Five things you should be doing in your 30s for your life and health | A Lady Goes West

Last updated: 03-16-2020

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Five things you should be doing in your 30s for your life and health | A Lady Goes West

I’ve got to be honest, sometimes I feel weird saying I’m in my 30s, because I feel really young and used to think of 30 as being old. Well, it’s not old. Like at all. And here I am, 36-years-old (young) and learning and growing every single day with so much life ahead of me. 

Ever since I turned 30, I’ve had quite a few big transitions and experiences that have shaped me, and I’ve learned a lot a long the way. Here are some big tips I’ve picked up that I wanted to share with you …

Yes, I know that there are people out there crushing it at the gym with plyometric jumping and Olympic lifting at 80-years-old, and that’s amazing. And I don’t think that age is a limiting factor to performance. However, I also know that we have to take care of our bodies more than ever in the 30s and start thinking about the future. 

The truth is: Extreme workouts do take their toll on the muscles and joints. And we’re some of the first generations of people regularly participating in things like Orangetheory Fitness, Barry’s Bootcamp, Les Mills GRIT and so on, constantly beating down our bodies.

It’s important to warm-up, stretch, foam roll and take rest days no matter your age, especially when you regularly engage in HIIT or other tough exercise. But in addition to these important fitness best practices, I also think the 30s is the perfect time to incorporate at least one day of low-impact exercise that you can learn to love and look forward to — and you can do that along with a reasonable about of more intense exercise, if you choose to.

When I was in my 20s, I wouldn’t waste a minute with yoga, tried barre once and wasn’t into it and certainly didn’t consider a walk exercise. That left me participating in and teaching pretty tough workouts almost every day of the week. Not only did I mess up my hormones, (which you can read about in-depth here), but my body was also pretty sore, even at 28-years-old. And had I continued down that path, I could have developed injuries and issues that plagued me more and more.

Fast forward to now and I’ve learned that not only is low-impact and low-intensity exercise beneficial, but it can give you a huge sense of accomplishment, without the true drain on your body. Through low-impact exercise, you can get a cardio benefit, resistance benefit and flexility benefit. You can improve and increase your mobility and functionality and strengthen your core. And these workouts may not leave you huffing and puffing and exhausted, but they are still working. These days, I not only do low-impact, but I teach it as well.

That’s why I think that when you have some tried-and-true low-impact workouts to rely on, you can still get your exercise fix, without going hardcore every day of the week.

Here are some forms of low-impact exercise: yoga, barre, Pilates, walking, some types of dance, Tai Chi (haven’t done this one heheh) and swimming.

Now, this point is mostly for those of us who love tough workouts and work out a lot — you just need to add some lighter stuff in there. But if you haven’t found a consistent workout routine yet, then I’d highly recommend getting that going during your 30s as well. Find a personal trainer, join a gym with group fitness or try home workouts using Les Mills on Demand, which has plenty of low-impact options (here’s my special referral link for 21 days for free) or even the beginner’s program on the Sweat app (here’s my review of one of the Sweat programs). Whatever you do, don’t shy away from lighter exercise, learn to love it.

When I was in my 20s, nobody was talking about the safety of the everyday makeup and skincare and body products we were buying in the stores, so it was nothing that I ever considered looking at. But then, with the rise of the wellness movement, we started hearing more and more about the fact that in the U.S., the FDA isn’t truly regulating any of the cosmetics or skincare we buy. That’s scary. The idea that it’s up to us as the consumers to do a little research is still a new concept. I get that. But now that it’s out there, we should take a pause and assess. No, we don’t have to throw everything out, but just make a conscious choice to look at labels and search for things that are cruelty-free, sulfate-free, paraben-free, phthalate-free and so on, as some of these chemicals have been linked to health issues.

I’m sure I’m not alone in saying that my skincare routine in my 20s was washing my makeup off at night. That was about it. I don’t know if I did any permanent damage by roughing my face up with cheap makeup wipes on a daily basis, but I know I didn’t do it any favors or make any improvements. It took me a long time to get a skincare routine started — it was well after Brady was born, and I wish I had started sooner.

When you have a little routine that you do morning and night to clean, moisturize, treat and protect your skin (with safer products without harsh toxins), you’re setting yourself up for better skin in the future. And we may not be all that worried about it now, but why not take the steps to ensure you don’t have to worry about it any time soon. Your skin is your biggest organ, and it’s totally worth investing in. (Here’s my skincare routine, by the way.)

Of course, I use and love Beautycounter for all my skincare needs, but there are other safe product lines out there too. You can even use natural almond oil or coconut oil for so much. If you want to check the safety of what you’re using now, use the EWG healthy living app to find out. Remember that every little change in the right direction helps.

You’d think this one would be common knowledge, but based on the emails I receive from women … it’s clear to me that it’s not. And there’s so much I could say about this point, but as you know, I’m not a fan of hormonal birth control methods that can mess up your system (been there and done that). As women, we have to know if we’re getting a regular monthly cycle naturally, because it’s an important part of our overall health.

While I can see the need for taking “the pill” when you’re younger, I also know that once you hit 30, you should be aware of your fertility, and that means taking time away from the pill to check in. Even if you never plan to have children, you need to know that your body is running smoothly to know if anything is off.

I’d suggest meeting with your doctor and looking for alternative means of birth control. Also, if you have terrible cramps, irregular periods or other big issues that plague you, you should do everything you can to get to the bottom of them — because usually there’s something else going on that you can fix. This book, “Woman Code” is HUGELY helpful for understanding your cycle and uncovering the underlying problems that cause period issues. In fact, I think every woman should give it a read. 

I can tell you first-hand that I’m a way healthier person because of the fact that I fixed my hormones and do everything I can to keep a regular cycle today. (You can read more about my hormonal journey in this post.) Don’t skip this one, ladies. Just don’t.

Okay, I’m not a money master, a budgeting master nor even good with numbers (except for counts and repetitions in a group fitness class, because those I can nail). But I can tell you that over the last year or so, Dave and I have collectively gotten our finances in order. We found and started working with a financial planner, we did our living and last wills, we established our actual monthly expenses and income, upped our retirement account distributions, etc.. And we’ve started working with a CPA too. All of this is not glamorous or fun, but it’s important.

In yours 20s, you’re often just trying to make enough to pay your rent and have enough left over for a new outfit for the weekend. (Or was that just me?) But then, as you get a little older, you’ve got to look at the whole picture. Like what’s your credit score? Are you putting any money aside for savings at all? Are you paying down any debt you may have?

It doesn’t matter if you have a lot of money or a little money, you have to get it organized and you have to understand it.

Now, I would never sit here and tell you to calculate all the $6 lattes you get each week and think about how that money could help you in the future. Because I think that life is here to be lived, and I choose NOT to consider the total that I spend at coffee shops. But I do think that you have to be proactive about your finances, fully understand where you are and where you want to be and perhaps employ a professional to assist you, if it’s not your strong suit. 

It seems daunting to get this all started, I know. If you want a little help, try using some of the free budgeting financial websites out there like Mint, etc. (Here’s an article on other budgeting apps, which I haven’t tried, but could be useful.) Once again, this is not my strong suit, so I recommend getting some assistance with all of the above.

This is perhaps the most important point. And of course, this is something that would be great to have developed from day one, right? But based on my experience, it seems like it takes us all a little longer, perhaps into the 30s, when we start to really GET this one.

I’ll admit to you that right now I can look in the mirror and tell you 10 things I’d like to change about my physical appearance. And that used to really bring me down. But now, I look in the mirror and think about all of the things I LIKE to see looking back at me, flaws and imperfections and all. How did I make that change? Working out regularly, birthing a child and teaching group fitness classes have all shown me that I am powerful, strong and using my body to its fullest potential as much as I can. That makes me SO proud and makes me appreciate me for me.

But it’s certainly not all about appearance — not at all. Once you’re in your 30s, you should definitely be able to identify your strengths and talents and know that there are many things you can do so much better than other people. This is not about competition with others at all, but this is about knowing that you have a lot to offer. You are not like anyone else, you are unique, and that’s a beautiful thing. And it’s A-OKAY to be able to speak to your abilities and be proud of them. It’s not boastful. It’s beneficial. Especially as women, we need to know that having confidence in yourself is nothing to be ashamed of.

What I want to leave you with in this final point is that we spend so much time trying to fit into certain molds, play small and second-guessing ourselves day after day. But what we really need to do — certainly in our 30s — is to take up more space, stand tall and be unapologetically us. And money can’t buy that! ????

(Wearing these leggings, this top and this lipstick in these pics.)

We’ve all learned a lot in our 30s. In fact, I polled you guys on Instagram to see what you’ve learned, and here are the best answers …

I couldn’t agree more with all of these points. Thanks so much for reading this one, my friends! And of course, if you have more to share, please leave a comment below. Have a great start to your week! ???? 

What’s something you’ve learned in your 30s?

What’s one thing on your adulting to-do list?

How was your weekend?


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