Food, fitness & health: Live your healthiest life in your 30s
For many people, your 30s are a time of accepting and embracing who you are and what you want in life. It can be a demanding decade as you navigate and build your career, relationships, and health and wellness.
Increased responsibility can mean that healthy habits are at risk of falling by the wayside in favour of convenience. And while it may take more planning and creativity than before, prioritising your health is well worth the effort in the long run.
Ready to take some concrete steps to help you live a healthier life through your 30s and beyond? Read on!
5 tips to get the most out of your diet
Nutrition is important at every age and stage of your life. Here are 5 tips to help make your diet work for you during your 30s.
- You may find that your 30s are defined by being strapped for time – with work, family, and trying to find a minute or two of “me time”, you may be hard-pressed to find space in your schedule to plan your week’s meals. Try grocery shopping online and have your order delivered to your home—this will save you time and energy.
- Prepare healthy meals in advance for days when you'll be too busy to cook from scratch. For example, cook in bulk on weekends and freeze portions separately for the week ahead. Packing a healthy lunch will help ensure you’re making healthy choices at work.
- Staying hydrated aids concentration, so keep a bottle of water on your desk and finish it by the end of the day. If plain water is too bland, throw in fresh fruit or vegetable chunks for flavour, or try unsweetened herbal teas.
- Too much alcohol can increase your risk of developing high blood pressure, heart disease, and certain cancers. Binge drinking has negative short- and long-term consequences for your health. Be sure to keep Health Canada’s low-risk drinking guidelines in mind — 2 drinks a day with a maximum of 10 a week.
- Anemia is common among pre-menopausal women. Keep up your iron levels by eating enough foods like liver, lean meats, legumes, nuts, whole grains, eggs, fortified foods, and dark green leafy vegetables. If you're trying for a baby, speak to your doctor about folic acid supplements to prevent birth defects.
When it comes to exercise, choose quality over quantity
Life is generally busy and stressful in your 30s. When time limits you, the quality of your exercise is more important than the quantity. Regular exercise can help prevent cancer, obesity, hypertension, cardiovascular disease, and type 2 diabetes.
Canada’s 24-Hour Movement Guidelines recommend that adults in their 30s get a minimum of 150 minutes per week of moderate to vigorous aerobic physical activities. Here are 3 tips to help you get the most out of your workouts:
- A decrease in muscle mass as we get older can add to extra weight gain, as your metabolism slows down. High-intensity interval training is very effective to burn calories in a short time. Lengthen your rest periods when you're unfit and shorten them as you get fitter.
- If you do 15 to 20 reps with a weight and feel like you can do more, the intensity of your exercise is too light. Gradually up the game to make the most of each rep.
- Make exercise part of your daily routine if you can't fit a full workout into your day. Take the stairs, park your car further away from the shops, engage in active play with your kids, or fit a few 10-minute workouts into your day.
Stay in the loop with preventive screenings
On top of your yearly check-up, there are a variety of screenings and vaccinations you should be undertaking during your 30s. Staying up to date on these screenings and visiting your doctor regularly is the best way to keep tabs on your health as you age.
Here are all of the recommended screenings needed in your 30s.
Top health tip
Every 6 months
If you're a woman and are trying to get pregnant, take a daily supplement containing 0.4 to 0.8 mg (400 to 800 µg) of folic acid and eat a diet rich in calcium. Dairy products provide the best sources of calcium.
It's also important to vaccinate yourself against the flu. If you are pregnant, this decreases the chances of your baby contracting flu in their first six months.
Once every 2-3 years
Once a year
This should also include a cervical cancer screening
Once every three years
American activist Betty Friedan once remarked, "Aging is not lost youth, but a new stage of opportunity and strength." Make the most of all the opportunities that come your way in your 30s to pave your way to better health and wellness in the future.
Looking for more information on preventative screenings? Speak to your doctor or visit the Canadian Task Force on Preventive Health Care website to answer any questions you may have.
Please always check with a medical professional to ensure these strategies are right for you.
Other resources you may be interested in:
- Episode 1: Better than drinking from the fountain of youth (podcast)
- Episode 2: Is sleep the key to living a long life? (podcast)
- Episode 3: Can physical activity slow the decline of aging? (podcast)
- Episode 4: Aging, anxiety, and the effects of stress on the body (podcast)
- Episode 5: The power and science of building healthy habits (podcast)
- Episode 6: What does it mean to live a long, healthy life? (podcast)