It’s Friday night and you’ve just devoured a cheese platter the size of your head, washed it down with a bottle of wine and had some chocolate for good measure. You sit there and think to yourself, “it’s all good, you’re young, you’re fit and you can burn it all off at the gym in the morning”.
YOLO, right? But the fact of the matter is, we have to enjoy it while we can because science actually says that once you hit 30, things start changing… and fast.
“Develop a regular exercise routine that includes strength training. Work on fine-tuning your skincare routine by moisturising, exfoliating and staying out of the sun (and using SPF 30+ sunscreen). Assess your current lifestyle choices and make healthy dietary choices. If you are a smoker or drinker it is encouraged to reduce your alcohol intake to a minimum and give up smoking all together to prevent a long list of health issues.”
Read on as Dr. Tal Rapke shares some things you can, um, look forward to in your next decade and beyond:
“During your 30s, you’ll start to experience gradual bone and muscle loss. This can slow your metabolism and lead to weight gain, particularly if you don’t increase your exercise or make healthy dietary changes.”
“It’s normal for skin to start to lose tension during your 30s, particularly for those of us who spend a lot of time in the sun, or smoke. As your estrogen levels start to dip your levels of collagen and hyaluronic acid do too, which plump and firm your skin. Cell turnover slows, too, and skin bounces back less easily from inflammation. You may notice dryer, thinner skin, more obvious expression lines on your forehead and around your eyes and the beginnings of age spots.”
weight, we mean wait, there’s more…
“A normal dip in estrogen and progesterone levels at about age 35 can cause your menstrual cycle to change. It may be shorter or longer, lighter or heavier, or earlier or later than usual– this is completely normal. Some women enter perimenopause, the transitionary phase before menopause. During their 30s–which can cause mood swings, sleep disturbances, and/or anxiety. Fibroids and endometriosis are two conditions that are also more common at this age, and both can cause pain and heavy bleeding.”
“Trouble with a little light bladder leakage could become a problem as you reach your 30s–particularly if you’ve had children. Urinary incontinence affects around 25 per cent to 45 per cent of women in their 30s, so don’t be embarrassed to see a doctor. They may prescribe medication, or demonstrate pelvic floor exercises to improve bladder control.” Other ageing symptoms that can affect women in their 30s are thinning hair, sunspots and increased cellulite. Yay.
“Your body‘s natural decline in muscle mass, called sarcopenia, sets in during your 30s, which lowers your metabolism,” explains Rapke. “Less muscles to feed equals less calories needed to keep your body ticking. To combat the loss of lean mass and keep your metabolism high, you really do have to turn to strength training. While any exercise will help you burn calories, strength training gives your metabolism the biggest boost, even after your workout ends.”
“Perform low intensity exercises and focus on compound movements. This will help to send your body a signal that it needs to hold onto its hard-earned muscle mass–but crucially not overwork it, as this becomes harder to recover from in your 30s. One of the biggest mistakes many of us make is neglecting mobility. Yoga and Pilates will help protect not just your muscles from injury, but also your spine, cartilage and tendons. Stretching regularly will make you a lot more resilient to injury as you make your way through your 30s.”
When it comes to skincare, Rapke says that hydration is key to avoiding the natural signs of ageing. He also recommends ramping up your anti-ageing skin regimen, particularly at night and using products that contain retinol, “which is a vitamin A derivative that thickens skin by increasing collagen production to smooth wrinkles and reverse volume loss.” Vitamin A will also help fade sun spots.
“You can also begin to incorporate phytoestrogens, derived from plant compounds like grape seed and green tea, into your routine. They will help prevent sagging by mimicking estrogen’s collagen-restoring effects on the skin.”
On a more positive note, they do say your thirties are the best years of your life!