Health

Find balance and make time for healthy habits in your 30s

Life can become more demanding In your 30s as you are likely to be juggling family and career.

It is important to find balance and make time for good habits to safeguard your health.

If you had practised good self-care in your 20s, you will land in your 30s with a bang. If not, it is never too late to make the healthy habits stick.

Here are six ways to do it.

Working out

Your body is still strong, but since your metabolism can slip into a lower gear, now is the time to work on losing excess weight if needed.

Making exercise a regular part of your day and working on maintaining muscle strength now will mean a stronger body in your 40s and 50s when muscle strength can start to decline.

Pay attention to your knees, which need all the help they can get as you age - scaffold them with strong quadriceps and calf muscles.

Fertile time

There is a big gap between the ideal biological age and the ideal social age of conception, according to Monash University's Dr Kartin Hammarberg.

The easiest time to get pregnant is before 30. As you get older, it will take longer to conceive and the chance of having a baby decreases.

A healthy lifestyle boosts your chances of a successful pregnancy - not smoking, taking care of your oral health, avoiding or limiting alcohol and caffeine, and protecting yourself from environmental chemicals.

Tackle stress

Stress is often on the increase at this stage in life, and those everyday micro stressors can add up and take their toll.

There's no better time to work on keeping a lid on stress because over time, it can lower immunity, disrupt digestion and hormones, and trigger disease-causing inflammation.

The most effective stress-buster is introducing a little me-time daily. For at least 15 minutes every day, read a book, listen to music, have a bath, meditate, go for a walk, or whatever you find comforting.

Know your health history

Taking responsibility for your own health is a big step towards self-care.

Start by asking immediate family members about their health issues and build your own records from that. Record your own medical history, any risk factors and medications you're taking.

This system will help you (and your doctor) understand any problems that may come up in the future, prevent errors in treatment and diagnosis and help decide what preventative tests you may need.

Your 30s is a good time to start monitoring blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar numbers to identify the need to take action to improve your heart health.

High blood pressure and/or high cholesterol often have no symptoms, so you may not realise you have a problem until something serious happens.

Have a chat with your doctor who can organise the necessary checks and give you advice - from simple lifestyle changes to medication - to keep those key numbers at healthy levels.

Keep breathing

You will be surprised how many of us don't breathe in a healthy way - either holding our breath or shallow breathing - and the negative effects are cumulative.

Boost the benefits by stopping to breathe from your diaphragm a few times a day, particularly when you are feeling tired. Put your hand over your belly button, and as you inhale, focus on making your stomach and chest rise.

This will expand your lower lungs, so you take in more air with each breath. It is an effective fatigue buster too.

Eat better

If you are looking to conceive, good nutrition is a must for increasing fertility at this age.

Ensuring that you are supplementing with folate, and eat plenty of foods rich in iron, zinc and antioxidants.

Your 30s is also the age at which peak muscle mass is achieved, so ensure that you are continuing with strength training, and eating adequate protein and carbohydrates to fuel and replenish muscle stores.

These articles were first published in The Singapore Women's Weekly (www.womensweekly.com.sg).

WELLNESS & BEAUTY