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Not to be the bearer of bad news, but once you hit your 30s, your body slowly starts to change. You lose muscle mass if you aren’t physically active, and according to WebMD, your “maximum attainable heart rate” is decreased by one beat per minute every year. Ensuring your body is as active and healthy as possible can help you fight off major illnesses and even extend your life. If you’re unsure of where to begin, updating your workout is always a solid start. We’ve rounded up six daily cardio exercises to stay fit as you age. Work them into your routine, and your mind and body will thank you.
Donna Cennamano, NASM-CPT and manager of training at CycleBar, breaks down the benefits of kicking up your cardio as you age. “For one, it keeps our heart and lungs healthy and helps to maintain/increase the capacity of both. Aerobic activity is especially suitable for older populations, as it makes for sustainable activity over a longer period of time (versus anaerobic activity that drives intensity and stems from short bursts of activity). A routine, aerobic fitness regimen keeps muscles active, agile, and less prone to injury,” Cennamano explains.
Now, let’s get into the six best cardio exercises to stay fit as you age. And next, don’t miss 5 Dumbbell Exercises That Drastically Change Your Body Shape After 40.
1. Indoor Cycling
Hop on an exercise bike, and get some cycling done if you want to stay fit well into your older years.
“The non-impact nature of indoor cycling is one of the major draws of the activity,” Cennamano tells us. “Riders can control the amount of resistance on the wheel and monitor levels of intensity. At CycleBar, a rhythm-based interval-driven workout, riders can enjoy riding to the beat of the music in a group environment. The elements of music and community are major benefits in addition to the cardiovascular gains and appeal to all ages and fitness levels.”
Swimming is another excellent form of cardio that’s non-impact and will provide a total-body workout.
“[Swimming] employs countless muscles in the body while also yielding cardiovascular benefits. It’s a great option for those recovering from injury. Just 10 to 30 minutes a day promotes heart health and increased strength,” Cennamano explains.
Don’t underestimate the power of a good old-fashioned walk if you want to stay fit as you age. Whether you get your strides in on the treadmill or head outdoors to soak up some sunshine and fresh air, walking is chock-full of goodness for your mind and body. And to make things more interesting, you can always recruit a walking buddy!
“Just 30 minutes a day is preventative care against heart disease, diabetes, and depression, to name a few,” Cennamano points out. “It can promote socialization with a friend or even serve as a meditative experience. A tip for longevity is to get a proper fitting for walking shoes that offer support!”
The next time you’re at your gym, check out the elliptical. This cardio machine is a perfect source of non-impact exercise that puts both your lower and upper body to work. You’ll be raking in the miles before no time.
“The ability to sustain activity for the long run hinges on identifying movement (or equipment) you enjoy using/doing,” Cennamano says. “Available at most gyms, ellipticals are a great way to simulate walking or jogging.”
5. Strength Training
Considering you lose anywhere from 3% to 5% of lean muscle every 10 years after turning 30, strength training is not a question—it’s a necessity.
“Strength training is an essential pairing to activities like cycling in that it promotes mobility across planes of motion,” Cennamano explains. “Rotational or lateral strength-based exercises complement more push and pull activities like cycling. Depending on the reps, it can also be cardiovascular in nature.”
In order to ensure strength training is as productive as possible as you age, Cennamano stresses the importance of communicating injuries to a fitness professional and opting for modifications, if necessary. Clearly outlining your goals is key, along with learning the fundamentals of strength training to make sure safety is at the forefront.
6. Movement-Based Classes
Boosting your cardio game to stay fit as you age can be as simple as moving your body.
“The key to doing this routinely is finding classes that you love. Dance classes, Zumba, the Nia technique, etc. are all practices that promote movement to music in a group environment and are sustainable at any age,” Cennamano says.