How to Stay Fit At Any Age


By Maggie Fazeli Fard |

The adage “use it or lose it” may ring true when it comes to fitness pursuits, but it is in dire need of revision: “Use it or lose it — but not necessarily forever.” With the right approach, you can improve your fitness at any age.

“We are all so much more capable than we give ourselves credit for,” says Alisha Dy, NASM-CPT, PES, CES, a Minnesota-based Life Time trainer who works with older adults. “Society deems people seniors at 65-plus, but many think of themselves as ‘old’ long before that.”

But people of all ages — medical advice permitting — can achieve functional fitness (see “A Guide to Exercise at Every Age“).

The following workout focuses on building and maintaining strength, balance, and agility. The exercises develop core, leg, and posterior-chain strength while also improving motor skills — all markers of basic function that we assume decline with age.

The Workout

Perform the following moves two or three times per week. The time and intensity depends on the individual. Before you begin, ask yourself, How am I feeling? Did I sleep well? What am I ready for? Avoid the trap of following “shoulds” and external expectations, says Dy. Instead, follow your intuition and choose modifications as necessary.

To that end, start with the exer-cises that make the most sense for you, and in time you’ll likely find that your abilities expand. Be patient and stay consistent.

Kettlebell Deadlift

Strengthens the posterior chain, including the upper back, glutes, hamstrings, and calves. The hinge pattern of a deadlift improves hip stability and mobility.

  1. Perform between three and five sets of eight to 12 repetitions.

 Elevate the start–finish position by placing the kettlebell on a low box.

Goblet Squat to Box

Activates the glutes and helps you hit a consistent squat depth. Holding a kettlebell “goblet-style” engages the core to keep an upright posture.

  1. Perform between three and five sets of eight to 12 reps.

Perform without weight or by sitting back onto a sturdy chair with arm rests for added support.

Cable Row

Strengthens the upper back, shoulders, and lats while mobilizing the scapulae.

  1. Perform between three and five sets of eight to 12 reps.

Sit on a sturdy box, bench, or chair that allows you to plant both feet firmly on the floor with knees bent at about 90 degrees.

March in Place

Improves balance, hip stability, and core strength.

  1. Perform between three and fives sets of 20 marches.

March while seated on a sturdy bench or chair that allows you to firmly plant both feet and bend knees at about 90 degrees.

Palloff Twist

Combines rotation and antirotation, strengthening the core while stabilizing and protecting the lumbar spine. Performing this move upright reduces stress on the neck and lower back.

  1. Perform between three and five sets of eight to 12 reps per side.

Take out the rotations and hold the press for up to 30 seconds on each side.

Deadbug

Develops core stability and cross-body coordination.

  1. Perform between three and five sets of 20 reps (each extension counts as one).

Hold a stability ball between your arms and legs. Then extend only one leg or arm at a time.

This originally appeared as “Forever Fit” in the June 2018 print issue of Experience Life.

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