Fitness Across the Decades: 20s and 30s

It’s never too early (or too late) to develop a workout routine. But our needs change as we age. Gabriel Stinson, a sports enhancement specialist at Memorial SportsCare, gives exercise tips for those of us in our 20s and 30s.


Time for the unvarnished truth, twentysomethings. Stinson says this is the peak time for you to increase muscle mass, strength, and overall performance. This means:

  • Intense cardiovascular work and strength training fie to six times a week. These workouts should be made up of intense running and weight lifting.
  • Two days of recovery are usually recommended, but at this age, one is okay as well.

But because you should be exercising intensely, this doesn’t mean you should go from zero to crazy if you haven’t worked out in a while. Stinson advises clients to start slowly and establish realistic goals.

“Recognize that when you first start running, you aren’t automatically going to run five days a week,” he said. “Set monthly goals, not weekly. If you progress too quickly, you risk injury and burnout.”

For weight lifting, work gradually toward increasing strength. Women in their 20s, specifically, should do weight-bearing exercise to build up bone density and skeletal strength before menopause later in life.


Life changes, such as marriage, children, and building a career, mean adults in their 30s may not be as active as they were in their 20s. But this is the decade when it’s especially important to find time in your hectic schedule to maintain a routine that will keep you healthy for the decades ahead.

“You don’t want to get into your 40s and be overwhelmed at what you have to do,” Stinson said. “Focus on maintaining your fitness in your 30s.”

There is no right or wrong exercise for this age group. Stinson recommends a good balance of cardiovascular exercise and weight training. “As we age, our metabolism slows down. We need to build and maintain muscle to enhance metabolism and fight the aging process. Cardio fights heart disease and burns calories.”

Weight Loss Tip for Any Age

Don’t focus on the number on the scale. Lean muscle weighs more than fat. You could actually gain weight from workouts and be healthier. It’s more important to focus on toning and strengthening than on your weight.

If you’d like to learn more about Memorial SportsCare’s Healthy Lifestyles Program, which puts our team of experts by your side, call us at 217-862-0444.