

And it doesn't matter if you're 20 or 60, movement is still important. You shouldn't feel like you can't do something because you're a certain age. "I really think that movement is accessible to everybody no matter their age, and we need to get away from the sense of, 'I need to do it this way because of what age I am,'" says Dixie Stanforth, Ph.D., FACSM, an associate professor of instruction at the University of Texas at Austin Department of Kinesiology and Health Education. "I don't think it's a helpful frame of reference for most people. So I think if we could get people open to fine movement that is challenging to you, that is something that you would enjoy doing, and that you see benefit in, I think there's a much higher likelihood that people would actually do it."

Of course, as your body changes over time, you might have to make some modifications, which is more than okay. To provide more insight on what to do for your workout routine at every age, Bushman and Stanforth broke it down for us.

Readmore: Your Hands Are a Dead Age Giveaway—Theses Hand Masks Will Help

 

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