It’s commonly assumed that the younger you are the quicker and fitter you are. However, last year women over 30 ran the Great North Run faster than those in their 20s. And it’s not just competitive racing that has seen a upstart in over 30s. “We have seen a larger proportion of people in their 30s taking exercise more seriously, and relying much more on purposeful, results-driven training,” says One Ldn founder Evgenia Koroleva. But if you haven’t already upped your exercise game, what’s the best approach?
“In our 20s, most of us tend to focus on cardio-based exercise, but as we age our metabolic rate drops and our body’s natural ability to burn calories slows down, so we need a more varied workout,” explains Koroleva. It’s also important to note that flexibility can decrease and we tend to lose muscle mass and bone density. All's not lost though, as the Great North Run proved, and plenty of gyms, including One Ldn offer classes that focus on strength training.
“Strength training helps burn more calories and fat, compared to stand alone cardio, increases the after-burn effect after exercise as well as the metabolic rate,” says says fitness expert and Kobox trainer Ian Streetz. “Therefore, it not only helps to get results quicker, but also helps increase bone density, lower blood pressure, improves sleep and even enhance cognitive function, simply put, your brain power.”
While Koroleva is an advocate of weight-lifting as a way to build your strength, she is also aware that many women are still concerned about bulking up as a result. “Women naturally have low levels of testosterone compared to men and actually increasing muscle mass for most women is extremely hard and takes years of dedicated bodybuilding to increase size,” says Koroleva. “Most strength training programs are likely to see improvements such as muscle tone, weight loss and increased fitness levels.”
For those who still don’t like the idea of weight lifting, barre and bodypump classes are a good place to start as both help to strengthen and condition your body. Streetz has also created the perfect at-home fitness plan to get you started...
To increase muscle mass and bone density
Grab a Kettlebell or Weights plate and perform the following circuit
- 30 seconds swings
- 30 seconds squat thrusts (from squat to standing, lifting the weights above your head)
- 30 seconds shoulder press (arms at 90 degree angle at shoulder level, lifting the weights above your head )
- 30 seconds squats
To improve flexibility
- 30 seconds kicks with your left leg
- 30 seconds kicks with your right leg
- 30 seconds cossack squats (also known as a lateral lunge)
- 30 seconds Hindu push-ups (start in downward dog and move into a plank position and arch your lower back, without your thighs touching the floor)
To boost cardio
- 30 seconds sprinting with your knees as high as you can
- 30 seconds mountain climbers
- 30 seconds squat thrusts
- 30 seconds burpees
One final note: “It’s important to remember that recovery time decreases with age. In your 20s you could be out all night and not bat an eyelid the next morning, but it can take a couple of days to recover from a hangover in your 30s. The same is true with your training and as a result adequate sleep, recovery and injury prehab and rehab should take on an increased level of importance,” says Streetz.