There are two certain things in life: death and taxes. There’s no getting away from growing older and the effects of aging.
The age of 30 is a particular milestone as it’s the age that we can clearly see the effects of the body moving from growth phase to the wind down or degenerative phase.
In our 30s, our metabolism slows and our muscle mass, bone density and flexibility all decrease. The results are varied: it’s easier to put on weight, harder to put on muscle mass, and it takes longer to recover from exercise.
But that doesn't mean you can't stay lean and muscular in your 30s. Working out during this decade all comes down to a matter of working out harder and smarter.
Remember exercise isn't just about improving your health today. Every minute spent in the gym or on the road fortifies your body against potential ailments far in the future.
Aerobic exercise, such as running, cycling or walking, is often seen at the opposite end of the spectrum to power lifting and strength exercise.
The general perception is that aerobic exercise is about fat burn whilst weight-lifting is all about putting on muscle mass. The reality is that the health benefits of the two overlap more than they differ.
At the age of 30, our growth hormones decrease dramatically, and we subsequently lose about 1% of our muscle mass annually. Our muscles are an active tissue that boost our metabolism. In short, more muscle means greater fat burn (muscle burns 3 times the amount of calories that fat burns).
Weight-lifting therefore isn’t just about bulking up and achieving muscle mass, but it’s great at burning calories too.
Weight-lifting has a laundry list of additional benefits, which include improved posture, higher bone density and less inflammation.
Once into your 30s, the days of back-to-back intense workouts are gone. Like it or lump it, the body needs more recharging time in between workouts.
Yoga is a low-impact active exercise routine that can help your body rebuild on rest days. Yoga has a variety of benefits as it focuses on flexibility and mental health as much as it does on physical agility.
Yoga improves flexibility, strengthens core muscles and improves circulation. It has also been found to reduce stress and tension, and improve balance and coordination.
Yoga can be hugely beneficial for those in career mode, such as those sitting at the desk all day and suffering from tightness throughout the body (e.g. neck, lower back).
It can also be a great supplement to weightlifting because the flexibility and toning of core muscles increases power strength.
High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT)
HIIT has become a popular way to burn fat in the gym. Indeed, there are loads of options available to do so, such as through treadmill sprints, cycle sprints, the stairmaster and jumping rope.
HIIT is a form of intense interval training, alternating between short bursts of intense anaerobic exercise and recovery periods. HIIT is better at burning calories than standard cardio exercise, both during exercise and the immediate rest period.
Studies have also shown that HIIT is also great at improving your maximum oxygen uptake (VO2 Max). This reflects the maximum amount of oxygen a person can use during exercise, and is a proxy for general health and wellbeing, and the likelihood of avoiding ailments through aging.
HIIT training should last between 20-30 minutes. If your workout lasts any longer then you’re likely not working yourself hard enough. A maximum of three sessions per week is recommended.
High Impact Exercise
Cardio exercise such as running and jumping rope has the benefits we all know about. It’s great for the heart and improved circulation, and burns a lot of fat. It’s proven to be a mood lifter from the release of dopamine, and has the secondary benefits of enhancing sleep quality.
What a lot of people don't know is that high impact exercise also helps to preserve bone density. After the age of 30, our bone density declines which heightens the risk of brittle bones, fractures and illnesses like osteoporosis. High impact exercise helps to maintain healthy bones naturally.
Pilates is a form of exercise which places an emphasis on core strength, with a focus on postural alignment, muscle balance and flexibility.
It focuses on the mind-body connection, promoting awareness of the interaction of breathing with the movement of the body.
The core benefits of pilates include improved posture, muscle tone, flexibility and enhanced balance. This can help with alleviate back, neck and joint pain.
Pilates is also good for toning muscle because of its core-centricism. It's particular useful at tightening and toning your abdominals, legs, and butt.
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