How To Exercise Effectively In Your 30s

According to The American College of Sports Medicine, adults between the ages of 18 and 65 should remain active by balancing moderate and vigorous aerobic activity with muscular strength and endurance workouts. In other words: physical activity should be a consistent, ongoing part of your routine, no matter if you’re 25, 32, 46, or 65. However, your exercise routine and fitness priorities should adapt as you make more laps around the sun, and as your body and physical needs change.

Not only will staying active and adapting your physical activity improve mental health and physical health, but it will also cut down on your risk of developing life-threatening illnesses or having a fall that results in injury. As Dania Valdes, ACE-certified personal trainer and fitness specialist at Mindbody, explains, we should all actively be working to improve posture and flexibility. By doing so, we can develop and/or maintain good movement patterns and also avoid musculoskeletal injury. 

“We all know that our bodies change as we get older. As we age, we may experience a decrease in flexibility, range of motion, muscular strength, muscle mass, and balance,” Valdes explains. But by staying active, we work to keep ourselves as spirited and fit as possible (and exercise is essential for brain fitness and mood management, too.) Here, some top tips on how to adapt and develop a workout plan that’s safe, healthy, and effective throughout your 30s, 40s, 50s, and 60s.

How to Exercise in Your 30s

Add mobility work.

If you were active throughout your 20s, you might have scoffed at the idea of a ‘rest day’ or taking the time to stretch properly after a workout class. As you enter your 30s, however, you may start to notice more intense soreness and a longer recovery time post-workout. This is normal, but also a gentle nudge from your body to work on your mobility, says Katy Neville, the head of innovation, fitness, and talent for Onyx. Mobility work helps you increase flexibility, decrease soreness, and activate the proper muscles in your workouts, Neville says. 

“In our 20s, we tend to go-go-go without a second thought on which muscles we’re working,” she says. “When age sets in, it becomes increasingly more important to work the right muscles out to balance the body.”

One example is that we all have strength in our body’s front side (aka our quads) due to walking forward, but a lot of people struggle with glute strength due to sitting. Neville says adding 10 minutes of mobility work pre-workout to activate your glutes will help you fire the correct muscles and balance out the front and back sides of the body. Great beginning mobility exercises include a walking lunge, heel raises, and neck circles.

Build in strength training.

According to Kathryn Kelly, award-winning fitness competitor and owner of Taste Buzz Food Tours, all people, women especially, naturally begin losing muscle mass in their 30s. To combat this decrease, we can add muscle-gaining, strength-training workouts instead of focusing solely on cardio. Kelly recommends targeting various body sections and alternating throughout the week. This might look like bicep curls and overhead presses for arm day, weighted leg raises and squats for leg day, and squat presses and weighted lateral lunges for a full-body workout. Kelly says that in addition to improving muscle definition and mass, strength-training also increases metabolism and improves mobility. 

Start paying attention to your form.

When we reach the age of 30, we may start noticing our balance and endurance aren’t as easy to maintain as they were a few years ago. Flexibility is one of those skills that you lose if you don’t practice, and as you blow out more birthday candles, it may require more time and patience. That’s why we will need to start paying much closer attention to details, such as form, to keep our body away from injuries, says Chris Grebe, a NASM-certified personal trainer and the area personal training manager at Blink Fitness. “It’s important to start doubling down on flexibility as well as mobility in your 30s so that you can lay a foundation for the workout program shifts that will happen in the decades beyond,” he explains. We can achieve this by implementing functional workouts such as bodyweight training or suspension training via TRX.

Keep up the cardio.

Women in their 30s are particularly prone to insulin resistance due to metabolic changes in adrenal and thyroid hormones, according to Mindy Pelz, DC, the founder of Family Life Wellness and the Reset Academy. To combat this, invest in a cardio routine you can follow and maintain. Whether it’s road or mountain biking, indoor cycling classes, boot camps, or jogging, the goal is to keep your heart rate raised for a prolonged period. Pelz says cardio workouts should be incorporated four to five times per week for 30 to 60 minutes per session.

Culled by by Lindsay Tigar

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