If you haven’t heard about the importance of cardio by now, listen up. There are many benefits to increasing your cardiovascular exercise, including a decreased chance of developing chronic disease, better heart health, and maintaining a healthy weight. Whether you’re age 5 or 95, it’s time to get your heart pumping. Here are the best types of cardio for every age and stage in life.
Kids and teens
You may see your kids playing on the playground, running as fast as they can, and think they don’t need any extra gym time. You may be right, but kids need an impressive amount of exercise to stay fit and healthy. With kids, however, it’s not about stressing weight management or heart health necessarily, but helping them develop great habits that will carry them healthily through life. The American Academy of Pediatrics states that children ages 6 to 17 need at least one hour of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per day. Vigorous activities, such as biking and running, should be done about three times per week.
In your 20s
For those 20+-year-olds out there, exercise is just as important now as it ever will be. The 20s offer a peak of athletic performance in many ways, so this age group may feel stronger and less like they need to begin an exercise regimen. However, it’s important to care for your body at every stage so you don’t develop diseases as you age. Recommendations for this age group include reaching a target heart rate of 100-170 bpm and trying for some type of cardio about six days per week. This can vary in length and intensity from 30 minutes of vigorous to 45 or even 60 minutes of mild and moderate. The point is to move and get your heart pumping most days of the week.
When you are in your 30s and 40s
During these two decades, you exercise to stay fit, maintain a healthy weight, and prevent any chronic disease from popping up. Prevention is, as they say, the best medicine. That means you need a dose of cardio about five days per week. When you are in your 30s, you can keep the intensity level fairly high with things like circuit training and HIIT. Those in their 40s can bring it down to something more moderate and add in weight training for maximum fat-burning benefits.
One really important tip to follow? Take a day off. Make sure you have one or two days per week to rest your body. Remember, it’s all about balance, so to balance out the extra energy spent from your fitness regimen, you need to take some days to rest and recover. You aren’t 20 anymore, after all.
Now that you are in your 50s and 60s
As you age, movement and exercise become even more important to maintaining the health for which you have worked so hard. Don’t neglect to warm up before and stretch after your cardio and other exercise routines to decrease your chances of injury. In your 50s, your workout target becomes four to six cardio sessions per week that last about 20-40 minutes as well as some additional weight training. Keep it to a moderate pace. In your 60s, be a little gentler with yourself and try for about three days a week of challenging but not exhausting cardio. Walking and balance activities are great for both decades of aging.
Age 65 and up
If you have your AARP card, it is time to rise to your senior status. You may have retired from your job, but that doesn’t mean you get to retire your fitness routine! Adults aged 65 and over should be getting about two and a half hours per week of moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking. If you still go for vigorous exercise, such as jogging, you can decrease that time to about one and a half hours per week. Exercises that help with balance, strength, and flexibility are also a great option. Try out a yoga class or tai chi to keep your mind stimulated as you move your body.
At any age, one of the most important things to remember about exercise is enjoyment! Whether you get your cardio from a Zumba class, biking with your family, or jogging with your furry sidekick doesn’t matter. You will have a much higher chance of maintaining a healthy lifestyle if you’re doing something you actually enjoy rather than something that feels like a chore. Now get out there and get moving!