A lot is said about the 20’s being the most critical time when most of the growth happens and it is said that if one does not use their 20s to get in shape then they have wasted a good part of their life. However, focusing on your body and fitness in your thirties is not too late and you still have time to get into shape even when you hit the big 3 0! In my twenties, I barely knew what I wanted for my body and I found myself eating junk and living the so called carefree life, that I regret I did not start earlier.
While I know growing older is a fact of life, my body seemed to tire more easily and a mother’s schedule is never easy with kids, family and work to juggle with that I knew I had to take control of my life if I wanted to live a healthy life. When I hit 35 especially after my second kid, I became more particular about what I eat and drink to make sure that my health is not compromised. One thing I realised in my thirties is that my body needed more energy and effort to go about my daily work. To achieve this kind of body performance, I had to focus on my endurance, strength and coordination. I knew that building on these three factors would keep me healthy and certainly in the best frame of mind. For me, now fitness has become a way of life that I cannot do without but it took me a long time to reach this mindset.
Thanks to the guidance from some experts in nutrition and fitness, I focussed on these below factors to keep healthy and in shape after I crossed 35 which I hope can also help you.
1. Be serious about our health
I was like any other 20 year old who parties and ate junk but it took me crossing 35 to realize the damage I am doing to my own body. It was not easy to wake up suddenly and make drastic changes not only to one’s schedule by including exercises but also to our diet and nutrition. Sometimes we forget that post our 30’s we need to keep a check of what is happening inside our body and regular health check ups should be a part of our life.
2. Start / Maintain Cardio
There was a time in my 20’s I would be open to doing any kind of cardio as I felt more energetic along with the feeling I can do a lot more! But fast forward to my late 30’s now and I know I would not be able to easily handle a HIIT session or a F45 session without a few breaks (the gasping kind!). But I would never stay away from cardio as it is necessary to maintain fitness and also serves as a great warm up before exercising. If the gym is not your kind of place then participate in a sport such tennis, cricket or take up dance classes or just jog around the park with your kids.
3. Watch your calorie intake
The word calories did not even enter my life till I turned my life around in my mid thirties. Ideally most people require between 1500-2000 calories to maintain good health but as we grow older our body requires lesser amount of calories. That said, I live an active lifestyle which includes crossfit and strength training hence my calorie intake has increased. Depending on your lifestyle, I would recommend to make an exception and visit a nutritionist at least once to understand where you stand and what would be the right amount of calories needed from your diet.
4. Check on what you eat
Though I mentioned about the increased calories in my current diet, it does not mean I binged on pizzas and burgers (they do have some of the highest calories not to mention fat content). It is not easy to stick to clean eating but adding more greens such as vegetables and nuts to our diet does go a long way. I have moved to less starchy carbohydrates such as millet and quinoa instead of white rice. Avoiding processed food, sweeteners and preservative rich food would be good start.
5. Focus on Strength training
During our twenties, there is high hormonal activity in the body which goes on decreasing as we get closer to our thirties. There needs to be more effort to strength train to improve muscle mass as we age. Some good exercises to focus would be squats, bench press, pull ups, deadlifts to name a few. It is important not to overdo these exercises as rest is equally important for recovery and improved muscle mass. Do not worry about the exhaustion post workout as it would get better with time and practise.
Ageing is something we truly have no control of but scientifically speaking maintaining the appropriate level of Human Growth hormone is shown to slow down ageing. To assist in this, we need to ensure our body has enough sleep and time to recover.
6. Pay attention to your feet
We ladies love our heels but there comes a time to give it up or at least to reduce the size of those heels for the sake of our own feet. I never used to focus much on my calf and feet exercises but after a fall I realized how important it is to keep those muscles strong and fit too as they are our foundation and we just cannot ignore its importance.
The most important thing to remember is that fitness is not just about our body but of the mind and soul too.
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