Does age matter when it comes to exercise?
According to doctors, yes. It can have an impact on the type of workouts you do.
Generally, it’s better to build up your fitness when you’re younger. Young adults should focus on building up their muscles and bones – it’s the best time to do so to serve as a “buffer” later in life.
During this period, you would’ve finished growing and will probably be at the peak of your physical health. This means you can focus on high intensity activities to build up strength and endurance.
Middle age adults
Those who are between 35 and 65 should try to maintain their bodies and avoid injury.
Once you go beyond 30, it’s all downhill – you slowly start losing your muscle and bone mass. Doing more strength training can reverse or slow down the loss.
When you approach middle age, your energy levels tend to dip. This is also the time when chronic diseases such as high blood pressure tend to show up, making regular exercise crucial.
Meanwhile, those above 65 should pay more attention to their balance and agility to prevent falls.
How to work out effectively
Currently, the World Health Organisation recommends at least 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous activity weekly for adults aged between 18 and 64, on top of muscle-strengthening exercises such as push-ups or squats at least twice a week.
How do you tell if a particular workout falls into the moderate or vigorous category? If you can talk but an’t sing a song, it’s considered moderate. If you can’t even carry a conversation properly, that means it’s vigorous. (In other words, what one person considers a low-intensity workout could be an intense one for someone who’s far less fit – so tailor the exercise to your age and fitness levels!)
Don’t neglect walking, either – doctors stress the importance of walking at least 10,000 steps a day over and above whatever exercise has already been done. THere are people who go to the gym for an hour and, after that, sit down for the whole day – they’ll find themselves still not as healthy as those who go to the gym AND have a high step count.
The bottom line? It’s a person’s physical condition, not his age, that determines the type of exercise he can do. But whatever the case, get off the chair and start working out.
By Linette Lai, The Straits Times, 19 April 2016
Additional reporting by Pinky Chng