As we age, our health concerns change with every decade. A twenty-year-old woman is likely thinking about her health differently than her 70- or 80-year-old grandmother. There are some simple things we can do at every milestone to keep ourselves in the best health possible.
Each decade of our life brings new health concerns for women. Here’s what you should add to your healthy habits checklist depending on your age.
We don’t always think about our health when we’re young and vital in our 20s. But this is the decade to start some early habits that will pay off for our future selves.
- Wear sunscreen
- Get enough calcium and folic acid; make it a no-brainer by taking a daily multivitamin with folic acid
- Get enough sleep! Shoot for at least 8 hours each day
Many women start thinking about starting a family or have young children at this age. It’s important to take time for yourself so you manage the stress that comes with an expanded family. This is also the time to start weight training (if you’re not already) or engaging in weight bearing activity to ensure you don’t lose muscle mass and bone density with age.
- Add weight training to build bone density, which decreases as we age
- De-stress and make time for yourself (especially if you have children!)
- Get your weight under control through a healthy diet and exercising for at least 30 minutes, 3 times per week
Many women find their stride in their 40s and usually feel pretty good. But don’t forget that many adverse health effects related to our hearts rear their ugly heads at this age. Get checked out early!
- Talk to your doctor about perimenopause and menopause so you’re not blindsided by this new phase in your life, which usually starts in your 50s but can start earlier
- Find out if you need to have a mammogram
- Get screened for high blood pressure, high blood sugar, and high cholesterol
Staying active in your 50s is the key to long-term health. Keep eating right and exercising. Both will help manage some menopause symptoms.
- Be on the lookout for symptoms of menopause, including hot flashes, irregular periods, or mood swings
- Get your blood pressure under control if it’s high
- Keep up with your physical activity, especially weight bearing activity; try introducing light weight training if you aren’t doing this already
Your hips and other joints can develop arthritis in your 60s. Limited mobility means an increased chance of falling and breaking bones. This is the perfect time to add light exercise like yoga, that ups your flexibility so you’re less likely to fall and hurt yourself.
- Talk to your doctor about whether you need a colonoscopy to check for colon cancer
- Have a bone density test
- Avoid falls by improving your flexibility; try yoga, tai chi or dance
Your 70s and beyond!
Many women in their 70s experience eye issues so be sure to get your peepers checked regularly. This is also the time in our lives where we might start to see some cognitive decline. Keep your mind sharp by learning some new, fun skills!
- Get a flu shot every year
- Aim for 30 minutes of daily activity and talk to your doctor about what you can do safely, especially if you have mobility issues
- Get your eyes checked for cataracts and macular degeneration