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Wednesday, 30 November 2011

How do I Exercise According To My Age?

So you're a decade older and are wondering if you should be slowing down a bit. What folly! 80 years olds have shown that they can increase their muscle mass, proving that age doesn't dictate what we are and aren't capable of.

American 'trainer to the stars', Kathy Kaehler, laughs while telling of her first meeting with singer, Barbara Streisand. "We were talking about how to structure her exercise programme and it must have started sounding all too hard for Barbara because she just stopped me and said, 'Well you know I'm 50?' and I just said, 'Yeah...and?'," says Kathy. "She expected me to roll out a programme of gentle exercises for 50 year olds.

I never look at the women that I work with and base their workouts on their age. "Sure, there are age-related health facts that you bear in mind, like menopause and osteoporosis, but basically, a 60 year old still needs several heart-pounding workouts a week, just like a 20 year old. "Every age group also needs their strength and flexibility to be tested, to keep the musculature that supports the skeleton in later life, which in turn helps prevent falls."


This is the best age for health and fitness. Bone density is at it's strongest between the ages of 25-35, while muscle mass peaks at 25 years old. Unfortunately, a twenty-something year old also tends to think they're bullet-proof. Fast food, fast cars and alcohol can often seem more attractive than a healthy exercise regimen.

*At eFit30 we recommend - At least 30 minutes of activity a day, an hour if the social life will allow it! Include 3 cardio sessions a week and don't be scared to make them "aggressive" weight bearing activities, like running, jump rope or any of our Level 2 Total Body workouts with Fiona and Tony.


Welcome to the decade of being time poor, thanks to marriage, kids, career and a mortgage. A mother's job is not 9-5, so finding exercise time can be extremely difficult. Watch out for snacking on the run, while being inactive might give rise to your first muffin top! Muscle mass will also drop by up to 2% per year if you slip into a sedentary lifestyle.

* At eFit30 we recommend - Still at least 30 minutes a day, but it's time to up the weight and resistance training to two hours per week. So deck out a corner of your house with the essentials, like dumb bells, a floor mat, fit ball, resistance band and a tidy selection of eFit30 downloads. Aerobic activity will keep the weight off on alternate days.


Ah yes, life is good. A higher income means regular dining out is possible, routines are forged, like a nightly chocky in front of tellie, the kids aren't so labour intensive and before you know it, you're not doing nearly the amount of exercise you need to, to burn the excesses off. Women often blame menopause but in reality, they've been slowly gaining the kilos all decade.

* At eFit30 we recommend - It's time to huff and puff again because aerobic exercise is vital for keeping the fat at bay. Power walking and swimming are ideal, even jogging, if your joints are pain free. Mix it up with a couple of hours each week of weight lifting, squatting and pushing (as in, push-ups) and introduce yoga or some of Angela's pilates workouts, for flexibility.


The sharp fall in oestrogen levels after menopause makes it harder for women to hang onto their muscle. In a double blow, women naturally carry more fat and less muscle than men, leaving them open to falls and fractures in older age. You can however, do your bit to bend nature by focussing on eating a higher proportion of daily protein, the building blocks for muscles - like eggs, fish, chicken and lean red meat.

* At eFit30 we recommend - You listen to your body and if it tells you that explosive sports hurt too much, stop. Aerobic exercise is still important, but aim for the low impacts - like cycling, paddling and swimming (experimenting with every stroke). Strength or weight training will ward off osteoporosis, while activities like T'ai Chi and pilates are great for body awareness, making you less prone to fall.