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Are you fit (enough) for your age?

How does your fitness rank against that of others your age, and are you doing enough exercise to boost your odds of living a long and healthy life?

Here’s our challenge to you: are you in good shape compared to your peers, or do you need to step it up a gear?

Of course, what we can expect of our body will naturally decline as we get older – but given the huge impact physical activity has on our long-term mental and physical health, it’s important that we don’t simply shrug our shoulders and resign ourselves to a dramatic decline in our fitness levels as soon as we pass a certain age.

So, what’s the fitness norm for each age group – and do you meet it? Just how fit should you be at any given age to maximise your chances of good health?

A good level of fitness would look like this…

We can do some simple assessments ourselves if we want to measure our fitness levels.

Aerobic fitness can be tested during/after activity or at rest.

At rest, you simply check your pulse either on your wrist or neck: for most adults, a healthy resting heart rate is 60 to 100 beats per minute (BPM).

There are several options for assessing your fitness while active. For example, you can stop to check your heart rate (pulse) periodically during an aerobic workout, or just after a brisk walk if you don’t exercise regularly. You should be aiming for 50–75 per cent of the maximum heart rate for your age, which translates to

93–138 BPM for those aged 35+
88-131 BPM aged 45+
83–123 BPM aged 55+
78–116 aged 65+

If you’re falling short of this, you need to gradually increase the intensity of your exercise.

Alternatively, go on a 1.5-mile run and see how long it takes you. As an example, a woman aged 45–54 should be aiming for 14 minutes and a man of the same age 12 minutes – these results would denote good levels of fitness.

Strength and flexibility are also key measures, and there are a number of tests to assess these. Strength can be measured using sit-up and press-up tests, for example, while the ‘sit and reach’ test measures the flexibility of the back of your legs, hips and lower back.

Aspria members can get further information on such tests from the expert wellbeing team at their club – but as an example, if you’re a woman aged 45–54 years and can do 14 press-ups without stopping for a rest, or 25 sit-ups, this would be a good result. Men of the same age should be aiming for 16 press-ups or 35 sit-ups.

Can you do these exercises?

An acceptable level of fitness would look like this…

If the above sounds beyond you at the moment – as we say, these results would denote good fitness levels – then the list below outlines the minimum you should be able to do.

In your 20s:
Run 5km in 30 minutes.
Perform 20 burpees in a row.
Hold a full plank for one minute each side.

In your 30s:
Run a mile in less than 9 minutes.
Hold a plank for 45 seconds.
Deadlift more than 50 per cent of your bodyweight.

In your 40s:
Sprint for 60 seconds without stopping.
Perform 10 press-ups without stopping.
Touch your toes comfortably while keeping your legs straight.

In your 50s:
Run at a moderate pace for 60 seconds without stopping.
Perform five burpees without stopping.
Lower yourself into a cross-legged sitting position on the floor (without using your hands) and then return to standing.

In your 60s:
Regularly take more than 10,000 steps in a day.
Perform 12 bodyweight squats without stopping.
Touch your fingertips with one hand over your shoulder and the other behind your back.

In your 70s:
Walk a mile in less than 16 minutes.
Comfortably climb a flight of stairs with 10 steps in under 30 seconds.
Rise to stand from a chair without using hands or arms and repeat 12+ times in 30 seconds.

But we’re all individuals

However, it’s important to recognise that everyone is different, and you certainly shouldn’t force yourself into these exercises if you aren’t ready for them.

Having a tailored programme, with regular reviews based around your current fitness levels, will help you progress safely towards improved health – which is why all members of Aspria are entitled to an update of their personal wellbeing programmes whenever they feel they need one.

Find out more about Aspria membership here.

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