In your 30s, you’re likely to be busier than ever with work and family. Since the metabolism starts to slow down, it is easy to feel more tired and less excited to work out. But adding physical activity to your routine at this age will have immediate benefits, such as boosting heart health, strengthening bones and improving sleep patterns. It can also help lower the risk of diseases like Alzheimer’s, diabetes and osteoporosis. We spoke to New York-based personal trainer Samantha Ciaccia and celebrity fitness coach Nam-Wook Kang (he has trained Deepika Padukone) for their top tips.
How metabolism changes will affect your workout routine
As you approach your late 20s and early 30s, energy levels may decrease. You are likely to feel a difference in the way your body reacts to food and exercise. The metabolic rate drops two per cent per decade, so the amount of exercise required increases. As the body loses muscle and gains fat, there are fewer cells to burn efficiently, which leads to a higher rate of fat stored as compared to burned. Experts say this decreases the basal metabolic rate. “Mindfulness on diet and eating should be in focus during this time,” says Ciaccia. The body also tapers down the production of human growth hormone, which brings the BMR further down. When you don’t use your muscles, you’re signalling that you don’t need them anymore, which allows the body to start storing more fat instead.
To combat this, strength training should be a key part of a workout routine. Weighted movement with resistance helps to build muscle. These higher-powered muscle cells increase the basal metabolic burn considerably, making it easier to stay fit. “There should be a big emphasis on resistance training,” says Ciaccia. “It is beneficial because it promotes bone and muscular health, and builds self confidence on the way as well,” she adds. Resistance can be created by moving the body against gravity (like doing a plank) or adding weights like dumbbells, bands, bars or kettlebells. “You can train three to five times a week for a total of five to 10 hours. Again, it will depend on your fitness experience and motivation,” says Kang.
How to amp up cardiovascular fitness in your 30s
Fitness professionals suggest interspersing strength training with cardio workouts to balance them out. Trying out forms of cardio that are less intense on the knees and back (like swimming, water aerobics or walking) may be helpful, but keeping the intensity up (like reaching 85 to 90 per cent of the maximum energy you can expend) is ideal. Dynamic stretching as warm up, and static stretching as the cool down, makes for a great way to prevent injuries.
What you should be wary of while working out
“If you’ve been consistent from your 20s, you can keep enjoying the same [workouts], but your performance strength will decrease towards your late 30s. These are the moments when you can use your experience to show the younger 20-year-olds who’s boss,” says Kang. Keeping a momentum going is of utmost importance, as that will help keep cardiovascular endurance and muscle function at a high. Since your body is constantly changing, setting new goals according to your growth is ideal. “It’s not about the performance anymore but about overcoming a new challenge. Work out because you really enjoy it,” he says.
At this age, caring for the muscles and joints is important to prevent knee and back injuries in your 40s and 50s. “There should always be a warm up before a fitness session. Do some sort of muscular activation prior to your workout, regardless of your age. This prepares your CNS (central nervous system) for movement, especially if it’s on a hard workout day,” suggests Ciaccia.