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Digital Subscriptions > Healthy Magazine > February 2019 > Fit has NO AGE LIMIT

Fit has NO AGE LIMIT

A lifetime of regular exercise can defy ageing, yet more than a third us of aren’t getting enough. Luckily, it’s never too late to start

20s What’s happening?

At this stage, we’re firing on all cylinders. Our body finds it easier to tone up, metabolism is at its peak and we’re set up for recovery. But that’s not to say this decade comes carefree. ‘That we’re all done and dusted as teenagers is a myth,’ says Dr Catherine Spencer- Smith, consultant physician in sport and exercise medicine. ‘We’re still growing in our early twenties, and do have some struggles maintaining a healthy weight going into adulthood, and maximising on our peak bone mineral density mass.’ External factors like our mindset and lifestyle tend to have a larger impact here, too – partying, little sleep and poor nutrition affect the amount of activity we realistically fit in.

What should I do?

HABITS This is the ideal time to lay the foundations for a healthy body. Biological markers indicate that muscle mass decreases by 50 per cent between the ages of 20 and 90, so capitalise on the gains you can make now, says Kira Mahal, personal trainer and founder of MotivatePT. ‘If you can establish a good base level of fitness, cardiovascular ability and strength in these years, it will serve you well into your thirties and forties. It’s about futureproofing your body.’ EXERCISE ‘You can do most things in your twenties,’ says Mahal. ‘Highintensity interval training (HIIT) is great, as are cardio and weight lifting. You’ve got the energy and stamina for it, so try to fit in three to five sessions a week.’ Dr Spencer-Smith says, ‘Weight-bearing, impact-type activities like HIIT are ideal for banking bone mass, and it’s important to keep up sports.’ Mahal also recommends balancing the intensity with slower, complementary exercises. ‘Try Pilates or a bit of mat work, as it’s a really good time to understand how your body moves, and get technique spot-on, too.’ TESTS Once your skeleton has reached full maturity (in your mid-late twenties) a biomechanical test can analyse your movement and alignment. Otherwise, staying on top of smear tests and vaccinations is key at this age.

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About Healthy Magazine

Kickstart your healthy new year with our fitness issue! Inside, you’ll find our 20-page fitness special, with essential moves to master whether you’re 22 or 62, tips on how to outsmart your inner quitter, and the ultimate guide to finding your athletic identity. We explore fitness decade-by-decade, deliver the realistic guide to a better sex life, and cover star Deliciously Ella shares some honest advice about plant-based diets. Plus, our food section gets a special Veganuary makeover (think colourful 15-minute meals and box clever bento), and we reveal the natural beauty resolutions you’ll actually stick to. Find all this and more in the brand new issue of Healthy!