Unless you’re one of the lucky few to hit it big in the genetic lottery, staying fit isn’t easy. And if it’s this difficult now, imagine what it’s going to be like in 10, 20, 30 years.
But before you begin planning your future as a wobbly, overweight hunchback, understand that getting in the shape of your life for the rest of your life doesn’t have to be daunting. In fact, if you find your fitness groove now, you’ll set yourself up for success in the future.
Cheat Your Age In Your 30s
Fate says: Your Stamina is Flagging.
Over the next 10 years, lazy ladies will lose up to six percent of their aerobic capacity. Good thing you’re not one of them. Put your lungs and heart to work now –and in the decades to come – and you’ll be an oxygen queen forever.
Cheat Fate: Do Integral Intervals
Those sprints you dreaded in high school are your BFF these days.
Try this workout: Warm up with five minutes of walking. Next, sprint for 30 seconds, trying to reach 90 percent of your best effort. Then walk or jog lightly for 90 seconds. Repeat this sprint cycle 10 times. To make it harder, reduce your 90second rest period.
Fate says: Zero time, Zapped motivation
When researchers at Toronto General Hospital asked women in their 30s why they didn’t exercise, 40 percent said they didn’t have the time. Another 40 percent said they didn’t have the willpower. Sound familiar?
Cheat Fate: Step on it
If you strap on a pedometer and start tracking your daily steps – and taking a few more of them – you’ll begin to see results. Researchers have found that women who took at least 10 000 steps per day had nine percent less body fat by the time they were 50 than those who took between 6000 and 9999 steps. If you go for regular walks, try to add more steps in the same amount of time; you’ll automatically improve your fitness level without increasing your exercise time. If you’re coming up short of 10 000 steps, start making small changes: Next time you go to the grocery store, carry only one bag inside the house at a time. (And try not to unpack the Lays between the car and the kitchen.)
Fate Says: Your Back is a Royal Pain
More than 50 percent of women in their 30s suffer from lower-back pain, and that number rises to nearly 70 percent during pregnancy. The key to preventing it is not just muscular strength but endurance too. “Your back muscles don’t need to be overly strong to support your spine; they need to be able to support it for long periods of time,” Incledon says. In other words, it’s about how much force those muscles can exert as well as how long they can go before pooping out. That’s doubly important when you’re expecting because levels of the hormone relaxin rise, loosening not only your pelvic ligaments (get that baby out of there!) but also the ones around your spine.
Cheat Fate: Shore Up Your Core
Do the side bridge three times per week. Lie on your left side with knees straight and upper body propped on your left elbow and forearm. Place your right hand on your right hip and slowly raise your hips until your body forms a straight line from your shoulders to your knees. Hold this position for five to 10 seconds, breathing deeply. That’s one rep. Repeat four times, then switch to your right side. Do one to two sets for each side. If that’s too hard, bend your knees 90 degrees so that they rest on the floor. If you’re pregnant, do the exercise with your back against a wall for support.
Use It or Lose It
The amount of weight-bearing exercise you do now will directly affect your bone and muscle mass in the future. Perform three sets of eight reps with a one-minute rest between sets and exercises.