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When it comes to exercising, there's no age limit—preschoolers to great-grandparents can all get in on the action. Moving your body is beneficial, whether it's a structured workout or a daily task. Consider the exertion that goes into lawnmowing, carrying heavy shopping bags, or taking the stairs instead of the elevator.

The trick is to be active in ways tailored to your needs using methods you're least likely to abandon. There's a fitness option for everyone, but older adults and anyone with past injuries should consult their doctors before starting a new workout regimen.

Workout Frequency Through the Years

Desk jobs characterize the modern lifestyle, and they are incredibly sedentary compared to the lives our ancestors led. If you're concerned about your long-term wellness, squeezing in time to move every day should be high on your priority list, whether you're at the peak of your career and tethered to your office or retired and at home for most of the day.

Whatever your age, aim for 30 minutes of moderately intense activity at least five times a week. If 30 minutes feels unattainable right now, start with 10 and increase to 15 after two weeks, until you reach half an hour or more. Be mindful of not overtraining for your fitness level, though, or you could do more harm than good. Remember that "moderate intensity" for one person is a brisk walk, for another, it might be a HIIT workout.

A senior gentleman lays out on a yoga mat in his living room as he exercises along with a virtual class. FatCamera/ Getty Images

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Heart Rate

With terms like moderate intensity and vigorous intensity thrown about, it'll quickly become apparent that you need to measure your heart rate. You can place two fingers to your wrist, old-school-style, or invest in a fitness watch with a heart rate monitor.

Target heart rates differ depending on your age, so make sure that when you see average numbers, you're confirming the age range to which they apply. Someone who's 35 might aim for an average heart rate of 157, while a 60-year-old will reap similar benefits with a heart rate of 136. When in doubt, listen to your body, and slow down or take a break if you start feeling unwell.

Active young man exercising at home, using fitness tracker app on smartwatch to monitor training progress and measuring pulse. AsiaVision/ Getty Images

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The 20s and Early 30s

This is the prime of your life, when your energy levels are as high as they're ever going to be (if you're eating a balanced diet). It's an excellent time to build muscle mass and challenge yourself. Your hand-eye coordination should be first-rate, so you can do anything from power lifitng to playing squash or dancing the bachata.

Remember to break up sitting time during work hours. This is, of course, easier if you work from home, but if not, take walks to get coffee or stand during informal meetings. You can even keep a resistance band in your drawer so you can work your legs while typing, but be mindful of doing any exercise when you're distracted; you always want to be paying attention to your body during movement.

Young athlete using kettlebells while exercising squats during sports training in health club. Drazen Zigic/ Getty Images

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The Late 30s and Early 40s

Did you know that bone density and muscle mass begin to decrease as early as your 30s? The phenomenon is called sarcopenia, and even though it's unavoidable, especially if you're 40 plus, you can take steps to keep your body as well-equipped as possible.

Strengthen your bones with light weightlifting and incorporate high-intensity bodyweight training that targets multiple muscle groups and gets your heart working. You can do these compound exercises for many years—they increase testosterone levels and help you maintain muscle. Cardio is also essential and can involve running, cycling, or playing pickleball, for example.

Happy woman talking with male friend while jogging in park Maskot/ Getty Images

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The Late 40s and Early 50s

The hormones related to muscle building, such as testosterone, drop by approximately 1% every year after 40. With muscle loss comes changes in agility and endurance. Your energy levels aren't what they used to be either, and you're likely starting to see weakness or fat deposits in places they weren't before.

Aim to do low-impact workouts that protect your joints. Brisk walking and swimming are always good ideas, as is going golfing sans the cart.

group of adult women are dancing in a fitness studio. FatCamera/ Getty Images

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The Late 50s and 60s

Aches and pains have long started to creep into your life, but you're good to go for the most part and may have heard that exercise reduces the risk of stroke and heart disease—and these words mean more to you now. You want to keep your midsection from getting too big, so staying active and eating a healthful diet are key.

Let's do a little myth-busting, shall we? There's no hard and fast rule that people in their 60s can't lift. You will, however, need to modify your weightlifting workouts because if they are too strenuous, they can result in spasms and injuries that don't bode well for your future.

group of adults are taking a exercise class together at the gym. FatCamera/ Getty Images

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70s and Above

It's so important not to drop the proverbial ball in your 70s and over, and it's never too late to pick up a fitness habit to maintain a high quality of life. At this age, it's less about aesthetics, although a healthy posture will undoubtedly give you the edge at your 50-year college reunion.

Focus on functional exercises that help with balance and ease during activities like tagging after grandchildren or getting items from the top of your closet. Half an hour of aqua aerobics is excellent, particularly if you have arthritis—the water provides support and resistance. Tai chi or yoga can round out your weekly routine.

Sporty group of elderly people having fitness class at nursing home, Prostock-Studio/ Getty Images

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Focus Areas For Aging Women

Women need to prioritize their bone health to prevent fractures linked to aging, to keep osteoporosis at bay, or to minimize the symptoms if it's already started. Strength training with light dumbbells, with one or two days of recovery between sessions, can reduce pain and maintain cognitive health.

Zone in on movements that assist your hips and back, and get an expert to check your form. Pilates or another mobility routine a few times a week can assist with flexibility, which will prevent falls (or minimize damage if you do) and keep you steady on your feet as you age.

A beautiful senior woman takes an online yoga class Fly View Productions/ Getty Images

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Squats

Now onto exercises that work wonders at any age. Squats can strengthen your core and improve posture and bone density, among other benefits physical and mental benefits. This exercise is hugely modifiable, from using a chair for support until you build strength, to doing them unassisted with bodyweight, to holding weights or using blocks.

You'll be surprised by how quickly your heart rate increases—keep breathing throughout the movement.

Mature adult couple doing exercise at home in small apartment martinedoucet/ Getty Images

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Rowing

Rowing machines in gyms look kind of scary to the uninitiated. If this is your first time using one, ask an employee to show you how it works and to monitor your debut. The machine is fantastic for people aged 60 and over because it uses more than 85% of the body's muscles in a non-risky seated position.

Concentrated sporty senior woman working out on rowing machine during total-body workout in gym. JackF/ Getty Images

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Disclaimer

This site offers information designed for educational purposes only. You should not rely on any information on this site as a substitute for professional medical advice, diagnosis, treatment, or as a substitute for, professional counseling care, advice, diagnosis, or treatment. If you have any concerns or questions about your health, you should always consult with a physician or other healthcare professional.

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