Staying fit is essential at any age, but what to focus on changes throughout your life. As men age, their hormone levels change and their bodies require different things than before. Those changes mean you respond differently to various stimuli in exercise. Here, we’ll explore the best workouts for men of different ages to ensure optimal health today and throughout your life.
Workouts for teens and 20s
Teens and men in their 20s have the advantage of high testosterone levels to fuel physical fitness goals. Young men are experiencing a surge in the hormone testosterone, which promotes muscle mass and burns fat. Your body can also recover quickly, which means you can regularly push pretty hard in your workouts (with appropriate rest or active recovery days built-in, as your body needs them).
If you enjoy team sports, join a recreational league or a school sports team. If you prefer to hit the gym, focus on balancing out cardiovascular exercises like high-intensity interval training with weightlifting at least three times a week.
Workouts for men in their 30s and 40s
When you reach your 30s, testosterone levels naturally begin to decline at about 1% per year, starting in the late 20s or early 30s. Lower testosterone levels correlate with a loss in muscle mass. If you haven’t already started lifting weights in your 20s, now is the time to add it.
Strength training in your 30s and 40s helps maintain muscle mass, which also burns fat more efficiently and strengthens bones. Lower hormone levels at this age, a poor diet, and limited exercise can contribute to weight gain around your midsection. This puts you at higher risk for developing several chronic health conditions, including:
- Cardiovascular disease
- Diabetes and insulin resistance
- Fatty liver disease
- High blood pressure
- Prostate and other cancers
You may not be able to lift as much weight since your fast-twitch muscle fibers start to decline (the ones that help you toss a barbell overhead or take off in a sprint, for example). But you should still be incorporating strength training and endurance activities like rowing and running to maintain cardiovascular fitness.
Workouts for men in their 50s and 60s
When you reach your 50s, your body won’t be able to recover as fast as it did before. You may need to take more rest days or include workouts where you don’t push quite as hard. Switch up shorter, super-intense workouts for more prolonged, lower-intensity activities.
You may also feel some aches and pains from daily wear-and-tear on your joints. If so, switch from high-impact activities like running or basketball to lower-impact movements like swimming, walking, or cycling. Other things to incorporate into your exercise routine include:
- Stretching and flexibility exercises, such as yoga
- Balance and coordination exercises
- Adequate warm-up and cool down, which is important at every age but even more so as you get older
If you don’t have a good fitness routine, this is a critical time to start. Talk to your doctor about exercise routines for beginners that will strengthen your core, build muscle, burn fat, and improve heart health. These provide a foundation to reduce the risk of chronic illness and prevent falls.
Workouts for men 70 and older
Maintaining strength and flexibility at 70 and beyond is vital for independence, health, and fall prevention. About one in four adults over 65 suffers a fall each year in the U.S., resulting in more than:
- Three million ER visits
- 300,000 hip fractures
- 32,000 deaths
Talk to your doctor about how to stay safe and get the recommended activity each day. Include strength training at least twice a week, but use lighter weights or switch to resistance bands. Regular aerobic activities (such as walking or rowing) will help you maintain heart and lung health.
Exercise is critical at every age. While your fitness routine may change from one decade to the next, the commitment to fitness should last your whole life.