3 Reasons Why Men Need Cardio at All Ages

Jordan Stachel, MS, RDN

May 20, 2022

Men Exercise All Ages

3 Reasons Why Men Need Cardio at All Ages

By Jordan Stachel

Exercising is one of the best gifts that you can give your body. It has both physical and mental health benefits and helps to support the overall quality of life. Cardiovascular (or cardio) based exercise has many benefits throughout life.

Men need cardio at all ages. If this applies to you or someone you know, read on to learn more!

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1. It has benefits during young adulthood (physical and mental)

Cardio-based exercise is advantageous for men of all ages, and it is helpful to begin in young adulthood. The CDC (Centers for Disease Control) groups physical activity recommendations for all adults into one category, encompassing 18-64 years of age. However, separating young adulthood into its own category is vital as this is a unique time of growth and development. This article will define young adulthood as 18-25 years of age.

For men ages 18-25, cardio-based exercise can be beneficial as this is often a time when hormone levels, and energy levels, are surging. For many men, ages 18-25 is a significant time of change, as men are developing rapidly. Establishing a cardio-based exercise routine during this time can be especially helpful for the physical benefits of this type of movement and the mental health benefits. Regular aerobic (cardio) based exercise reduces many mental health conditions such as anxiety or depression in people of all ages. Establishing this routine in young adulthood, when mental health is of utmost priority, is a helpful tool that you can use for decades to come.

2. It helps to optimize health during adulthood

During adulthood, which, for this article, we will define as ages 25-65 years old, there is a lot of change over many decades. This age range is where having a regular cardio routine will help optimize the health and well-being of men as they age. Health experts recommend getting a minimum of 2.5 hours each week of moderate cardio-based activity and about 1.25 hours each week of vigorous cardio-based activity. This activity translates to a combination of low-moderate intensity and higher intensity movements.

Some examples of how to blend these movements may be:

  • A walk with small intervals of speed walking, jogging, or running
  • A swim with intervals of “all-out” increases in pace
  • A hike with intervals of jogging uphill
  • A strength training class with small intervals of cardio-based, fast-paced movements mixed in

During adulthood, establishing a regular cardio routine that you enjoy is very important as it can help manage medical conditions, including weight management, blood sugar, blood pressure, and mental health status.

3. It helps to promote longevity in older adults

Having strong bones leads to fewer fractures and helps promote healthy balance support. Although this article focuses explicitly on cardio-based exercise, it becomes harder to preserve and build muscle mass as the body ages. The body’s composition begins to shift, with bone and muscle loss naturally occurring due to metabolic shifts. These shifts often result in men over 65 losing bone mass each year. This reality is one of the reasons why moderate strength training is so advantageous for men over 65, as preserving muscle mass helps support and protect the bones.

Although strength training is essential, cardio-based movement is also crucial for men over 65. Research shows that the frequency of movement for men over the age of 65 is fundamental, and these men should aim to do something daily to help promote longevity. Choosing cardio-based actions that are gentle on the body is essential. These activities may be walking, cleaning, vacuuming, or gardening. If these lighter activities feel doable, experiment with more moderate-intensity daily activities such as walking longer distances, swimming in the pool, or riding your bike. As you age, these activities may look different from when you were younger, and that is okay.

Men should try to make cardio-based movement a regular part of their routine from a young age. Establishing a routine from a young age will allow you to begin reaping the benefits and continue to feel these benefits throughout your entire life. Your brain and body will thank you.

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Jordan Stachel holds a Master’s degree in Nutrition and Dietetics from The University of Southern California and is a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist. She has several years of experience helping clients reach their health goals through her clinical work within private practice. Jordan is most fulfilled when guiding others towards making stepwise, sustainable changes that add up to big results over time. Jordan works with a wide variety of individuals, ranging in age from children to the elderly, with an assortment of concerns and clinical conditions. She helps individuals optimize overall health and/or manage disease states using personalized medical nutrition therapy techniques.

Resources:

  1. https://www.cdc.gov/physicalactivity/basics/age-chart.html
  2. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC1470658/
  3. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/2013/11/20/physical-activity-guidelines-how-much-exercise-do-you-need/
  4. https://www.hsph.harvard.edu/nutritionsource/physical-activity-research/
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