Slowing metabolism? What happens to our bodies in our 30s
Welcome to your 30s. You may not feel all that different, you might not look that much different - but changes are happening in your body bit by bit.
Back at 21, you may well have been able to eat an entire pizza to yourself without budging your jeans, but now, you may have to work just a tiny bit harder to keep your body trim. Though metabolism changes mainly happen around the age of 40, it can affect a lot of people around 30 - and it’s completely normal.
So why does this happen? Why can’t we eat what we want (without the consequences) once we hit 30? And what exactly is going on in our bodies?
1. Hormonal changes
Both men and women produce fewer hormones once they hit 30. Estrogen - the hormone that controls a woman’s monthly cycle - begins to drop around the milestone and then takes another nosedive at 35. This can cause weight gain and lower libido than you’re used to. You may even enter early perimenopause, which can result in mood swings and anxiety.
For men, levels of testosterone drop the older you get. This can develop some unwanted changes such as weight gain (especially round the abs), trouble gaining and keeping muscle mass, depressed mood and erectile dysfunction.
What you can do: The best type of exercise for regulating hormones and torching fat is high intensity interval training (HIIT). Stress-relieving workouts such as yoga are also perfect to relieve PMS symptoms such as mood swings.
2. Bone loss
This is a change you can’t really see - but it’s there. Bone loss begins in your 30s and by the time you’re 35 your body is breaking down bone faster than it can be replaced. You’ll also see a reduction in muscle tone, which can have a negative effect on your strength and balance.
What you can do: Make sure you consume plenty of calcium and stay active with aerobic weight-bearing exercise to avoid osteoporosis in later life. The condition can cause bones to become so fragile that they break with little pressure. Resistance training is also great for improving muscle mass and strength.
3. Slower metabolism
If you’re seeing weight gain in your 30s, this may well be why. As you get older, your metabolism starts slowing down - meaning you don’t require as much energy to fuel yourself, despite still having a 25-year-old’s appetite. And when your muscles can’t metabolise energy efficiently, you’re more likely to put on weight. For men, this happens more gradually. However, pregnancy and menopause in women can slow things down a lot more dramatically.
What you can do: Again, bumping up (or beginning) a consistent exercise regime is crucial. If you’re not increasing your gym time, but are still eating the same, you may find weight gain. As well as exercise, the best things to do to speed up your metabolism are to get plenty of sleep (at least seven hours a night) and eat plenty of metabolism-boosting foods. These include spices, hot peppers, whole grains, broccoli, soups, citrus fruits, and green tea.