Our bodies change constantly throughout our lives, and so too does our focus.
Every decade has its own challenges, so we’ve ask our Nutrition Expert Lisa Donaldson and our Fitness Lead Tim Pittorino for their tips on staying healthy and strong through each phase of life.
Here’s how to make good health a priority in every decade – from your 20s through to your 60s – and help prevent many age-related health conditions.
In Your 20s
Your 20s is often about socialising, studying and self-discovery. This often means parties, alcohol and fast food. Your goal in this decade is to focus on eating nutritious foods, while still having a good time. Don’t get caught up on quick fixes/celebrity diets and don’t replace a balanced meal for alcohol. Learn to cook! Try out new healthy recipes, and do weekly cook-ups so you always have something ready to eat that’s filled with essential nutrients.
Your 20s is the time to set up habits to last a lifetime. Build strength by doing regular and relatively hard resistance training like push ups, dips, and lifting weights. From 27-33 your bone density starts decreasing, so the higher you build up your base, the longer it takes to go down.
In Your 30s
For many people, the 30s is busy as working parents or singles with a big focus on career. Being organised and staying on top of meal planning is critical to keep you in control and focused on your health. Do a weekly bulk cook-up to make sure you’ve got healthy options ready to go after a long day with kids or in the office. It will make your day to day MUCH easier!
When it comes to fitness, maintaining strength and building your fitness is crucial. As your metabolism is naturally high during your bulletproof 20s it can slow down in your 30s, so keep up the weight training and build up your fitness as much as possible. It gets a little harder once you reach your 40s! Trying to get pregnant? In terms of fertility the main controllable factor is excess weight. Keep your weight in a healthy range by doing regular exercise and following a calorie-controlled diet.
In Your 40s
People in their 40s are usually juggling many demands – home, children, work, parents – so stress management is crucial. There also may be focus on anti-ageing, so choose foods like blueberries that are high in antioxidants and pack a large nutritional punch. Healthy fats are recommended too – think salmon and nuts.
As the family begins to grow, so too does the size of your car, house and food budget, as does the financial demands. Getting a regular routine of exercise is not only essential to keep up with the demands of life, but for stress relief which leads to less risk of a heart attack.
In Your 50s
A lot of woman in their 50s will be going through menopause. For many, this includes weight gain, so watch your portions. Keep hydrated from the inside out, with two litres of water per day – pack a water bottle wherever you go!
Your mantra in your 50s is “Move it or lose it!”. As you can no longer depend on youth to keep you fit and flexible, you have to prioritise these elements with more planned activities, Cycling and swimming can be good, as running may impact the joints in a negative way. Pelvic floor and strength is also important as muscle mass continues to decrease unless adequately stimulated. Your main fitness goal? To make exercise fun and pleasurable.
In Your 60s
Bone health is crucial in this decade. Ensure an adequate intake of calcium rich foods to ward off osteoporosis and arthritis. A balanced diet and regular exercise can help prevent medications, diseases and conditions like high blood pressure.
Once you hit your 60s, your focus is maintenance. While you can certainly improve if you have exercised regularly for the past few decades, now is not the time for personal bests, rather for maintaining the flexibility, fitness and strength levels achieved. Different, safer activities such as bush walking, rather than road running, or weight training to keep up strength are best.
I find it hard to excercise post being up to baby all night (esp when sick) then having all the housework/3yr old to run around after, also about to go back to work so feel very overwhelmed as have no time for self already. Any tips on working mothers who barely have time for themselves and want to shift some weight post maternity leave. Or just working mums in general who choose housework over excercise as it has to be done or the snowball effect happens.
Hi Rebecca – Gosh I can imagine how incredibly busy you must be looking after a new baby and a 3 year old, then trying to fit in all of the house duties and time to exercise… yikes! I take my hat off to mums, you do a tremendous job at multi tasking. 🙂
We have loads of mums on board with littlies who are all super busy with limited support, and they are a huge support to each other through our online community, the Member Zone, so please know that you are not alone!
First up, I think it’s really important to be flexible and adaptable in your approach when you’re a busy mum, and above all, be kind to yourself! Know that not everything is going to go to plan. You are not going to fit every workout in or cook every recipe, and chances are your time will be interrupted frequently by an inquisitive (or unwell) little (or big) person…that’s family life for you!
What has helped some members is to exercise later on at night, after you’ve put the little ones to bed. The ‘At Home’ exercise option allows you to follow either an online Workout Video or alternative Workout Plan, so you don’t even need to leave the house! Although it’s better to get your workout done and dusted first thing, if that’s not possible, then just do what you can, when you can. I split my workouts in two to fit them in – what’s important is that you still take the time each session to warm up and cool down properly. Some members ask their partner or carer to mind the kids while they exercise, some take their little ones for a walk or jog in the pram, and others make good use of gym creches when they’re available. If you can’t commit to a full hour, then just do what you can when you can – every little bit counts!
If you find the meal preparation too time consuming, then opt to follow a simple breakfast and lunch each day (e.g. All Bran or porridge and a simple wrap), and just follow the 12WBT recipes for dinner. You are able to customise your Meal Plans (which in turn generates a customised Shopping List), so there are lots of freezable options you can make bulk portions of, as well as kiddie-preferred meals which you can both share.
The best thing about this program is that it is as flexible as it needs to be to work around your lifestyle and preferences. Even if you need to modify things for now in these busy years, you can still print out your Program details so that you’ll always have a 12 week Program to follow once the Round has closed and your little ones are older.
Keep in mind because weight loss is 80% nutrition, 20% exercise, even if you can’t follow the Exercise Plans exactly as Michelle has created them, if you follow the Meal Plans as prescribed, you can still get a great result!
All the best,
12WBT Support Crew
I am 53 yrs old weight 122.6 kg this morning would this program be suitable , as I have arthritis in my right knee ( a referral Has gone in for a knee replacement) and possible it is developing in my left knee as well as I have pain and difficulty walking (going back to dr to ask more questions soon.
Hi Deneice – As long as you have the okay from your Doctor, we’d love to have you on board. 12WBT is a unique online exercise, nutrition and mindset program. For more info head on to our website – https://www.12wbt.com/how-it-works
For any other questions you might have, feel free to email our lovely Support Crew at email@example.com
All the best,
12WBT Support Crew