Finding time for exercise in your 30s is harder than ever…
Life in your 30s can be busier than ever… with women wearing many hats from employee, to volunteer, mother, friend, daughter and partner to name a few. With a sneakily slowing metabolism on top women can start to feel more depleted, exhausted and overwhelmed. The excitement we once may have had about exercise also begins to wane. For many women in our 30s we can experience chronic stress and exercise just becomes one more thing to add to the never-ending to-do list.
The Impact of Chronic Stress
Chronic stress can affect us in many ways, including:
- Emotionally – anxiety, depression, tension, anger
- The way we think – poor concentration, forgetfulness, indecisiveness, apathy, hopelessness
- Behaviourally – increased drinking and smoking, insomnia, accident proneness, weight problems, obsessive-compulsive behaviour, nervousness, gambling.
From a body perspective it can affect:
- The central nervous and endocrine systems
- Respiratory and cardiovascular systems
- Muscular system
- Sexuality and reproductive system
- Immune system
- Digestive system
Measure the impact of stress
Unfortunately, we can’t easily see or measure the impact of stress on our health. Stress is stored in the body over years and its impact is often felt many years later.
This year I turned 40 and I recall in my 20’s I was told, just wait until you are 40, you won’t have as much energy or feel as healthy as you do now.
just wait until you are 40, you won’t have as much energy or feel as healthy as you do now
Now that I am 40 and have navigated the challenges of exercise in your 30s, I do understand why I was often told I wouldn’t feel as great as I did in my 20’s.
Because it’s true! However, when we know better we do better and the research shows time and time again that regular movement is one of the best steps you can take to decrease stress and prevent future health issues especially in your 30s.
How does exercise in your 30s help?
By moving regularly, you are helping your body on a biological level by boosting feel-good endorphins, maintaining muscle mass and bone density (particularly by doing strength training) and on a mental level, it gives you the opportunity to physically release those frustrations and stress. Many forms of exercise can also be meditative, giving your mind the space to process and problem-solve.
Every piece of movement is better than no movement at all
Knowing that you need to move more and implementing this can be two entirely different things though.
My biggest tip for adding more movement into your already packed day is to let go of any expectations around what constitutes a workout. For most people, this ‘perfect’ workout is doing a class or going to the gym that lasts for the traditional 60 minutes. Often, this time expectation is the biggest barrier towards moving more in your day. If you can step away from the expectation of moving for a specific length of time and consider finding small chunks of time in your day for movement, the concept of moving more in your day becomes a lot less overwhelming.
Exercise 20mins a day
Consider this; you exercise for 5 minutes at breakfast, 5 minutes before lunch, 5 minutes before you cook dinner and 5 minutes before you sit down for the evening to watch Netflix… that’s 20 minutes of exercise you have achieved in your day.
From little things, big things grow.
The small chunks of additional movement in your day all add up and if you maintain consistency with your daily movement (even the small chunks) you will be helping your body to mop up excess stress hormones. As a result, it is very likely you will see big improvements in how you feel in your body. You never know – you might feel like your 20-year old self again! Explore the ages and stages of exercise with Nikki.