Active through the Years: Exercise in Your 20’s, 30’s and 40’s
By Lauren Walker
Women I’ve worked with who started good habits in their younger years have far more success long term. They have more self confidence in achieving their goals. Our expectations of exercise should change as we age. When you have control over your health, you’ll have more control over your life.
What is recommended for a woman in her 20’s is different for a woman in her 60’s. What is the commonality? Keep moving! It’s recommended for a woman in her 20’s to weight train at least three times a week for thirty minutes or more. We are not talking about light weights. You need to feel some level of resistance in order to develop muscle mass. This also helps develop bone density and prevent osteoporosis, which is crucial as you age.
You’re afforded far more time, energy and strength in your 20’s. I remember being able to lift much heavier and get away with no injuries. The biggest lesson I learned is that what you do in your 20’s will follow you in to your 30’s. You’ll pay the price for your bad habits as you get older. On that note, you’ll reap the benefits of having good habits as you get older.
Being in my thirties has taught me that I’m not in my 20’s anymore! I always joke and say, “My body doesn’t move the way it used to”. My body has changed and that’s not a bad thing. Here’s what you can expect in your 30’s. Your energy levels will change and that’s honestly due to added priorities in life, work and family stress. I’m not as fast, agile or flexible as I used to be. This is also a great indicator of what my exercise program has shifted to. All that strength you develop in your 20’s now comes in to play. Focusing now on maintaining functional strength, in order to prevent injury, is a big priority.
Welcome to your 40s! Women I’ve worked with often struggle with hormonal changes at this stage of life. It’s not just your body changing; it is now a hormonal shift which affects your physical well being. What kind of program would I recommend? As muscle mass decreases as you age, it’s important to continue to stay strong. I highly recommend strength training at least three times a week. I tend to encourage a maximum of intense cardio two to three times a week. I would suggest 30 to 45 minute bouts depending on your activity level. This program should change every twelve weeks in order to progress your strength and cardiovascular system.
Exercise changes as you age. What you do in your 20’s isn’t what you should be doing in your 30’s. It’s imperative to adjust an exercise program according to your specific needs. Above all, I encourage you to engage in physical activities that make you happy. Stick with that and success will follow for years to come.
Lauren Walker has been the Manager and Trainer at All Fit All Ages Gym in Port Perry for 17 years. She is a freelance writer with featured articles in the Scugog Standard & Fitness Business Canada. Please see her new blog http://fitforallblog.ca/ for more health and wellness articles.