Having recently entered my thirties, I’ve just started getting serious about preventive healthcare, and it has forced me to realize that every decision we make (or choose not to make) regarding our bodies and their well being has either a consequence or a reward. In your twenties, when you may not have many responsibilities, it’s quite easy to choose whatever’s fun or easy, but once you hit your thirties and you have an established career, your own home and a family to provide for, reality strikes and you quickly realize that everyone will suffer later if you fail to take good care of yourself now. Thankfully, in your thirties you have plenty of time to get yourself on track to be in tip-top shape as you get closer to 50. Here are some things you can do now to get your body and mind in stellar condition for later years:
Establish a Fitness Routine
Committing to a fitness routine can seem like the hardest thing in the world, especially when you constantly feel overwhelmed with work and kids. But committing to even the simplest workout — 10 minutes of body weight exercises per day or a daily walk around your neighborhood — will create a fitness habit. If you can do more, do more. You may not notice physical results from these brief routines, but they will ensure that physical fitness is not only a part of your to-do list, but of your thought process as well. You’re much more likely to do something…anything, if it’s on your mind. And once it’s a habit, exercise will come to feel like a necessary part of life, and as so, will help you stay as fit and healthy as possible as you age.
Cut Back on Sugar
A lifetime of heavy sugar intake can begin to take a toll as early as your mid-thirties in the form of pre-diabetes or even full-on Type 2 diabetes. Diabetes is a serious condition and one that is a major killer of Americans. The thing is, it’s preventable. Diet is the main contributor to your risk of becoming diabetic and cutting back — you don’t even have to eliminate completely — on sugar and processed foods many of which are full of empty carbohydrates that convert to sugar in your body, will lower your risk of diabetes dramatically. Kicking the sugar habit in your thirties will set you up for a diabetes free future.
Schedule Regular Check-Ups
If you haven’t already done so, find a primary care doctor and schedule a complete physical including a full blood work up. This should include a blood sugar, cholesterol and thyroid checks among others. A complete blood count is one of the very first steps to identifying any potential health issues you could face in the future. At your physical you’ll also go over family history and your physician should give you some advice on steering clear of any medical issues you may be at a higher risk for and can refer you to specialist in those areas. For instance, some women are genetically predisposed to breast cancer and should have early mammograms. Others, like me, are at a higher risk for heart disease, and should see a cardiologist yearly. And this isn’t a one-shot deal. Once you have that initial physical, make sure you return to your doctor for check-ups as often as she recommends.
Invest in Friendships
Lastly, mental health can have a great impact on your physical healthy. One of the main ailments suffered by the elderly is loneliness. Investing time and energy in important relationships now, will set you up to have strong, even life-giving relationships later. As your body and your lifestyle change with age, you will need support and friendships to encourage you, comfort you and of course friends to commiserate with.