Turning 30 feels like a milestone, and according to our doctors, it really is one for your longterm health. Ladies, if you’re nearing age 30, or have passed it, it’s time to make some critical decisions and adopt smart habits for a lifetime of wellness. Here’s our Roper St. Francis top 30 list for conquering the 30-hump and beyond in good health:
1. Develop a morning and evening routine.
Routines work—ask any athlete or successful person. Routines let your body know what to expect and enable you to perform optimally. Set your wake up and bed time (and stick to it!), aiming for eight hours of sleep. Ditto for exercise, and for family/relaxation time.
2. Learn to meditate.
Through meditation, a person connects with breath to center themselves. Benefits include improved emotional stability, creativity, happiness and an overall decrease in anxiety.
3. Do breast self-exams.
Even if you don’t begin mammograms until age 40 (as Roper St. Francis Radiologists recommend), you should be doing self-examinations, which, according to research is how 40% of cases of breast cancer are detected. Every month, schedule a day to check your breasts.
4. Make fitness a part of your routine.
Aim to exercise three to five times per week for at least 30 minutes. Schedule your exercise time as you would anything else, making it a priority. But make it something fun that you enjoy doing (from walking to contra dancing—as long as it gets you moving) so you will stick with it.
5. Recognize and Manage Stress.
Stress over time takes a heavy toll on health, from robbing sleep to causing muscle tightness, to impacting your immune system. Begin to identify what makes you stressful and learn to react in a beneficial way. See meditation (See #2).
6. Learn about fertility
Deciding when or if to have children is a personal decision, but it’s important to understand how your body works so you can make informed decisions. Fertility can start to decline as early as age 32. Talk with your OB/Gyn to be proactive about your reproductive health.
7. Laugh hard and often
Laughing can relieve stress and lower blood pressure, plus it makes you more fun to be around. Make time to laugh, whether it’s at a local comedy club, a favorite podcast, author, movie or good humored friends.
8. Begin with breakfast
Breakfast gives you fuel for the day, providing the energy and momentum to attend that meeting or make that phone call. Choose healthy options, such as yogurt, fruit, and proteins to start your day strong.
9. Get your ZZZs.
This merits repeating: adequate sleep may well be the most important thing you can do for overall wellness. In your 30s, your days are long and to-do lists longer. It’s easy to let sleep slide, but much harder to repair the sleep debt damage.
10. Eat foods with bright colors
Green, leafy vegetables tend to have Vitamin A and fiber, while blackberries have anthocyanins, which soothe inflammation and have Vitamin A and C. Sweet potatoes also have Vitamin A. Mother Nature understands the appeal of bright colors – especially many of them together on the same plate.
11. Brush your teeth!
Okay, so we sound like your mom—but oral health is vital. Brush at least twice a day with a soft-bristled brush that is mobile enough to reach all parts of your mouth. And replace that toothbrush every three to four months!
Never underestimate the power of friendship. Socializing helps release endorphins which improves mood and reduces stress, plus it’s fun and fills the human need for connection with others.
14. Explore new forms of exercise
We’ve already emphasized the importance of exercise (See #4), but we know that routines can become, well, a little too routine, and boring. Spice things up by cross-training or trying new things: yoga is a great way to center yourself while increasing flexibility. Dance classes can be aerobic fun, or kickboxing could help vent frustration while toning those quads and core.
15. Beware of fad diets
There’s always something new in diet land, but fad diets typically have their moment, then fade away. Instead of falling for the latest trend, focus on enduring lifestyle changes that promote good health. There can be nuggets of wisdom in fad diets, so sure, maybe try it, then find what works for you and apply it to yourbalanced lifestyle.
16. Start to keep a medical history
Keep track of when you’re due for another screening or test. Keep a record of any medications that you’re on and know your allergies Keep a record of family members who have had certain illnesses. Also track your period, and if you’re on birth control, track when you’re due for another checkup or refill. Your doctor has one, but request records to start to keep a medical history for yourself.
17. Go green
By reducing your ecological footprint, you’re not only improving your health but the community’s and the planet’s. Opt for natural cleaning products with fewer chemicals,. Walk or bike instead of driving when you can. Grow or buy locally sourced food.
18. Become a foodie
This doesn’t mean you have to be a James Beard snob, but if you begin to expand your palate and enjoy new foods you might enjoy a broader nutritional range. By improving your cooking abilities you eat out less, which is good for your waistline and your wallet.
21. Find the doctors who are right for you
By age 30, you should have an internal medicine or family practice doctor for for general health checkups, a GYN you are comfortable with and trust and a dentist. Make sure you choose doctors who can be a real partner in your health, who you can be honest with and who understand and support where you want to go with your health goals.
22. Read food labels
While some items might look like they have health benefits, you won’t know until you read the labels. Also, don’t be fooled by organic labels, since organic items can still be high in sugar and sodium.
23. Learn your bra size—really
A bra that fits just right can make a world of difference in how you look and feel. If you’re still buying the same size you wore when you were 20 do yourself a favor and find a bra shop with professional fitters. They can help you learn your real bra size.
24. Practice good posture
Simply put avoid slouching as much as possible. You look more confident when you stand tall and can look someone in the eye, plus a strong spine and back are important for staying physically active.
28. Develop a gratitude list
Take a few minutes and write down everything that you are thankful for. This can include having a roof over your head, a friend to talk to or food to eat. It can include a promotion at work, a compliment or goals that you have.
29. Figure out what’s most important to you
What is most important to you in life? Is it your ability to connect with others, moving up in the working world, or the state of your mental, physical, and emotional health, for example? As you reach this new milestone, figure out what matters most to you, and focus your energy on it.
30. Say affirmations
Who is that girl you see staring back at you in the mirror? Well, she’s a woman now. Let her know that everything is going to be okay with words like “Today is going to be a wonderful day” or “The only limitations are the ones in my mind.” This site has a few great affirmations. Enjoy.
We want you to live your best life, and, by 30, you’re only just beginning. Roper St. Francis offers many great women’s health services, where we invite you to make an appointment and find the perfect doctor for your health needs.