By the time you reach 21, you’ve already experienced some pretty significant changes: growth spurts, puberty, the realization that bubblegum pink probably wasn’t the best color for your bedroom. But as you enter adulthood, the next two decades can bring about some surprising physical and mental upheaval. We talked to dermatologists, gynecologists, and psychologists to find out some of the most common changes women experience in their 20s and 30s and what to do about it.
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Your 30s: A Slower Metabolism
The human body is mostly a remarkable thing, but as far as design flaws go, this is a big one. In your 30s you start to experience gradual bone and muscle loss. This can slow your metabolism and lead to weight gain, especially if you don’t increase exercise or make dietary changes. This is also a decade when many women begin having babies, and not everyone has an easy time shedding the weight post childbirth.
The good news is that you can keep your metabolism humming with exercise; muscle mass keeps your fat-burning engine in high gear. If you were a cardio queen in your 20s, now is the time to pick up the weights—and don’t be shy about the heavy ones. Slow reps with a weight of 12 pounds or more are the fastest way to build metabolism-boosting muscle.
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