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Female health in your 30s

Stay healthy throughout your thirties

While you might cruise through your early 30s unscathed by the ravages of time, you may be in for a rude awakening when you reach the middle of your fourth decade, as this is the time when the double whammy of declining metabolism and depleted muscle mass add up to cause excess flab. Between the ages of 30 and 80, 15 per cent of muscle mass is lost — and with it go strength and tone!

According to research, however, these changes may not be age-related at all, but may simply be due to declining levels of activity. Certainly, being more active will have positive benefits — for example, a study at Arizona State University found that women who were 35 and over who were active had significantly greater resting metabolisms than their inactive peers.

Another wise course of action is to build a strong core. Strong abdominal and lower back muscles will enable you to maintain good posture during pregnancy, reducing the risk of lower back pain or problems.

Woman with swiss ball

How can I maintain my health?

The real magic bullet for preserving body shape and fighting excess flab is resistance training. A study by resistance training expert Wayne Westcott found that 12 weeks of regular resistance training can result in a loss of 4lb (1.82kg) of body fat and a gain of 3lb (1.36kg) of lean muscle tissue. So, if you are fit enough, swap your long, unchallenging workouts for short, sharp high intensity ones — such as interval training or circuits. A recent study in Sports Medicine found this worked best in stimulating the release of growth hormone, which regulates body fat storage. Plus it’s a great time saver, too. For core strength, get a Swiss ball for ‘easy-to-fit-in’ home workouts, or try a Pilates class.

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