Exercise... I have a love-hate relationship with it. I hate going to the gym but I hate the feeling of being inactive just as much. The 30s, oh the dreaded 30s... Your body changes and your metabolism changes. Those same jeans you've been wearing for a decade now doesn't fit quite the same anymore. But the importance of exercise in your 30s, 40s, 50s, etc. goes beyond just the aesthetics, it does a lot for our health, our happiness and our soul.
The 30s are different for everyone, you could feel like you're slowing down while others may feel that they're in the prime of their lives. Each woman is unique and so are her health concerns. In this age you may be now concerned about maintaining a healthy weight, reproductive issues, preventing bone loss, and reducing stress. I personally think that if you've never been active a day in your life, now is a great time to start because it will set the pace of a healthy lifestyle for decades to come.
Metabolism slows down in your 30s and you may notice you put on a few pounds. I know how you feel ladies! It's like those extra 5 pounds you've been dying to lose just won't go away! I swear, my body could never digest a double whopper (with cheese) the way it used to in my 20s: I'd feel a little bloated but my tummy would be back to normal in the morning. But now, the bulge has decided to make my body its permanent address, especially after giving birth to 2 kids! That's why my food choices have changed dramatically, while my boys may be having longganisa, fried rice and eggs for breakfast, I make it a point to put my self-discipline into full gear and eat a healthy breakfast of fruits, oatmeal and perhaps a boiled egg. Mommies, I know it's hard to diet when there's a lot of temptation in the house when you have growing kids. It's pretty easy to grab a chocolate bar or chips when it's within your reach. I guess that's why to maintain a healthy weight, it's important to have exercise in your lives right now. Try eat a well-balanced healthy diet, low in saturated fats, full of fruits and vegetables and light on processed and junk foods.
To make healthy eating easier, I'd stock up my grocery cart with fruits that I absolutely love! Such as mangoes, bananas, watermelon or pomelo. Buy some yogurt so that you have an alternative when your kids are eating ice cream (and you don't feel left out). If you absolutely MUST have some munchies, fill your cupboard with unsalted nuts, or grab a healthier version of your favorite snack, like the "baked" or "air-popped" version of those chips you love. I personally snack on homemade popcorn, without the butter and just lightly salt it. There are lots of ways to eat healthier, and it's at our disposal 24/7... The Internet! There are lots of ways to cook your faves the healthier way.
Now, let's get back to the importance of exercise. Personally, I don't follow a program, I just do whatever I feel like doing at that time. I can join a group exercise at my gym. My favorites are body pump, body attack and the hard-core exercises which compresses everything into 1 30 minute session (I highly recommend it for working moms), join a yoga class, or workout at my own pace at the gym which includes a 15 minute run-walk, push-ups, a few ab exercises, squats and whatever else I can fit in an hour. But what I like to do the most is surf. I surf whenever I can, on average that's 2 surf trips a months. Surf requires a lot of good paddling and good swimming. I usually load up on carbs before going out as I need as much fuel if I want to last the 2-3 hour surf session. So when I know I have a surf trip coming up, I build up my arm strength and endurance to be physically prepared. If these kinds of work-outs are too intense for your level, I suggest some easier activities to start with such as walking, jogging, biking and/or swimming.
You may ask, "Isn't starting a new sport or physical activity, at my age, kinda risky and dangerous to my body?" With anything in life, it is crucial to start out slowly and in moderation. Listen to your bodies' cues and don't push yourself too hard or else you'll end up with injuries. And if your body aches and you do end up getting injured, trust me, you'll become discouraged from trying anything new again. If you can, hire a professional coach, or trainer, to get you started in the right path so that he/she can set the correct pace for your physical level. Remember, it's very important to stretch before and AFTER a workout!
If you still find it hard to get yourself to the gym, I understand, it can get intimidating walking into a gym where everyone looks like they know what they're doing. But relax, they all started out like you. Plus, I'm certain that there's someone also trying it out for the first time so don't let it stress you out. How will you begin a journey if you won't take the first step? Besides, you even might make a new friend! Speaking of friends, if the gym still intimidates you, drag a friend along, exercising with a buddy can motivate you more. Find a friend who's been vocalizing that they've been wanting to lose some weight, I'm sure she'll be so ecstatic that she finally has a companion.
At the end of your exercise program, skip the weighing scale. Personally I avoid weighing scales because it gives a false reading on your health. Instead, I try to gauge my body with how my clothes fit, how happy I am mentally and how I can keep up with my hyperactive boys.
Once you've gotten the hang of some sort of exercise, do you notice you feel happier and more relaxed? Exercise gets endorphins flowing and alleviate stress! Stress can be a killer by the way, no joke. In your 30s, you may be juggling a career, parenting and caring for aging parents. Physical activity will give you the edge you need to stay on top. Eat nutritious, low-fat foods, exercise regularly and don't smoke. If you do smoke, try to quit. If you drink alcohol, limit yourself to one drink or less per day. And don't forget to make time for personal activities that can help reduce stress. These might include gardening, reading and spending time with friends. So get those endorphins flowing, exercise will make you a happier, well-rounded person.
No more excuses, girl! Life is full of excuses, but physical activity should be an essential part of your life. Being fit will help you stay young on the inside and out, and it can help you breeze through the next few decades by feeling strong and healthy. If you lack motivation, get your friends, your kids, or your partner to start with you, it's always fun when the whole family is involved. That way, it teaches your kids, and yourself, that there's more to life than sitting in front of the TV all day.