Your 30s can be the best time of your life, and the busiest you’ll ever be. You may have more responsibility at work, be planning a family or already have young children. Life’s a juggle of commitments. It’s tempting to put your own health needs aside while you focus on caring for others, but your health has to remain a priority.
Your 30s is a key time for monitoring any potential issues and preventing health problems in the future. You may feel great now, but staying across your health and up to date with screening tests means a healthier future, and more energy to keep up with energetic little people.
Here are some priorities for your 30s wellbeing to-do list.
Understand your changing body
Our bodies change as we age, and being aware of those changes means preparing with the right nutrition, exercise and lifestyle changes. In your 30s:
- your metabolism is likely to slow down—you may need to keep a closer eye on your calorie intake and cut down on processed foods
- you lose muscle tone so exercise is crucial— try to include aerobic exercise to get the blood pumping, and some weight training to build strength
- your skin cells don’t regenerate like they used to—you may develop wrinkles, which is a perfectly normal part of the ageing process. Keep up the sun protection.
Health checks in your 30s
Unless you’re in a high-risk group for a particular condition, health screening tests which can be scheduled annually, or every two years, include:
- blood pressure (by your GP)
- cholesterol and glucose levels (more regularly if you have a family history of diabetes)
- pap tests and pelvic exams (your GP or obstetrician)
- dental checkup
- skin cancer check (keep an eye on moles and marks yourself and let your doctor know if you see a change)
- testes examination for males to check for growths.
Preventing osteoporosis starts now
For women, bone loss starts in the 30s and can lead to osteoporosis. Keys to preventing this bone-thinning disease include:
- boosting your calcium intake to help keep bones and teeth strong. Less than half of all Australian adults have the daily recommended intake of calcium
- maintaining healthy levels of vitamin D through exposure to sunlight or appropriate supplements. Without it, the body can’t absorb calcium properly
- aerobic and strength exercises to maintain muscle tone.
As Australia has one of the highest incidences of skin cancer, it’s important to balance your need for sunlight exposure with the risk of skin cancer. Recommended sun exposure times vary according to season, where you live, skin type, and the amount of skin exposed.
Your mental health
As we age, it can be easier to look at our mental health and wellbeing as just another part of our overall health, and an area to manage just as we would any other condition.
If you’ve experienced mental health issues before, try to make sure you’re getting consistent care from a trusted health professional. If you’re having issues for the first time in your 30s, you’re not alone. It’s a time of life full of big life changes. It’s never weak to speak, and your GP is a great first step towards getting help. You might be surprised at how many people around you are managing mental health issues.
Trying to conceive
Knowledge is power, so see your GP for a check-up when you’re trying for a baby. They’ll support you with resources, advice and information on how fertility works.
If you are planning ahead to start a family, check in on your health insurance to see you’re covered for pregnancy services.
Prioritising your health
A busy life, especially for parents, can mean neglecting your own needs. There’s no reason to feel guilty for taking time to look after yourself. What advice would you give your best friend in the same situation?
If you’re short on time, look for ways to combine your to-do list and make the most of your day. Walk the dog with the kids, and you’ve ticked off caring for your pet, spending time with the kids and getting some exercise. That’s smart multitasking!
Don’t let busy be an excuse
Life is full to the brim in your 30s, especially if there’s young children in the mix. You mightn’t have the luxury of spontaneity, but with some planning you can make your health a priority and keep your family on track with healthy habits.