How to look after your health through the decades
Your health changes as your body ages, however there are things you can do earlier in life to prevent certain illnesses arising later in life.
In your 20s
It is important to start looking after yourself in your 20s as an investment for when you get older. Many young people do not realise that some health conditions people develop later in life could have been reduced or avoided altogether if they had taken better care of themselves at an earlier stage in life. One of the most basic things you can do for your health in your 20s is to start maintaining a healthy diet. Getting plenty of green vegetables and not relying wholly on processed foods can help to stave off conditions like irritable bowel syndrome (IBS) and stomach cancer.
Take good care of your joints. Don’t spend too much time in one position, make sure that your entire body is getting some kind of workout each day (without overdoing it). This can help prevent joint and pain conditions later in life such as Arthritis and prevent the need to regularly take anti-inflammatory medicine such as Naproxen.
Our bodies tend to decline slowly once our 20s are over, so the better we can prepare them before then, the milder the decline will be.
In your 30s
Make sure you stay active. So many jobs today require us to sit down for the entire day, then when it’s time to go home, all we want to do is collapse on the sofa and watch TV. Staying motivated to get out and exercise is one of the best things you can do for your body in your 30s. Not only is it great for weight loss and improving your general appearance, it can also help you to de-stress, making it ideal for those with high-pressure jobs, mortgage repayments and children to think about for the first time during this decade of life.
This is also the decade where it’s definitely a good idea to start getting the flu vaccination. The flu can strike us down no matter what age we are, so the sooner you can start getting vaccinated, the better.
In your 40s
Make sure you attend regular check-ups with your doctor for all the essentials (cancer screenings, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, eyesight etc). Our 40s is when the risk of breast cancer and other serious conditions starts to rise, and it is also when many of us first notice the major signs of ageing. For this reason, it is vital that you are keeping on top of all aspects of your health, regularly ruling out any major problems that could arise for you.
Not everyone is a ‘breakfast person’, but if you start eating breakfast in your 40s, it can help you to keep your weight at a healthy level. Your metabolism slows down gradually each decade, so you won’t be able to fight off weight at 45 like you did at 25. Your metabolism is at its peak in the morning, meaning that the earlier you eat the sooner it will be burned off. So, eating a good breakfast will provide you with the fuel to take on an active day and help you to stay trim.
In your 50s
Taking in a sufficient amount of liquid (preferably water) each day is an important component of staying healthy in our 50s. Being dehydrated can often be confused with being hungry, so drinking the recommended daily amount of liquid each day means that you will avoid eating needlessly. This will help you to save your appetite for mealtimes, when you can eat a variety of nutritious foods.
Aside from keeping up with moderate exercise in your 50s, this is also the decade where you really need to start exercising your brain to keep hold of your faculties. To do this, try to complete crosswords and mind puzzles; socialise with friends as often as you can so you can engage your brain in a conversation and read as much as possible, too. Do not fritter every evening away in front of the television. Failing to keep your brain active as you age can lead to a serious mental decline once you pass 60.
After your 50's it is common for the body to start to develop what we natually call "aches and pains" although there may be a little more to it than that. Aches and pains are typically caused by wear and tear or are simpy just old injuries coming back to haunt us.
Your GP or Pharmacist may choose to prescribe you with anti-inflammatory medicines to help you manage the aches and pains.