The Age-Specific Workout Formula You Need to Know

Updated: September 22, 2017

Spinal Osteoporosis

Have you ever wondered how much exercise you have to do until it’s ‘enough?’

Enough to reap the benefits for your heart and lungs.

Enough to minimize aging.

And enough to maximize your muscle and bone strength.

“Enough” Depends On…

Your age.

As you get older, it’s important to get the most gain for the time you put in by maximizing your workouts.

According to the 2008 Physical Activity Guidelines for Americans, older adults should do at least 2 hours and 30 minutes a week of moderate-intensity workouts, at the very least.

Research has shown that working out consistently 3 days a week is linked to many health benefits such as better heart health, arthritis and depression.

Of those 3 days, 2 of them should incorporate muscle strengthening exercises in the form of resistance training (see definition and specific exercises below).

The Not-So-Secret Workout Formula

A recent article in Zoomer Mag talked about a formula that we should all take into consideration. And after looking at it, it makes a lot of sense.

The formula says that:

  • At age 40, you should do 60 per cent aerobic and 40 per cent resistance exercises.
  • At age 50, you should do 50 per cent aerobic and 50 per cent resistance exercises.
  • At age 60, you should do 40 per cent aerobic and 60 per cent resistance exercises.
  • At age 70, you should do 30 per cent aerobic and 70 per cent resistance exercises.
  • …and so on

Now everyone is different, so this formula shouldn’t be your definitive guide when it comes to working out. But it can give you an idea of what may be a good balance for you.

The reason behind this formula is that, as you know, you start losing 1% of your bone mineral density each year after 40. But did you know this also happens with your muscle mass?

Sarcopenia is the degenerative loss of skeletal muscle mass. And each year after age 50, it is typical to lose 0.5% to 1% of your total muscle mass.

So as you get older, more resistance exercise is crucial to combat these losses.

So What Is Resistance Exercise?

Resistance exercise refers to exercising your muscles using an opposing force.

It works because resistance makes your muscles contract, which builds the quality and strength of your muscles. This ensures that you are building the muscles, ligaments and tendons surrounding your joints (and also strengthening your bones in the process).

Resistance exercise can be in the form of free weights, machines, tubing and resistance bands- anything that forces your muscle to overcome a resistant force.

My favorite exercises use resistance tubes and bands. They are inexpensive and compact (you can bring them with you when travelling and store them away easily).

Here are 5 Resistance Band Exercises You Can Do Anywhere (with pictures).

If you follow this simple formula and workout 3 times a week for 45 minutes, (2 of them including resistance exercises) you will be on the right track.

You will be doing enough to help yourself age better, reduce muscle loss and help maximize your overall health too.

Remember – it doesn’t matter where you are now, but where you want to go!


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This article features advice from our industry experts to give you the best possible info through cutting-edge research.

Lara Pizzorno
MDiv, MA, LMT - Best-selling author of Healthy Bones Healthy You! and Your Bones; Editor of Longevity Medicine Review, and Senior Medical Editor for Integrative Medicine Advisors.,
Dr. Liz Lipski
PhD, CNS, FACN, IFMP, BCHN, LDN - Professor and Director of Academic Development, Nutrition programs in Clinical Nutrition at Maryland University of Integrative Health.,
Dr. Loren Fishman
MD, B.Phil.,(oxon.) - Medical Director of Manhattan Physical Medicine & Rehabilitation and Founder of the Yoga Injury Prevention Website.,
Prof. Didier Hans
PHD, MBA - Head of Research & Development Center of Bone Diseases, Lausanne University Hospital CHUV, Switzerland,