The best exercises to do in every decade of your life, experts say – don’t eat this

Getting older can be a wonderful and enjoyable experience – especially as you fully appreciate your body and enjoy it as it changes. This certainly applies to exercise methods. While exercise can help you stay healthy as you age, it’s also best to know what type of physical activities will benefit your body the most and help you avoid potential problems or injuries. We’ve rounded up the best exercises to do every decade of your life, so listen up.


Whether you’re in your 20s, 30s, 40s, 50s, 60s, or more, you’ll want to check out the following exercises from Melissa Kinder, ACE Certified Trainer, Running Coach, and Functional Training Specialist with EvolveYou. Kendter has a passion for helping people of all ages and fitness levels find the best fitness excursions for them. So keep reading to learn the best recommended exercises to do every decade of your life, according to a fitness pro.


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“When you start at a young age, you want to keep your muscles, joints, and overall body strong,” says Kentner. Eat This, Not That!Adding, “Incorporating dynamic compound exercises will be beneficial for building a strong foundation that will follow you through every stage of your life.” First on the list of exercises you should do every decade of your life is the lunge exercise in your 20s.

Kendter explains that this exercise will help you develop unilateral leg function and strength, enhance leg hypertrophy, and “bridge the gap” between real-world movement and strength training during workouts. Although the lunge exercise is the more difficult aspect, this exercise is worth adding to your routine. Get ready to give your hip mobility, range of motion and butt development a boost.

In order to perform the lunge, start with your feet shoulder-width apart. Step forward with one foot in a lunge and pause for a moment. Then, move your other foot up to meet the foot in front of you before stepping forward into another lunge. Continue this movement, alternating the legs. Aim for three sets of 30 to 45 seconds.

Related: Top recommended exercises for increasing endurance as you age

Woman doing gut burning exercises with dumbbells outside
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When it comes to being in your 30s, Kenter explains, “[This is a time when] We settle into life and our work that may lead us to become more sedentary, so you want to make sure you’re targeting your whole body, incorporating strength and cardio movements.”

With that in mind, Kinder suggests doing dumbbell push-ups. She likes this exercise because it simultaneously activates a few major muscle groups, including the core, upper-body, and posterior chain muscles. She also explains that this compound move will give you “maximum bang for your fitness buck,” because it helps sculpt muscle, build strength, and burn body fat.

To start, hold a dumbbell in each hand. Place the weights by your shoulders and next to your ears. For your feet, place them shoulder-width apart. When you are in the proper position, lower into a squatting position. Then, rise again to standing, pressing the dumbbells up above your head, and fully extending your arms. Return to the position you started in. Aim for three sets of eight to 12 reps.

A man doing barbell exercises, exercises for every decade of your life
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Deadlifts may have a scary name, however, Kendter says they happen to be “a time-effective way to build and maintain muscle, specifically in the posterior chain, [which includes the] The entire butt from your calves and glutes to your upper back! “

As you get older, you may adopt more sedentary habits. This can lead to weak glutes and poor posture. Kindter explains, “Deadlifting is very effective at increasing functional strength because it activates your largest muscles, strengthens your entire butt, improves posture, and trains you in the functional activity of safely lifting objects off the ground, which is a key skill for staying strong in life.”

While the deadlift is usually done with a barbell, you can also hold a dumbbell in each hand. Start with your feet shoulder-width apart and weights on the floor. Bend over to grab the bar (or dumbbells). While keeping your back straight, lift the weight up until you are in a standing position. Stop before you lower the weight back to the floor. Aim for three sets of six to 10 reps.

A man holding a farmer's heavy dumbbell
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By the time you reach your 50s, Kentner says your balance and coordination may start to decline, so it’s crucial to focus on functional exercises to maintain strong bones and good balance. She also notes that “from carrying packages to moving the couch, or just bringing groceries, carrying loads is part of our daily lives and it’s important to have the confidence to do it without worrying about getting hurt or simply not being able to do it.”

That’s why Kendter recommends performing a loaded load as part of your exercise routine at this age and stage of life. continue to explain,”[They] Target your entire body from your gait, core, abs and more. They provide a great deal of benefits, especially for increasing strength development, athleticism, balance and injury prevention. This functional movement improves your ability to perform everyday tasks and even activities you do for pleasure.

To perform loaded pushups, simply grab a dumbbell, and walk forward a certain distance that you find challenging but not overwhelming. Once you reach the end point, let go of the weight and rest. Then go again. Aim to walk for 45 seconds at a time, in sets of three. In order to really see the benefits of this physical activity, remember that the goal is to gain weight and maintain proper shape.

Related: 6 daily habits for regaining muscle mass after 60, says fitness expert

Bird dog exercise
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“As we get closer to our 60s and 70s, we want to make sure we’re constantly working on balance, mobility, and posture,” Kindter explains, adding, “Around this time, we see more hip and joint issues emerging, so being able to move smoothly is key.”

Enter, jumper dog. Although it looks like a hybrid creature, it’s actually an exercise that uses your whole body to strengthen your hips, core, back, and gluteal muscles. In addition, this exercise promotes good posture, enhances your range of motion, and relieves lower back pain.

To perform bird dogs, carefully come up to the ground before getting down on your hands and knees. When you are stable, raise one arm up and point it in front of you. If you are able, lift the other leg as well and point it behind you. Then return your arm and leg to the starting position. Then, do the same movement with the other arm and leg. Kendter advises aiming for three sets of 12 to 15 reps on each side, however, listen to your body, and do less if that’s challenging enough.

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