Most women reach peak health in their 20s and 30s, but that doesn’t mean they should push their wellbeing to the side. Being proactive about your health when you’re young can help set you up to live a longer, healthier life.
The sooner you take charge of your health, the better off you’ll be in the long-run. To help you get started, here are five crucial health factors to consider before you turn 30:
- Family Medical History
Medical conditions may be caused by a multitude of environmental, lifestyle, and genetic factors. Knowing your family history can help unveil your risk for certain diseases and help your doctor provide the best preventative care.
It’s important to remember that, even if a certain illness runs in your family, it doesn’t necessarily mean you will develop the same condition. Conversely, you may still be at risk of certain conditions even if they are absent in your family history. While you can’t fully prevent all ailments, having a complete record of your family’s medical history allows you to reduce any obvious health risks.
Before turning 30, talk to your relatives about their health, and look into your family’s medical records. Write down any information you collect, and keep your records up-to-date so you can provide your doctor with the most accurate and comprehensive information.
- Required Annual Checkups
No matter how busy you may get, it’s important to schedule annual exams with your doctors. With regular checkups, you can keep a pulse on your health and address any issues as they arise. One exam could make a huge impact on your overall health down the line, so be sure to evaluate your needs and schedule any necessary doctor’s appointments.
There are several essential health exams to schedule in your 20s and 30s to ensure optimal health. These include an annual physical, a pelvic exam, a breast exam, an eye exam, and skin screenings. Keep in mind your doctor may also suggest additional screenings based on your family history.
Make sure you know which appointments you need to make, and schedule them out at the beginning of the year, so you don’t miss one. For recommended health screenings at every age, refer to this graph.
- Level of Physical Activity
Finding the time to workout can be a struggle, especially when you’re busy juggling your personal and professional life. However, keeping active is essential for maintaining your overall health and wellbeing.
Before you turn 30, assess your level of physical activity, and make sure you establish healthy fitness habits while you’re young. If you dread going to the gym or don’t have enough time to work out, there are easy ways you can incorporate physical activity in your day-to-day. For example, you can start by incorporating stretching into your morning routine or by taking the stairs instead of the elevator at work.
Whether you enjoy running or practicing yoga, find a form of exercise that works with your lifestyle. Though it may take some getting used to, establishing fitness habits in your 20s will set you up for a healthier, active lifestyle in your 30s and beyond.
- Reproductive Health
Understanding and addressing your reproductive health is essential for maintaining your overall wellbeing. As you age, your risk of developing certain health complications also changes. For instance, women in their 20s and 30s are also more likely to develop PCOS or endometriosis. Women also reach peak fertility during this time, which is why monitoring your reproductive health is essential.
Get into the habit of scheduling regular checkups and screenings with your OB/GYN to discuss your risks. Keep close tabs on any changes in your cycle, as these can indicate more serious conditions, and bring up any concerns as they arise.
Should you choose to use a contraceptive method, you should also understand your options and how they work. Take some time to learn about each form, and find the one that best suits your needs. Based on lifestyle and personal health factors, some women prefer to take a daily birth control pill while others may opt for another birth control method, such as a patch, ring, or IUD. Know your options, and consult a gynecologist before choosing a preferred method.
- Eating Habits
When you’re constantly on-the-go, it’s easy to opt for a quick bite over a healthy, home-cooked meal. But, eating an unhealthy diet in your 20s and 30s can put you at a higher risk of developing heart disease or diabetes later in life.
Your metabolism may also start to decline during this time, which is why you should break any bad habits and establish healthier eating habits in your 20s. Shy away from sugary and overly-processed foods, and load up on plant-based, high-fiber dishes. Introducing more vegetables into your diet can improve gut health and lower your risk of developing metabolic conditions in the future. Not to mention, healthy eating also makes you feel better.
Before you hit the big 3-0, learn to cook a few staple dishes for yourself. This will not only save you money but also help you control what goes into the foods you eat. Add some variety to your dishes by using herbs and spices to flavor your food. You’ll also find that cooking at home allows you to cut down on sugars, fats, and calories.
- Stress Levels
You go through a lot of changes during your 20s and 30s, which can be exciting but also extremely stressful. Balancing your career and personal needs can feel overwhelming, and even the good aspects of your life can take a toll on your mental and physical well-being. Learning to manage your stress levels early on will help you improve your mental wellbeing heading into your 30.
If you haven’t already, use this time to establish effective coping mechanisms to help manage your stress. Prior to turning 30, make mindfulness a habit, and try techniques like meditation or exercise to keep stress levels under control.
Check in with yourself regularly, and be sure to seek professional help if you are still struggling to find viable coping techniques. A therapist may be able to offer new ways to help you manage your stress. There are also online therapy services available if you’d rather seek help from the comfort of your home.
By addressing your health needs earlier in life, you’re able to adjust your habits and set yourself up to lead a healthier lifestyle into your 30s and beyond. With these health checkpoints, you’ll ensure you’re tending to all aspects of your health at a time when your wellbeing should be at the forefront of your mind.