If there is one point that I can drive home more than any other, it is to exercise. Running, jumping, dancing, stretching, walking, any movement at all. Exercise is our most valuable tool for healthy ageing and can benefit all of us in a multitude of ways, not least of which is a stronger, more capable body. Regular exercise does wonders for our state of mind as well, and many studies show it can decrease stress levels exponentially. The best part is, it’s never too late to start. Whether you’re 20, 60 or 80 we can all reap the benefits of exercise and introduce new exercise into our lifestyles as we see fit.
It can be a minefield trying to figure out which exercise will suit us best, however. Will running have long term effects on my joints? Is walking enough to have any effect on my fitness levels? Should I use weights in my workouts? Do I need to join a gym to see benefits?
The Physical Activity Guidelines recommend 150 minutes of aerobic exercise a week, with an additional two sessions of strength training to help maintain optimal fitness levels. Following this guideline has shown an overall improvement in quality of life and is key to preventing and managing chronic disease.
We are all made different, however, and we all require different levels of exertion in our workouts. One person’s mile sprint can be another’s walk, and both are equally right. There is no right or wrong when it comes to exercise, only what you need for your body to thrive.
Below I am going to break down some things to keep in mind when allocating your time between aerobic exercise and strength training and what you should be aiming for in your workouts.
Aerobic activity is any activity that gets your whole body moving for a sustained period of time. Walking and running are perhaps the two most common forms of aerobic movement. The goal here is to get the rate heart up and the blood pumping.
The ideal time per week of aerobic exercise is 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous movement. You can divide this time up to work in with your schedule, but try to fit in some kind of aerobic movement every day of the week, even walking the dog counts!
The intensity is relevant to you, so as long as you feel like you are working at a high level, that is perfect. If it were a sliding scale from 1 to 10, try to hit somewhere between 6-9.
To help you keep track, aim for 30 minutes a day or 50 minutes three times a week. To get started with some aerobic training right now, I think you’ll really enjoy these workout playlists!
Maintaining strength in our bodies as we get older will allow us to carry out our day to day tasks with more ease and better equip us with the tools necessary to thrive.
At least two days a week should involve some kind of strength training, whether that’s a weighted workout (with dumbbells for example) or resistance training with resistance bands. There is no set period of time you should be aiming for here, however it’s important that you hit all the major muscle groups. Arms, abs, back and legs can all benefit from strength training.
Like aerobic movement, strength training is all dependent on your fitness levels. There’s no point in trying the throw around a weight that’s too much for you, in fact this will have adverse effects on the body. Aim for a weight that is a little challenging but doable for you. And, if you need to drop the weight throughout the workout, that’s totally OK too.
To get started with some strength training now, I think you’ll really enjoy these workouts:
Our fitness is relative and personal, but there are certain goalposts we should all be aiming for when building out our workout routines. We should all strive to hit 150 minutes of aerobic movement and at least 2 strength training sessions a week for drastic improvements in our overall quality of life and to help us age gracefully. How we get to that point is completely in our hands and at the discretion of our fitness levels. As you continue to train and fitness levels increase, it’s also important to scale our output to match our new strength and stamina.
To help you stay on track, I have created a workout challenge that will have you hitting each of these recommended points. The challenge will be released shortly and you can check out all the information on in the below video Xxxx