I don't know about you, but I personally would rather not be 17 again — yes, I had all the energy in the world, but also, I was a literal teenager more than likely making some very questionable decisions. The various "horror stories" about how our bodies change as we get older more often than not center on how our biological clock starts clicking, and are designed to make women feel petrified about losing societal "value" once they're no longer nubile ingenues. However, being in your 30s means some very interesting and surprising implications for your health; the ways your body changes in your 30s is fascinating, and important to be aware of.
It's not all physical changes, either; your mental health can shift a good amount when you hit your 30s, as does your libido, your hormones, and even your bones. But it's not all "downhill" or "bad news"; change is natural, everybody experiences it, and sometimes, it can even be a good thing. Anybody at your thirtieth birthday party who keeps cheerily telling you that "it all gets worse from here" should be banned from getting a piece of cake and kicked out the door. Here are five surprising ways your body changes in your 30s that you probably never thought of.
1You Begin To Lose Bone Mass
Women's bone production peaks in their late twenties. Once the next part of our lives kicks in, we gradually start to reduce our bone mass, decade by decade. This is what leads to women's slightly higher risk of osteoporosis, a disease where your bones break easier. It's recommended that once you get into your thirties, you start paying attention to your calcium intake and doing some resistance training or weightlifting; putting pressure on your skeleton in the gym actually keeps it strong, as does cheese. Mmmm, cheese.
2You Experience Your Sexual Peak
It's variously that women hit their "sexual peak" in their 30s. A 2010 study found that women aged 27 to 45 had more sexual fantasies of higher intensity, more sex, and more openness to casual sexual encounters than those 18 to 26, though, as TIME noted, many of the respondents were found on Craigslist, and there may be issues with a self-selecting population. However, the merit behind this theory may be due to the fact that once we get to our thirties, we may simply know what we want sexually — and be quicker to be turned on because of it.
3You May Experience A Higher Likelihood Of Depression
A 2010 study found that people in their 30s and 40s are more likely than previously believed to experience depression, and in higher proportions than other age groups. And the phenomenon of "quarter life crises," in which people enter their late twenties and thirties and become stressed and upset about their choices and the pressure to become a "proper" adult, is known to produce depressed feelings.
4You Stop Producing High Amounts Of Human Growth Hormone
It's not actually true that the body ever "stops" producing human growth hormone, or HgH, the hormone that comes from the pituitary gland of the brain and encourages growth spurts (as well as your metabolic rate). It does start to decline after the age of 30, hence why we've likely stopped growing at that age (sorry, if you haven't hit six feet by then, it's not going to happen). For a while, HgH was the darling of behind-the-scenes "anti-ageing" procedures in Hollywood, according to Vanity Fair; but messing with it is highly risky, as your body is still naturally producing it for your whole life.
5You Produce Less Collagen
Collagen is the material that makes our skin more elastic — but, as our body ages, it stops producing so much of it, and you may notice changes in your body as a result. In your 30s, you'll likely notice that the skin of your breasts shifts and becomes less elastic, meaning that your breasts change shape slightly and hang lower on your chest. This may mean you're in need of new lingerie (yay!) and is due to the natural lessening of elasticity in your body's collagen.
The female body in its fourth decade is a pretty amazing place. Things are growing, changing, shifting and making moves. And, as in every other decade, your health should be a priority; your body deserves to be looked after.