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Fitness Challenges For Every Age From 20 to 80

Here’s what you should be able to do to call yourself a fit adult.

For many people, fitness is not about attempting to sculpt a chiselled six-pack or being able to run a marathon in under three hours. It’s simply about staying in good shape. Being able to say, without crossing your fingers, that you are a reasonably healthy adult.

However, it can be hard to quantify exactly what that means, especially as what constitutes “good shape” changes for people of different ages.

Fortunately, Tim Wright, sport physiotherapist and the creator of Virgin Active’s Beyond Movement service, has devised a series of three tests that people in each age group from their 20s to their 70s should be able to do if they are in good physical condition.

You need to be able to tick all three boxes to pass the test, as the trio of components are designed to test different aspects of fitness – cardiovascular fitness, strength and mobility.

If you find you need to work on your fitness, a great place to start is our 30-day challenges that will improve your strength and overall fitness. Just keep scrolling and pick your poison – we recommend the burpee challenge which works for everyone because it takes your current fitness level as its starting point.

In your 20s

  • Run 5km in 30 minutes
  • Perform 20 burpees in a row
  • Hold a side plank for one minute each side

In your 30s

  • Run a mile (1.6km) in less than nine minutes
  • Hold a classic plank for 45 seconds
  • Deadlift more than 50% of your bodyweight

In your 40s

  • Sprint for 60 seconds without stopping
  • Do ten push-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
  • Do 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 a day
  • Perform 12 bodyweight squats without stopping
  • Touch your fingertips together with one hand over your shoulder and the other behind your back

In your 70s

  • Walk a mile in less than 16 minutes
  • Climb a flight of stairs with 10 steps in under 30 seconds comfortably
  • Rise to stand from a chair without using hands or arms and repeat 12+ times in 30 seconds

30-Day Fitness Challenges

Each of these month-long fitness regimes focuses on a specific exercise, making you a master of that move while increasing your strength and mobility.

Burpee Challenge

Start off with the all-in-one fitness classic – the burpee. This hellishly effective exercise strengthens muscles all over the body while also improving your cardiovascular endurance. There’s no set number to achieve in the 30 days – you will instead work to improve your max burpee total in two minutes. This makes it the perfect starting point because it scales the plan to your current level.

Plank Challenge

This 30-day challenge is all about your core strength, with participants starting with a 60-second plank on day one and aiming to progress to a three-minute plank by day 30. In between those two points you’ll also be doing other exercises like superman and plank up-downs so that you finish the month with a core of steel.

Push-Up Challenge

Completing 100 push-ups in one go is a brutal test of upper-body strength and this ranks as perhaps the toughest of our 30-day challenges. You start with 20 push-ups on day one, and the reps quickly pile up as you add variations to build the power required to hit 100 on day 30.

Squat Challenge

The unweighted squat is a superb exercise that builds strength in your entire lower body and core. There are no variations on the squat theme in this 30-day challenge, just a steady rise in reps from 50 on day one to 250 on day 30.

Written by Nick Harris-Fry for Coach and legally licensed through the Matcha publisher network. Please direct all licensing questions to legal@getmatcha.com.

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