Looking to add some variety to your workouts? Looking to maybe start working out?
Your twenties are a prime time to pick up new health habits and to try out new fitness activities. During this time, your lifestyle and body tend to go through a lot of changes. Maybe you’re not as active as you were in high school or college. Maybe you’ve added more beer or wine into your diet. (Guilty). Maybe you’ve started a 9-5 Monday-Friday grownup job and can’t find as much time for physical activity.
In fact, according to Health and associate professor of nutrition, Penny Gordon-Larsen, “…women put on an average of 2.2 pounds per year between ages 18 and 30.”
2.2 pounds per year between 18 and 30!
That’s 26.4 pounds in total. And 15.4 pounds by the time you’re 25. With your body going through all of these changes, it’s important to do your part to take care of it.
What’s more, changing up your fitness routines and adding new healthy habits into your day can result in huge benefits to not only your physical health, but your mental health as well.
Working out can lead to sharper memory and thinking, higher self-esteem, better sleep, more energy, and stronger resilience. It’s also an effective way to relieve stress, anxiety, and can help with depression. For more information on the mental health benefits of exercise you can check out this article from Help Guide.
It’s important to shop around for the fitness activities that are right for you.
And it’s important to experiment with a variety of activities. Try things that focus on cardio, flexibility, strength-training etc. Not every workout is ideal for every person. And you’re not going to like every workout. But if you find one that you enjoy, you will be much more likely to incorporate fitness into your life on a regular basis.
So, what different activities can you try and what are their benefits?
**I have split the activities between 3 categories: cardio, balance/flexibility, and strength-training. Please note that many of these activities actually involve more than one of these focuses. I just chose to put them in each category based on their biggest focus.
Aerobic / Cardio based activities:
Just getting started with fitness? Taking a walk for 20-30 min. a day is a great way to get your body moving. What are the benefits?
Helps to maintain weight levels
Can lower blood pressure and cholesterol
*Improves mood and helps to relieve stress*
*an added benefit of all of these fitness activities*
Get outside and appreciate the beauty the world has to offer while staying healthy. Benefits include:
Lowers risk of heart disease
Helps lower cholesterol
Strengthens lower body – glutes, hamstrings, hips
Helps strengthen your core
- Cycling class
Personally, I don’t know why people do this. It hurts my pelvic bone and quite frankly – it’s boring. BUT – some people really like it. So maybe you will too. What are the benefits you ask?
Improves cardio endurance
Helps burn a lot of calories
Helps build lean muscle definition
- Rhythmic dancing classes such as zumba or clubbin’
These types of classes can be a lot of fun if you’re just starting out. And don’t worry about whether or not people will judge you or look at you funny or whether or not you won’t be able to keep up with the moves. Everyone is in the same boat. Everyone is focused on their own fitness. You got this. Benefits?
Gets your heart rate up, your body moving, and improves cardio
Can help with balance and coordination
- Kickboxing / Boxing
Now I’m putting Kickboxing (or boxing) under cardio because it is an awesome and fun way to get your cardio in. However, a lot of kickboxing/boxing trainers and classes incorporate a lot of strength-training warmups and activities alongside the bag work. Some benefits?
Great way to burn calories and improve cardio
Helps to reduce stress and improve energy levels
Helps with coordination and posture
Flexibility/balance based activities:
This is the category I definitely need some more experience in. Balance is not my strong suit. Which is why yoga would be perfect for me to try. Benefits include:
lLowers blood pressure
Help with insomnia and stress
Improves balance and flexibility
Helps with respiration and energy levels
Pilates seems to be a little more focused on strengthening muscles than Yoga is. And there tends to be a lot of core work involved. They also use a weird apparatus with pulleys and straps. So that might be fun. Benefits:
Helps improve muscle strength in your core
Improves flexibility and coordination
Improves posture and stabilization of your spine
- Aerial Yoga… if you’re feeling a little extra adventurous…
While this looks fun, this also looks like it requires a lot of strength and a lot of coordination. But hey – everyone who has mastered something had to be a beginner at some point.
Helps relieve pressure in the spine
Helps to improve flexibility
Improves upper body/arm strength
- Tai Chi
Tai Chi is a holistic approach to wellness that focuses on relieving the physical effects of stress on the body and mind. It is a great choice if you want to focus on better mental and lowering stress in your life.
Improves posture, balance and flexibility
Improves mood and helps to alleviate pain
Said to help strengthen the immune system
Honestly, I would probably be terrible at barre. It’s a fitness class that revolves around the use of a ballet barre to perform different strength, flexibility, and balance exercises. But maybe you’ll love it! Some of the benefits?
Improves your posture and flexibility
Helps tone and strengthen muscles
Can help increase bone density
Now for the category: ‘They sound scary and overwhelming but trust me – they’re not and you can do it.” And Focusing on strength training to some degree in your twenties is especially important.
Why? Because according to Women’s Health, strength-training “…increases lean muscle mass, boosts metabolism, torches calories, eases back pain, helps you sleep, and even wards off diabetes.”
So what can you do to start strength-training?
- Squats, lunges, planks, jump rope
These types of exercises are a great way to start getting in shape. For one, they don’t cost any money (unless you don’t own a jump rope and then all you have to do is buy a jump rope). Two, they are a great way to start strengthening your muscles.
Helps strengthen your muscles and burn body fat
Exercises like planks can help strengthen your core
Helps improve and maintain mobility and balance
- CrossFit classes
For some reason I feel like CrossFit sounds scary. But truly anyone can do it. Of course it will probably be hard if you’re just starting out. But really almost anything worth doing will be difficult at the start. It’s a great way to challenge your body and keep your workouts different and exciting. Benefits include:
Improves posture, flexibility and balance
Increases power and strength
Improves agility and cardio endurance
- Metabolic Conditioning classes (MetCon)
What are metabolic conditioning classes you ask? I’ll tell you. Metabolic conditioning workouts use a number of different exercises designed to keep your body burning calories while strengthening muscles and building endurance. Typically you’ll keep moving from exercise to exercise – like burpees, wall-sits with weights, pushing a weighted sled etc.
Because the exercise changes every 30 seconds to a minute it keeps the workout interesting and can be a lot of fun. What are the benefits of this workout? I’ll tell you that too.
Rapidly burns calories at a high rate
Tones and strengthens muscles
Helps increase speed and power
Weightlifting seems to have developed this stigma that it’s a boys’ workout. But weightlifting can be an extremely good workout for girls as well. Just ask Whitney Simmons. What are some of the benefits of weightlifting?
Helps to build muscle and subsequently burn more calories
Can improve posture and reduce joint pain and back pain
Can help you increase bone density and reduce the risk of osteoporosis
And if you’re not looking to spend much (or any) money on gyms or classes:
- Cycling (Outdoors if you have a bike)
- Squats, lunges, planks, jump rope
A lot of information and fitness ideas are available on Youtube these days. So if you aren’t quite ready to join a gym or take a group class, you can try some classes from the comfort of your own living room!
What fitness classes and hobbies do you keep up with? What fitness activities would you maybe like to try? Let us know!
Check out 20 quotes of advice for people in their 20’s here!