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Recommended Fitness Regimens for All Ages from Experts

Edited By: Natalie Smith

 More and more people in the Western world suffer from diseases that could have been avoided had they just exercised regularly, but the idea of exercising every day is daunting and causes many to give up very quickly. However, many experts argue that you don’t have to go to the gym every day to be healthy, and in fact, there are some new guidelines to know about the amount and type of exercise recommended for each age group. In fact, the most important thing is to make exercise enjoyable for you, all you need to do is find an activity that interests you, it doesn’t have to be weight lifting or jogging, and engage in it with pleasure. Here are the recommendations for the amount and type of exercise recommended for each age group.

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Ages 6-17

While children aged 3-5 need to be active all day long, older children need only one or more hours of moderate to high-intensity activity three times a week. Such an activity can be:

  • Aerobic exercise like a dance
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises like swimming
  • Bone-strengthening exercises like running

There are many different classes to enroll children in which can activate their bodies. Let them go to a few different classes and see which form of exercise they enjoy the most.

Ages 18-64

Adults need to do more physical activity than children because they are also more vulnerable to disease due to lack of movement. Each type of exercise has different guidelines to achieve maximum health benefits, and you should dabble in them all:

  • Aerobic exercise - at least 150-300 minutes per week at moderate intensity, or 75-150 minutes per week at high intensity. You can combine the two of course, and its recommended to spread these hours across a whole week. You can take up dancing, squash, swimming or cycling.
  • Muscle-strengthening exercises - at least twice a week at medium to high intensity, with weight lifting or resistance exercises that strengthen all muscles, including legs, hips, back, abdomen, chest, shoulders, and arms. Swimming is a very recommended activity, but of course, you can also do weight training, and you can click here to learn which exercises you should do to strengthen muscles throughout the body.
  • General exercise - any exercise you add to the previous recommendations will benefit your body. Moderate intensity training can be quick walking or even raking leaves, and high-intensity training can be running and carrying heavy bags from the supermarket home. Know that every time you do such activities you only benefit your health. 
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People aged 65 and over

Older adults should follow the recommendations for ages 18-64, but if they can’t because of chronic health problems, exercise should be done twice a week for one of the following types: aerobics, muscle-strengthening, or balance training. It is recommended that you combine these types and perform a different kind of workout each time. Simple examples of such exercises can be ballroom dancing or even walking backwards. To improve balance, click here and learn 8 effective exercises.

To understand what medium or high-intensity training is for you, rate the level of effort you need to use in a scale of 0 to 10, with 0 being sitting on a chair and 10 being the best effort you can make. Moderate intensity activity should be between 5-6 in effort, where you can talk while exercising but not sing.

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Pregnant and postpartum women 

Every woman should consult with her healthcare professional about exercising during and after pregnancy to understand how much exercise is safe for her. If the doctor approves physical activity, the guidelines instruct you to perform moderate-intensity activity up to 150 minutes per week, and of course not once or twice, but spread over several days. If you were very active before getting pregnant, you may be able to continue your regular regimen with a few tweaks, but you should consult your doctor.
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