Staying in peak condition gets a little tougher as we age. But there’s no need to dread the gateway to middle age. Your 30s are a great opportunity to establish good fitness habit that will last a lifetime.
The loss of physical function that begins around age 40 will be barely noticeable in your 30s. But you may detect a subtle slowing down, and perhaps the beginnings of the infamous grunt as you get up from the armchair!
The key is to make changes now. Follow our advice and there’s no reason why you can’t get fitter, stronger and faster in your 30s and beyond.
MUSCLE MASS – your body will lose 6-10lb of muscle during your 30s, whilst gaining more fat. This will accelerate when you hit 40 so you need to get lifting now!
Focusing on strength training in your 30s will help combat fat gain and stimulate muscles for new growth. Regularly lifting heavy weights will preserve the muscle mass you built in your 20s. Studies show lifting weights just twice a week can reverse age-related decline and all you need is an exercise mat and a set of dumbbells.
AEROBIC CAPACITY – stamina peaks around 31 – 32 but just like any other muscle, the heart loses strength as you age. Your body’s ability to extract oxygen from your blood also decreases, and blood pressure begins to rise.
Increasing cardio in your 30s will also help you to gain crucial muscle tone as well as combat the gain in fat. Try activities such as running, circuit-training, biking, step aerobics and swimming. High intensity training drills like Tabata are also a great way to maintain your cardio as aerobic capacity starts to decline mid-decade. This interval training app may help you get started.
METABOLISM – a big hurdle to weight loss for many people – begins its decline in your 20s, decreasing another 2-3 percent in your 30s. Your busy schedule may tempt you to exercise less, but that’s when the pounds start to creep on.
FLEXIBILITY decreases in our 30th decade as we tend to do less bending and stretching, especially if we have a desk job. Posture tends to become a real issue, back problems and injuries more likely.
It’s perfectly possible to be more flexible in your 30s and 40s than you’ve ever been. Now is the time to engage in joint-friendly and muscle stretching exercises. Yoga is an obvious gym class to try but plenty of cardio classes will also include stretching. Or try some good stretches for flexibility for home workouts.
Hitting the gym regularly in your 30s won’t keep the wrinkles and grey hairs at bay, but there’s no doubt that exercise is the closest thing to the fountain of youth.
by Kath Webb
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