You’re only as old as you feel…right? Unfortunately, that is not the case. As you age, you may find simple tasks in life a little harder. For example, you may need two coffees before you even start the day! Exercise & fitness can take a back seat due to family and work commitments when in fact you should actually be upping the anti to fight ageing head on!
Making fitness a priority after 30 is important to stay fit for as long as possible. It will also set you up for a healthier lifestyle in your forties, fifties and beyond. So why is it important to start exercising now?
1. To Strengthen Your Heart
As you age, so do your blood vessels. The elasticity decreases, meaning that it is harder for your blood to flow through them. There may also be fatty deposits called plaques lining your artery walls which will slow the blood flow from the heart. Your maximum heart rate also drops about one beat per minute each year. As a result, the oxygen which circulates your body will be pumped around at a slower rate. For this reason, you may feel more fatigued and breath a little harder when physically active compared to in your twenties.
Our advice to you would be to add interval (slow-fast-slow) training to your exercise routine to increase your fitness & heart’s strength. Start with a warm-up followed by 5 – 10 sets of short alternating sprints & jogs followed by a cool down.
2. Fight Deterioration of Muscle Mass
When in your thirties, your muscles will start to weaken and this process will continue as you get older. This loss of strength and reduced muscle mass often tends to lead to weight gain. Hence, it is important to prioritise your muscle mass now, as you can lose almost 3 kilograms of muscle by the time you’re 40.
Start by adding resistance training to your exercise routine to prevent deterioration of your muscle mass. Begin with body-weight exercises such as squats, lunges, push-up’s, sit-ups etc, as you become stronger and your fitness improves, increase the number of repetitions and weights. You should aim for two to three resistance training sessions a week.
3. Reduce Weight Gain
Did you know, as you age your body needs fewer calories? You may still be consuming the same amount of food in your thirties as you did in your twenties. As mentioned above, as you age your muscle mass decreases and your metabolism will slow down because of it. Increasing the amount of physical activity you do in your thirties is essential to avoid weight gain.
Whilst cardio is great for the heart, it is not the most effective training method when trying to lose weight. Resistance training is the best way to go. When performing at a high intensity, you’ll be burning those fat stores, it’ll increase your metabolism and you’ll be burning calories for hours after your training session! Add weight training to your exercise routine at least two to three times a week to ensure weight gain does not occur as you age.
4. Avoid Osteoporosis (Brittle Bones)
Your bone density peaks when you hit 30. It is very important to ensure you are consuming adequate calcium and participating in enough exercise to help achieve peak bone density. By the time you’re 40, you’ll slowly begin to lose bone mass. However, there are steps you can take to avoid severe bone loss over time, such as the correct nutrition and a regular exercise programme. This will ensure you are better protected against osteoporosis and fractures later in life.
Exercise plays an important role in maintaining your muscle mass, this will also help to preserve and strengthen the surrounding bone. To promote good bone health, it is recommended that adults need at least 30 minutes of weight-bearing activities four or more times a week (for example walking, jogging, hiking, tennis, skipping). Muscle strengthening activities are also required for your overall fitness for two or more days a week. Start now or you may not be able to do these types of activities in your forties and fifties.
5. Fight Declining Flexibility
As you age, tendons gradually lose their elasticity. This will affect your arms, legs and core. Those who have had desk jobs are at risk the most, as sitting for long periods severely limits their range of motion.
Improving your flexibility in your thirties will make other forms of exercise easier, lowering your risk of injury, and will also help to prevent loss of mobility later on in life. Start by stretching before and after your workouts, holding each stretch for 8-15 seconds.
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