Working out will keep you slim and strong through the upcoming decades. Exercise can add years to your life and thwart a number of aging factors, like stress, obesity heart disease, and diabetes.
But you may not realize that your workouts need to change in your 30s. These 5 fitness focuses will give you a stronger, healthier body that will put your 20s to shame.
Here’s how your body will probably shift gears once you crest 30.
Bone density peaks in your late 20s. Until around 50, our bodies replace bone breakdown with new bone formation. But preserving as much bone as possible, starting now, will safeguard against age-related bone loss, osteopenia, and osteoporosis that can come down the road.
Muscle loss picks up right about now. The rate of muscle loss tends to be greater in the lower body (our larger muscle groups) than in the upper body. Losing muscle slows our metabolism, which can lead to weight gain. It also can directly impact your mobility, strength, energy levels, immune system, and even organ function.
With families and careers in full swing, this is the time when women start to sacrifice their own health and put other things and people first. Our thirties come with a fitness-wrecking combination of busy schedules and sedentary routines. We spend more time sitting at desks and commuting to work. Then we shift gears to manage the responsibilities of adulthood and family. There’s less time for working out than ever before!
The average American feels the most stressed at 36 years-old. Money issues, family problems, and a demanding job rank as the biggest stressors. But more than three-quarters of this group noted that when they take care of themselves and their body with exercise, nutrition, and hydration, they feel much more equipped to deal with external stressors.
There’s a reason why endurance athletes peak in their thirties. It’s in this decade when our body’s strength, endurance, oxygen efficiency, and coordination come together to create optimal fitness and performance.
As we hit thirty, our bodies change, and it’s important that we change our workouts too. Shift your fitness focus to these five exercises to feel your best in your thirties.
Sedentary jobs lead to tightness throughout our bodies. Hamstrings, hips, neck, and back muscles take the hit when we sit at a desk most of the day.
Muscle tightness in addition to increased daily stress can interrupt sleep, increase cortisol, and add on aches and pains. These are the years you’ll start catching yourself making grunting noises when you get up off the couch or pick up your kid.
Yoga is your hedge against the aging process. Its benefits are well-documented. Yoga increases flexibility, improves circulation, strengthens core muscles, reduces stress, improves the quality of sleep, and even boosts people’s sex lives! Get a deep stretch with yoga at least once a week to feel the benefits.
Your metabolism is directly correlated to your lean muscle mass. That means you can stop, and even reverse, the decline with regular strength training.
We’ve known for a while that strength training is the new cardio when it comes to revving your metabolism and burning fat. In fact, a September 2021 systematic review and meta-analysis in Sports Medicine found that healthy adults who completed strength training workouts four times a week decreased their fat mass, visceral fat, and body fat percentage compared to non-exercising controls.
Adding exercises that target your larger muscle groups, like squats, pull-ups, lunges, and deadlifts, to your weekly routine can help slow and even prevent muscle loss. Try this no-equipment lower-body workout two times this week.
Those of us who have had injuries start to feel the effects in our thirties. This is the decade when, because of injury-related pain, we become more sedentary. We start to feel twinges and aches when we use poor form during workouts. We can now really feel the impact of high-impact exercises.
That’s why swimming is a great option for women over thirty. Swimming is not only low-impact, it also builds endurance. One study found that women who swam for 12 weeks improved their maximum oxygen consumption by 10 percent. The women’s stroke volume (the amount of blood pumped with each heartbeat, indicating the organ’s strength) improved by as much as 18 percent.
Women are twice more likely than men to suffer from depression and associated symptoms like anxiety and loss of sleep. Swimming is your pick-me-up. It releases endorphins and neurotransmitters which make you feel happy and ward off depression. A quiet environment with few distractions can make this exercise a calm, tranquil activity. Pick from these three swim workouts for beginners to try this week.
Busy women need HIIT workouts. You can stay fit by workout out smarter, not longer. Boost your burn by focusing on intensity. Research has found that women who did four to six 30-second sprints on a bike for a total exercise time of 1.5 hours a week saw fitness increases similar to another group who cycled at a moderate pace for a total of four 4.5 hours per week.
HIIT can increase your metabolism and allow your body to keep burning calories hours after your workout. High-intensity intervals also strengthen your bones, making you less prone to injury and age-related bone loss. Do less, and burn more with this HIIT workout.
Many women experience pregnancy by their 30s, along with a lot of physical changes as a result. One change is called diastasis recti, where the abdominal muscles separate to make space for their new roommate.
Pregnancy and childbirth can also weaken the pelvic floor muscles — millions of mothers suffer from weak core muscles and pelvic floor dysfunction. On the other side of pregnancy, many women experience mommy tummy, backaches, fatigue, and incontinence. But all of these negative side effects don’t have to be part of the motherhood package.
Pilates is a mercy for mamas. It focuses on engaging the core stabilizer muscles, like the diaphragm, transverse abdominis, pelvic floor muscles, and multifidus. Join a pilates class to heal your core, relieve pain, and improve your pelvic floor function.
With a few adjustments to your fitness routine, you’ve got the step-by-step to kick your workouts into high gear! Pair your new workouts with a balanced diet, and you’ll be on your way to your healthiest decade yet. I’ll get you started with my 5 day meal plan, click here to download it for free.