Exercising in your 20s and 30s
Jun 17, 2022 - Jennifer DeValue
Confession time… When I turned 30, I lived too much into the hype of how different it would be from my 20s. I ran with my literal gut feeling that my metabolism is slowing down and used it as a free pass to give up on exercise.
That was… until I started relying on a bike for my daily transportation needs.
Within three months of living in mountainous Lugano, Switzerland sans car, supplemented stamina and muscle tone improvements I thought lost to time. While I wish I prioritized exercise in my 20s, I am still capable of improving my physical well-being.
That’s why today’s entry is all about finding a personalized exercise routine that is a fun accomplishment rather than an ominous chore.
Discover What You Like
To make exercise a top priority, tap into your curiosity.
Because our bodies rebound easier from strain in our 20s and 30s, these are great times to experiment with our workout likes and dislikes. Figure out which exercise experiences (a) relieve stress and (b) increase confidence.
This is the perfect time to explore what makes us feel good about ourselves. Play out your favorite period drama with fencing, rowing or badminton. Let your inner child out with kickball or frisbee. Heck, relive (or channel) your Harry Potter obsession by finding a local Quidditch team.
If you find something you like, you’re more likely to stick with it.
Looking for a more direct recommendation? Meghan’s rule of thumb is to mix a regular amount of cardio with your preferred amount of strength and mobility training.
Establish Your Routine
By our 20s and 30s, puberty is over, but our hormones are still rocking our worlds. On the positive side(effect), this means we are pumping out the chemicals needed for muscle growth and repair. This is part of what allows us to rebound from high-octane workouts, late night activities, and cramming so easily.
We are also capable at these ages of fully harnessing the mind’s power to form habits.
Exercise should inject adventure into your daily life. All the work you’ve put into finding your favorite yoga class or local hiking trail will motivate you to keep coming back for more. This is the perfect time to establish a routine, one that will carry you into the future and help dimension the inevitability of aging. Start young, while your body is both malleable and resilient.
Be Kind to Yourself
Set Goals. Manage Expectations.
Our formative years are spent comparing ourselves athletically to others. Thanks alot high school gym class! What fitness tests failed to teach us is that feeling “in shape” should mean feeling good about ourselves.
In these life decades we have a responsibility to redefine exercise for us. True motivation comes not from setting high expectations (I’m looking at you “thin-spiration”), but from realistic and attainable goal setting.
This includes not being self-deprecating if we miss an exercise appointment or cannot yet achieve that marathon, camping journey, or CrossFit video series. Life is full and we can’t always be in a structured routine. If you take a break from moving your body consistently, know you can always just begin again. It’s really that simple. There’s no need to feel bad about your body.
Your body is beautiful no matter if it lives up to the idealized version you have of it in your head. Don’t focus on the effects of aging. Instead, focus on building an enjoyable, stress free exercise routine.
There is no one prescribed exercise routine or type for every body. There are tons of new, old, and even fantasy sports to try out in the world. Everything is possible, and our 20s and 30s is the ideal time to prove it.