It’s hard to believe that I will be 35 years old this year. My mom has always told me that the years go by quicker the older you get. Boy, was she right! Once I became a parent, the days got longer, but the years have gotten much shorter.
Health and wellness are so important to me. In the last few years, I have begun soaking up all the information so I can learn to live my best life for myself and my family. While there are some things that we think can wait until our 40s or beyond, the reality is that we must be proactive now to live a healthy, balanced life. Check out this list of ten things to start doing in your 30s to achieve a healthy and well future.
1. Working Out
I’m sure that this doesn’t come as a surprise to find exercise on the list. If you’re not working out regularly yet, what are you waiting for? The benefits of working out go beyond weight loss and physical appearance.
Some of the amazing benefits of exercise include boosting brain power, relieving stress, and preventing heart disease and diabetes. (1) You don’t have to hit the gym hard to get these benefits.
Thirty minutes of activity a day is great for you. Take a walk, lift weights, do yoga, or check out a Zumba class. The best way to stay consistent is to find exercises that you enjoy. Try different things and find the best fit for you. Bonus: get an accountability partner to keep you motivated.
2. Eating Well
You know it’s important to eat well, but are you actually doing it? Many people are confused by what it means to eat healthy and it’s no wonder because the food industry can easily confuse and fool consumers. Many people don’t trust the products that they are consuming, yet they eat them anyway because, well, they need to eat. (2)
A good rule of thumb is if you can’t pronounce the ingredients, you should probably steer clear of it. Another great tip is to look for hidden sugar. You may be surprised by the foods that it’s hiding in. Ketchup, peanut butter, and pasta sauce are just a few of the things that have sugar added to it. Did you know that there are 56 different names for sugar, making it difficult to discern unless you know all 56 names? There is actually added sugar hiding in 74% of packaged foods! Next time you are buying sugar, check out the label on the “natural” peanut butter. You may be shocked to see that this so-called “natural” food is chalk full of added sugar. (3) Low-fat foods often have sugar added to them to make them taste better. Your best bet is to stick with real, whole foods as much as possible.
3. Stop Smoking
If you are a smoker, stop! The sooner you quit, the better off you will be. Cigarette smoking is the leading cause of preventable disease and death in the U.S. (4) Smoking causes most cases of lung cancer.
It’s not too late to quit and you will start noticing benefits immediately. Food will taste better. You will be less out of breath than before. Not to mention, you will smell better. Smoking is also an incredibly expensive habit. Quitting is good for your health and wallet.
4. Know Your Family’s Health History
If you don’t already know your family’s health history, you need to start asking questions. History of diabetes? High blood pressure? Heart disease? Early death? You (and your doctors) need to know these things.
5. Reevaluate Your Relationships
It’s never too late to start reevaluating your relationships. If you have friends or even family members that are toxic, you should consider how you will move forward with that relationship. Life is too short for toxic relationships. This may mean ending a negative friendship, leaving an abusive relationship, or limiting time spent with a certain family member.
6. Make Self Care a Priority
To many people, self-care sounds time-consuming and expensive. The reality is that self-care is quite simple. Sure spa visits are fantastic, but that’s not the only way to do self-care. A few cost-friendly ideas are:
Playing your favorite song and having a dance party
Cooking your favorite meal
Reading a great book
Self-care looks different to everyone, but it doesn’t have to be extreme. Little things that make you feel centered and happy are great examples of self-care.
7. Make Sure You Have Health Insurance
If you don’t have health insurance, get it. If you were to get into a car accident tomorrow, and consequently rack up a ton of medical bills, what would you do? If you don’t have insurance through your employer, shop around and check out your options.
8. Get Annual Checkups
No one enjoys going to the doctor, but annual checkups are important. Women should be regularly visiting their gynecologists and having breast exams. These appointments are a great time to express any health concerns you may have. It's always better to be safe than sorry when it comes to your health and wellness.
9. Get Plenty of Sleep
If you are a workaholic or a parent, you are probably not getting enough sleep. However, sleep is vital for your health. Start the habit of getting your beauty sleep now. You should be getting between 7 and 9 hours every night. Despite what you may think, you don't need less sleep as you get older, so get those zzz's.
10. Plan For Your Future
It’s easy to put this off, but you need to be planning for your future. Have you started investing or contributing to an IRA? If not, what’s holding you back? Some employers even match your contributions, so you should definitely take advantage of that.
You should also be looking into life insurance if you haven’t done so yet. Taking care of your family, in case something happens to you, is so important. You want to be sure that they are financially taken care of.
Start Taking Care of Yourself Now
Sometimes we just want to put things off. “I’m too young to worry about this.” “That’s something older people do.” “I’ll do it later.” When we begin incorporating things like working out, getting plenty of sleep, and planning for our future, we can feel more confident. Time passes quickly and you don’t want to wake up one morning playing the “what-if” game. Start taking care of yourself now to help prepare yourself for a healthy future.
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