If you’re bidding goodbye to your happy years (read the 20s), prepare yourself for more than just prolonged and worse hangovers and a possible dip in metabolism (only possibly).
Welcome to the 30s. Once here, while you may not feel anything different from what you were 3-4 years back (We know, you’re young at heart!), your body continues to experience changes which are a very normal part of one’s aging process. You could either feel more sluggish as compared to your younger self or might also feel that you are yet to peak. Everybody is different and so are their health issues and the ways they age. Normal concerns could be maintaining an optimal weight, keeping the skin healthy and dealing with reproductive issues including minimising loss in bone mass and reducing stress levels from piling up.
A slowing metabolism is a cause for weight gain in the 30s . Thus, an exercise regimen consisting of aerobics and light weights should come in handy. Stick to a healthy diet that comprises generous servings of all types of vegetables and fruits and is low in saturated fats and processed/packaged foods.
But most importantly, apart from being physically prepared (In terms of having a disciplined diet and exercise regimen) it is equally necessary to be emotionally, mentally and psychologically equipped to deal with these changes that are a normal part of the ageing process. Awareness is the key to this. So read on to find out what faces you as you start the Big 3 chapter of your life!
- Hair starts Greying
It’s common to spot the odd greying hair on your head once you are in your 30s, but what about other regions? There’s nothing to be surprised about, though. Grey hair in the armpit or pubic area is just like other grey hair strands on the scalp. With age, greying of hair and hair loss become two of the more common worries and it all could start with you entering your 30s. Very slowly, though. The trick is to not worry about it too much as that could very well speed up the greying process.
- Sex drive could Diminish or Increase
Though sex drive post 30s can take a plunge, it could well be the reverse also. Research states that women, especially within the age group of 27 and 45 indulge in more sexual fantasies, thoughts and also sex, in general, in comparison with women in their late teens, early 20s or during menopause. In men though, a drop in testosterone levels after turning 30 is a fact and can translate to low libido as well (it usually happens at around 1 percent every year that snowballs into a whopping 50 percent by the man turns 70!). A shift in the levels of this hormone might cause adverse effects on the man such as sudden mood swings, hair loss, erectile dysfunction and increase in body fat.
- Fertility could be Compromised
When age can bring about a handful of problems and bodily changes, then it’s no surprise that it also compromises fertility. Studies claim that once in your 30’s, fertility slowly starts to wane. The same rate almost doubles once a woman is well on the other side of 30 (post 35 or 36 years). During this age range, the risks of miscarriage go up as well. Men are no safer; poor quality and volume of male semen can dent and delay the woman’s pregnancy that in turn, aggravates infertility and miscarriage.
- Menstrual Cycle might become Irregular
A drop in the progesterone and estrogen levels once you have turned 30 results in sudden changes in the menstrual cycle. Periods may becomea little irregular with an unusually heavy or light flow not being uncommon occurrences. Though these changes are normal, it’s always advisable to check with your doctor to avert any unnecessary complication.
- Urinary incontinence
Bladder weakness is one of the most commonly reported complaints, especially in new mothers in their 30s . This is because vaginal labor and delivery often weakens nerves and muscles that control urination. It isn’t something serious, however, getting medical intervention will not harm either.
- Losing weight becomes harder
Putting off weight might have been a breeze when you were in your 20s, but isn’t certainly going to be as easy now. With dipping metabolism, you could also experience decreased muscle mass accompanied by easy pounds. This condition is more common among women because of the reason that a pregnancy can make it all the more difficult for the body to get back to its pre-pregnancy shape. Stress can keep piling up from all quarters, especially the high stress work everyone is associated with these days. Increased stress releases hormones in response that cause further weight gain, especially around the abdomen (also called visceral fat). The first thing that you need to do here is switch focus completely from muscles that only look good on you to more functioning muscles, core strength and stability. Mind your posture and form while exercising to prevent any sort of injury. Trying to pull off a Ronnie Coleman (very tempting, you might believe) could slyly backfire on you.
- Flexibility decreases
Your flexibility could take a hit, especially from all the long hours that you stay stuck to your office chair. Also, keeping yourself invested in sports every week might not happen. Thus, daily activities would hardly warrant a full motion range of your arms or legs. This might lead to further shortening of your connective and muscle tissues. Yoga can be of tremendous help here. Enroll yourself for a weekly class and you would be experiencing its benefits in no time absolutely. (Contrary to popular belief, yoga doesn’t necessarily have to be a drag). The idea is to try and not go overboard with your workouts but keeping it simple and effective (read functional). That should get you through with what can surely be one of the best phases in your life.
- Your Ticker might Lose some Strength
Though stamina, for most men, starts peaking around 28 till 30 or even 31, four to five years into the 30s and you could be going through decreasing aerobic capacity. The body’s capacity of extracting and utilizing sufficient oxygen from the blood keeps on chugging away, thus stepping up blood pressure. A rise in cholesterol and build-up of arterial fats might be added problems here. Remember, that your heart is just another organ and so with age, is bound to go through some wear and tear, just like any other organ would. The fix? Schedule an appointment with your doctor and nip the scare in its bud. Stick to a heart healthy diet (consisting of good fats and fibers) and a regular exercise routine. Aim at about 150-200 minutes of aerobic exercise every week for the sake of the organ that does the most.
- Depression may become Real
Your 30s could be the litmus test that life throws at you in the form of mounting responsibilities related to work and family, older parents and possible pay offs. Interpersonal relationships might have to bear the brunt of all these woes. Depression and issues of substance abuse could crop up and other mental disorders (bi-polar disorders, schizophrenia or panic attacks) that might have stayed latent all this while could suddenly come into the picture. Detecting depression at the very onset and settling for nothing but proper (and timely) medical intervention can see you through this period.
Leaving your late teens and young adult stages behind, it might get a little overwhelming as you enter into this brand new time in your life. You will certainly have your share of challenges. But with the right mindset and correct medical protocol cum lifestyle changes at your disposal, you shouldn’t be far off from living it while you are in your 30’s. After all, 30 is definitely the new 20!
- You might shrink just a little bit after 30
Findings can vary but research says that you might start losing around ¼ to half an inch of your height every decade and this shrinkage usually begins from 30. A particular study found that women, on an average, shrunk by almost two inches, between the age group of 30 to 70. This shrinkage can be attributed to the fact that the vertebral discs start to dehydrate and thus compress with age. Loss in your height could be indicative of compromised health that’s primarily the result of poor eating habits.
Ironically, aging, even in your thirties could be the precursor of inevitable changes to your body. In case you haven’t dragged yourself to meet a doctor yet, consider going to see one just once, though in a majority of the cases, an exam will reassure you that you are fine. The advantage of such a checkup is that it will help pinpoint areas that you may need to be aware of based on family history and lifestyle