At WLP, we help people from every generation make the most of their bodies, whether they’re athletes pushing for peak performance, hard working professionals trying to undo the damage of desk work or retirees who want to stay fit enough for a game of tennis.
Every age has its own challenges and requires a different approach, but they all have one thing in common: exercise is essential if you want to live a happy, healthy life.
Your twenties are when your body is at peak potential. Assuming you’re generally healthy, this is when your metabolism is at its fastest, limiting weight gain and rapidly delivering energy to your muscles, giving you the power to lift heavier objects and run further, while faster recovery times allow for more intense training without as much down time.
But because you don’t feel as many aches and pains in your twenties, many people don’t take exercise as seriously at this stage unless they have a passion for sport and/or fitness. This feeling of relative invincibility means that though this is when the body has the most potential, it often isn’t taken advantage of because even without a healthy diet and regular exercise, you can still feel pretty good.
That’s when the thirties come in. This is when your body starts to slow down a bit and you can no longer get away with a poor diet and/or lack of activity without problems such as weight gain, unexplained soreness and lengthy injury recovery. Luckily, advances in exercise and nutrition research means that – with the right knowledge and guidance – your physical potential may only be marginally lower than it was in your twenties.
Exercise in your thirties should focus on general, full-body conditioning with an emphasis on flexibility. If you have no health complications, you’ll still be able to push your body to extremes if you want to, so this age is a good opportunity to make significant improvements to your overall fitness and get an appetite for exercise that will pay off further down the line. You should also see a physiotherapist to correct or prevent any physical issues that may have developed or be developing.
For many of our clients, the forties are a fitness wake up call. Recovery times start to increase significantly and though muscles still have plenty of potential, tendons, ligaments and joints can no longer handle heavy loads as easily as they might have in your twenties or thirties. This is when more serious injuries often start to crop up, especially in weight bearing joints such as knees, hips and shoulders.
Postural problems also become more common, especially if you weren’t active in your twenties and thirties and spend a lot of time at your desk, so training your core muscles needs to be a priority in your fitness regime using programmes such as Pilates or barre toning. If you want to learn more about the importance of your core and how you can strengthen it, click here.
Strength training is encouraged as always, but be very gradual in the increase of weight and resistance so that you don’t overload your tendons and ligaments.
Fifties and Sixties
As you pass 50, it’s very important to do a combination of everything: cardiovascular, flexibility, strength, core and proprioception training. Your body can still be powerful and fit, but it will almost certainly require constant management and attention with a very strong recommendation that you see a physiotherapist so that any weaknesses or imbalances are prevented or treated as the consequences of an injury become more severe.
Degenerative conditions such as arthritis and osteoporosis are more common as we age which can lead to pain during movement. This may make it difficult for you to exercise, but remember that exercise is the best way of treating pain. Sore joints can be relieved if the muscles around them are strong, and weakened bones can be hardened with carefully managed impact exercises.
Seventies and Beyond
As you continue through life, the same combination of exercises need to be maintained though reduced in intensity so that they don’t cause unwanted wear and tear as recovery times continue to increase and metabolism slows. Muscle wasting can happen rapidly at this age if you’re inactive, so take a “use it or lose it” mentality to exercise.
The most important thing to remember as you age is that it’s never too late to become stronger, more flexible and gain more control of your body. At WLP, we’ve seen significant strength changes in clients who are in their 90s. Your body may slow down but it never loses its ability to adapt, so make sure that you’re always finding ways to challenge it so that you can continue to make the most of life.
If you don’t know where to start, then please make an appointment with us by calling 0207 937 1628 or emailing email@example.com and we’ll give you a full understanding of your current health and fitness and a detailed plan to help you make the most of your body.
Kam Sowman BSc (Physio) MCSP MHCP
Musculoskeletal and Sports Physiotherapist
For any other questions regarding this topic please do not hesitate to contact me at West London Physio on 0207 937 1628 or email firstname.lastname@example.org