As I cross the threshold into my thirties this year, I suddenly find myself wondering, how can I age gracefully? What do I need to do NOW to ensure health at any age? Here are a few tips that promise to ensure health and happiness as each and every decade approaches.
20’s – ACTUALLY Eat Healthy
The 20’s are a great time to build healthy eating habits that can last you a lifetime. Thanks to the internet, we’ve never had more access to healthy recipes, cooking tips and meal plans that can create a lifestyle of eating healthy and taking care of your body with plenty of plant-based foods. I became a health-conscious eater at age 28 and watched in awe as I shed the pounds and transformed my body. Now’s the time to get into the habit of healthy eating, as it will make it a whole lot easier to keep eating well throughout your life.
30’s Get Active, Anywhere
Your 30’s may find you in motherhood, or fully committed to a blossoming career, or both! However busy your schedule is, you know you need to work out, but it doesn’t have to be at the gym. Your 30’s are a great opportunity to consciously carve out time for doing a little more of the things you love. For example, walk the dog a little bit faster, for a little bit longer every day. Little steps can lead to big changes. If you love dancing, take a dance class. If you enjoy socializing, start a running group. For me, I find joy playing tennis with my tennis partner twice a week after work. If you’re in your 30’s, muscle density starts to decline, so this is a perfect time to develop a fitness routine that fits seamlessly into your daily life, and will help with the stress of all the busy new changes!
40’s Pay Attention to Your Mental Health
This one can be tough, especially for women who juggle work and family. Your 40’s are a great time to engage in a de-stress routine that helps combat some of the bodily changes you may begin to experience. When feeling stressed, try stretching, deep breathing, or talking to a girlfriend you may have had for 20 years now! In your 40s, you may begin to experience perimenopause, which might affect your sleep, moods, and sex life. Talk to your health care provider about how to deal with your symptoms.
50’s Get Regular Checkups and Preventative Screenings
One of the best ways to reduce your risk of illness and disease is to see your health care provider regularly – before you get sick. If you’re in your 50s, you need to start paying attention to blood pressure, getting regular physicals, and making sure you know which cancer screenings you need and how often. Check your breasts once a month for lumps, get routine pelvic exams, and even an annual eye exam, just to make sure you’re at your best! Your 50s are a great time to be proactive and begin major preventative care, to ensure a happy and healthy retirement.
60’s Protect Your Heart
Today, women in their 60s are returning to college, starting businesses, running marathons and enjoying healthy sex lives. If you’ve taken care of your body and mind up to this point, you’re going to be more active and healthier than you thought possible. Still, there are unique concerns for women as they reach the 60 mark. As heart disease is a leading cause of death for women, it’s important to maintain a healthy diet low in sodium and saturated fat. Try to reduce alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day, and definitely refrain from smoking. Have your cholesterol and blood pressure checked regularly as an extra precaution.
70’s and Beyond … Preserve Your Senses
Lifestyle plays a major role in helping to maintain your senses as you age. Eat a balanced diet to ward off such age-related eye disorders as macular degeneration, and preserve hearing by staying away from loud noises for long periods of time (no headphones!). If you do begin to experience some degree of hearing loss, swallow your pride and get tested for hearing aids, which have recently been associated with less cognitive decline and dementia. Wearing the devices could pay off in the long run, experts say, by helping you stay engaged with others and your environment.