I’ll be honest – I don’t have a regular exercise practice. I walk pretty regularly as part of my life, but when it comes to regular exercise, I just don’t do it. I probably exercise about 2-3 times a month, normally a pilates class or a elliptical/treadmill session at the gym. But it’s not enough, and I know it. Because I’m not overweight, people always assume I’m healthy and completely fine, but I don’t feel that way. I feel lethargic a lot of the time, and I get sleepy early in the evening.
I’ve read a number of articles that say – if you don’t have an exercise routine in your 30s, now is the time to prioritize it. For one thing, your metabolism decreases by 2 -3% in your thirties, so you have to do more work to maintain your physical status quo. But the bright side is that your bone mass and the growth hormones that were flowing in your 20s are still working their magic. But they will start decreasing in your 40s. So this is the best time to start exercising, before you experience the gradual loss of bone density, strength and flexibility.
The old adage “Better Late than Never” applies when it comes to exercise. Do you watch Girls? One of my personal career icons, Jenni Konner, is the executive producer of the show, and she wrote about her personal exercise evolution in Self magazine, and I could TOTALLY relate. This is an excerpt from the article:
I was 38 when I started exercising. That’s right, 38. My exercise history reads like a bad report card. Everything fitness-oriented was mandatory and completed by the skin of my teeth. The President’s Physical Fitness Test was my Everest. Each year in elementary school, as the day drew nearer, I would plot my illnesses. “My fever must be high to the point of danger. I probably have scurvy,” I’d tell my mom. My parents never fell for it, and the day usually culminated in tears and terrible sit-ups.
I made it through my unathletic 20s like any other unathletic twentysomething. I ate very little, drank a lot and stood on the sidelines, cheering on hipster dodgeball games like a narcoleptic Knicks City Dancer. In my 20s, I didn’t have to exercise because no matter what I did, I looked the same—which was pretty good in hindsight.
In my 30s, it all started to catch up with me.
– Jenni Konner
Anyway, you’ll have to read the whole article here if you want to know how she got her booty into gear, but the gist of it is that she found a workout she loved. It happened to be the Tracy Anderson method, which is supposedly amazing.
The key seems to be: find an exercise you like – something that feels like play to you. What do you genuinely enjoy doing? I hate running. While I have a few friends who swear by running, I’ve never been able to get into the swing of it and find it incredibly boring. To each their own! For me, the exercises that feel like play to me are swimming and yoga. When I’m in a pool, I feel like a little kid.
So, the key seems to be to find your exercise jam in your 30s and stick to it. Finding your “jam” may mean trying everything from ballet barre classes to free online workouts at fitnessblender.com to taking a boxing class at your local Rocky-inspired gym. It’s kinda like when people say you find your “look” in your 30s – like, you find what clothing and styles look best on you.
Here’s to a Summer of fitness and finding your way of turning exercise from an “I should” into an “I want!” And if you’re already there, congratulations! We would love to hear what exercise gets you pumped.