I have three years and a little over a month before I hit the big 4-0. The thought of my 30s coming to an end is giving me pause, mainly because I know I should be in better shape than I am now.

I've met and interviewed some women in their 60s and 70s who have aged well, with endurance, strength and flexibility levels that might put me to shame.

I'm in awe of women like Ernestine Shepherd, the oldest female bodybuilder, who turns 78 on Monday.

Sure, 40 still is young, but for a lot of people, that's around the time when serious things start to happen. It's not that 40 is a magical age because as the saying goes, "age is nothing but a number." But as we get older, the culmination of the treatment we gave our bodies start manifesting.

I can't honestly say that I was always so gentle. Years of fast food and a sweet tooth will not make you a fit momma at 40. It's not too late to turn it around, though.

Of course, health is my priority, as I don't want to take medications and deal with life-threatening conditions that some of my family members have encountered.

I wouldn't want to worry about joint pains, acid reflux, sleep apnea, fatty liver disease, incontinence, migraines and fatigue — all less talked about effects of obesity.

Instead of waiting until a few months before I turn 40 or when I'm on the verge of physically falling apart, I'd like to take advantage of this "come to fitness" moment.

I'm calling it the Fit Before 40 Challenge.

What are your 30-something challenges? Send your feedback to cdillard@tylerpaper.com.


For 30-somethings seeking to get fit and fab now, here are a few tips from Scott and White Healthcare:

Maintain muscle mass.

Start exercise first.

Reduce caloric intake gradually.

Track your food intake and fitness progress.

Know your family's health history.

Know your numbers, i.e., blood pressure and lipids.

Educate yourself on proper nutrition and portion sizes.

Eat like royalty — "a queen at breakfast, a princess at lunch and a pauper at dinner."

Protect your skin.

Make sure you feel fulfilled.

For more details, visit http://tinyurl.com/l63fwqb.





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